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A Simple Way to Earn – How to Sell Personal Stories to Generate Income

Sharing your personal story with complete strangers is a great way to heal. Research shows that discussing the details about your life enables you to acknowledge, accept and process the events that took place. With that said, telling your story is not just beneficial for you. As words hold significant power, opening up about the past traumas, or past successes can inspire others to remain motivated as well.

A Guide To Selling Your Personal Stories

However, if you sell your personal stories, you can kill two birds with one stone. There are numerous ways in which you can earn a profit by sharing a specific event or a story that defines your life. If you wish to make a profit off of your personal stories, refer to the ensuing guide.

What constitutes an interesting story?

A story worth publishing is unique, yet relatable. If you are thinking about selling an anecdote from your life, it is imperative to pitch a story that is completely new and unheard of. Remember, boring never sells. That being the case, the selected event must also have hints of normalcy, which can engage and captivate the reader’s interest.

With that said, stories do not have to be completely wild. Most newspapers and content agencies feature articles and snippets that are completely ordinary, but interesting at the same time. This begs the question, what constitutes an interesting story?

There are two types of interesting pieces. The first category includes news that is completely out of the ordinary. These articles feature novel pieces, which are aimed to fascinate the audience. If you have had anything interesting happen to you, you can pitch the story to a newspaper or a content agency.  For instance, the article, “American women gave birth to octuplets during a pandemic”, can fall in this category.

However, your life story does not have to be as wild as the aforementioned. In fact, you can share your everyday experiences, which offer value to the general public. For instance, in the mainstream media, headlines such as the following are quite common:

  • ‘Man finds a hidden swimming pool in the overgrown garden of his house’
  • ‘Woman renovates her kitchen in under £500’
  • “Bride dangles off the edge of the cliff for an #edgy’ wedding photoshoot”
  • ‘Student and a pony go on a 2,500-mile trek for a university project’
  • ‘Local chef finds a heart-shaped tomato’

Taking the aforementioned examples into consideration, it can be suggested that any story can be considered “interesting” if it catches the eye of the reader. So if the story is interesting enough, selling and making money through shouldn’t be a problem. For that purpose, you need to pick an event that the target audience would be intrigued by. Take the following tips into account to pitch the perfect story.

Enumerate on all the interesting stories in your life to sell

Before you reach out to a publishing agency, it is essential to pick the right story to profit off from. To do this, jot down all the interesting things that have happened to you during your lifetime. For instance, you may be involved in an accident, or you may have stumbled upon a fascinating shrine, or you may have just found a couponing hack, you can list down all the events with publishing potential.

Ask yourself, “is this helpful?”

Before publishing your content, you need to ask yourself, “what value does this story provide to the reader?” Is your story entertaining? Does it provide helpful tips? Is it inspirational? Or, is it just something that the reader can relate to? Based on this, you can narrow down your choices for the pitch.

Come up with an eye-catching headline

Once the list is reduced, the next stage is to plan the pitch. When you are publishing a story, the content agency typically assigns a writer to document your life’s event. However, in order to sell the idea, coming up with a fascinating headline, prior to the pitch, can work in your favour.

What are the sources willing to publish the story?

You can auction or sell the story to the following sources:

Content Agencies

Content agencies are experienced in getting personal stories published. You can directly contact the press, or any agency of your choice, to discuss your life events. These organisations are able to reach out to newspapers, which essentially bid on the idea. With that said newspapers are not the only outlet that content agencies can hook you up with. In fact, depending on the intrigue-factor, your idea can also be sold to magazines or even television stations.

Although, when you are selling a story, make sure to stick to one content agency, as serving an “exclusive” story is part of the deal. Additionally, there are several content agencies that do not charge a fee; however, they do deduct a percentage of the amount that is paid to you by the publishing house. Some agencies are listed below:

KNS News: KNS news has been operational in the UK since 1993. The agency has gained years of experience in assisting people to sell stories, images or videos. You can reach out to KNS news by giving them a call, filling out their online form, or by writing an email. The agency’s representatives would reach out to you to discuss the details.

Sell Your Story: Sell Your Story is a platform dedicated to auctioning stories, images or videos to the highest bidder. This service provides content to around 20% of the news outlets in the United Kingdom. You can reach out to the service by filling their online form. Once the customer care agent responds, send the story, video or image, and wait for the payment.  However, your story would only be sold if it aligns with the agency’s interest.

Sell My Story: Sell My Story has gained over 15 years of experience in selling stories to mainstream media outlets. The agency is part of the NAPA (National Association of Press Agencies), which makes it a reliable source. You can reach the agency by filling out its online form.

PA Media: This media agency that has sold numerous stories to news agencies, all over the UK. From stories about overcoming one’s stutter to coverage on intense life events, PA media has assisted individuals in auctioning anecdotes from their lives. One advantage of this service is that it includes its own content production as well.  You can reach out to PA media by filling their online form.

Cavendish Press: Cavendish Press has been in the story-selling business for a number of years. The agency mainly deals with selling personal stories to newspapers and magazines. You can reach the service by placing a call and discussing the details over the phone. If your story is interesting enough to be published, you can easily get paid in a two-month time frame.

Talk to the Press: Talk to the Press provides a free valuation for your story, image or video. You can fill out their online form, receive an input from the customer care representatives about the monetary value of the story, and make the decision to publish it.

Make the Press: Make the Press follows a three-step procedure for helping the public publish their personal stories. To reach the service, you can fill out the submission form to provide details of the story. If your story is selected, it can be finalised and forwarded to the relevant newspaper or magazine. Once the story is published, you can receive your payments.

Hot Spot Media: Hot Spot Media can forward your story to newspapers, magazines and television programs. Depending on the intrigue factor, this agency can get your story featured on TV programmes, such as This Morning, Sky News and Good Morning Britain. You can reach the service by giving them a call or writing an email.

National Story: National Story is an online press agency that plays a role in selling your images, photos and videos to the mainstream video. If you wish to work with the agency, you can fill out their online form, or write them an email. If your story is selected, you would have to arrange a phone call to further discuss the details of the event. However, if you are working with National Story, there is a strong chance that you would have to get your photo taken. Once the story is published, you can receive your payments in the time frame of four to six weeks.

Feature World: Feature World is another content agency that can arrange for the outsourcing of your personal story. One advantage of this service is that you can arrange your own writer, to ensure that your words are not taken out of context. Feature World does not charge a consultation fee, and it promises complete confidentiality. You can contact the agency by filling out their online form.

Newspapers

If you do not wish to be represented by a content agency, directly contacting newspapers is also an option. However, this approach may not yield as much money as the content agency. There are two main newspapers that pay you in exchange for personal stories.

The Sun: You can sell your story to The Sun, which is one of the most popular newspapers in the UK. To sell your story, pitch your idea through a call, text, WhatsApp messaging or via email. The newspaper features stories from a variety of genres, so you can feel free to run your idea with the paper.

Mirror: Mirror is another common newspaper in the UK. It features a wide range of events, including the coverage of celebrity-related videos/ images and inspirational events. You can reach out to the Mirror by placing a call or writing them a detailed email.

Magazines

Magazines are continually on the lookout for fresh, original and interesting stories that the readers can relate with. There are a few magazines that you can sell your story to, including the following.

Love It Magazine: Love It Magazine features a wide range of bizarre, yet captivating stories. You can earn a good amount by selling a story that aligns with their requirements.  Although the story can be pitched through their online contact form, it is also recommended to regularly follow the Twitter feed, as the magazine is always on the lookout for candidates, who can be the centre for the case studies.

Real People: Real People magazine features stories that align with the magazine’s brand. If your story is selected, you can arrange a brief on-call interview with the writer. One advantage of this magazine is that it encourages you to go through the story before it gets published. You can reach Real People through the online form.

Take a Break: Selling a juicy story to Take a Break magazine can earn you up to £2,000. This magazine publishes a wide range of stories regarding relationships, love, loss, as well as your dietary adventures. You can reach the magazine by filling their online form.

How can you sell the story?

Finding a source to sell your story is not enough. Due to the simplicity of the process, there is a strong likelihood that you may be deceived by fraudulent content agencies. Therefore, it is essential to remain vigilant throughout the process.

The first thing you need to do is avoid making any payments. The fraudulent agencies deceive the public by charging a fee, as collateral, before publishing the story. However, it is crucial to stay away from paying any fee to the agency, at any point. In doing so, you will end up losing money, instead of generating an income.

The next step is to tell your story in detail. Before speaking to the writer, create a structured timeline for the events of the story. Your story should be coherent, precise and liberated from any irrelevant details. Additionally, if you have any documents (pictures, videos or any other souvenirs) that can elevate the quality, take it out from the storage, as you may be required to support your claims. Additionally, depending on the nature of the report, the publishing source may require pictures of you. Just to be prepared, get some professional photographs of yourself taken. With that said, some agencies may provide you with their own photographer to take the photo.

It is further essential to proofread the story before it gets published. Once the draft is finalised, make a request to read the final version. In doing so, you can check the authenticity of the writing and get the falsified (or exaggerated) information eliminated from the published report.

Lastly, before you sign an agreement to work with the content agency, newspaper or magazine, sign a contract for the protection of privacy and personal information. This way, if you wish to remain anonymous, your identity can be protected.

How much can you make by selling a story?

Sharing your most personal thoughts and memories with strangers can be daunting. However, once you embark on this journey, you can empower yourself and others to live courageously. With that said, this act of bravery can also yield a decent income.

The income generated by selling the story largely depends on the quality of the pitch you deliver. If the story is a real page-turner, you can earn up to £10,000.

However, a personal story, which is a case study, can provide you with an income ranging from £50 – £500. On the other hand, if your story is relevant and current, selling the piece for £500 – £2,000 is considered a fair trade.

Although, if you are aiming to make the largest pay-day, selling a story, relating to a popular celebrity, politician or a well-known public figure, can earn you around £10,000. In this scenario, you may be required to provide additional evidence for authenticity. This proof can be in the form of a picture, video or voice recording.

The payment is usually made a few weeks after the story has been published. Often, you can receive the amount rather quickly, however, the process can take up to a few weeks. Most publications transfer the payments around 4 to 6 weeks after the story is published. If you are concerned about not getting paid, you can always ask the publishing agency to provide you with the specific time frame for when the payment could be expected. If you trust a reliable agency, you wouldn’t have to face this issue.

All things considered, earning from selling a story is not always a possibility. There is an ever-present chance that the content agency, newspaper or magazine may not be interested in the content you wish to sell. Taking this into consideration, it is imperative to deliver an enticing pitch.

With that said, there is no risk in scheduling a free consultation session. You can talk to the representatives to see the wit of your story, and assess whether the event is in-demand. Additionally, researching in-demand options can also work to your advantage. For instance, you can search the ‘journorequest’ hashtag (#journorequest) to discover all the stories that people are looking for. This way, you can increase your chances of publishing, and earning, from your story.

Can you publish your story anonymously?

Selling a story can place you in a vulnerable position. While it makes you feel empowered, you may wish to protect the privacy of others being discussed in the story. For instance, if the report is about catching your cheating spouse, revealing the identity of the partner may hurt your personal relationships.

Taking this into consideration, publishing the story anonymously could be your best bet. However, there are several magazines and newspapers that make it obligatory for you to publish the article with your name. This is usually done to increase the authenticity of the article and to make it more relatable for the reader.

With that said, if the story does not require a name, you can make a request to publish the article anonymously. To certify this possibility, reach out to the content agency, newspaper or magazine beforehand, and make an inquiry about anonymous posts.

When you request to publish an anonymous post, be sure to provide the agency with a relevant reason behind the request. These reasons can be:

  • To protect the privacy of your family
  • To protect yourself (in case the story is about a crime)
  • To avoid incriminating yourself (in case you committed a minor crime in the story)

Despite providing a reason, the content agency could deduct your payment for an anonymous story. Taking this into consideration, it is essential to thoroughly discuss the value of the story, before you decide to sell it.

On the other hand, if the story does not directly relate to you, (in case you are sharing news about a celebrity or a public figure), publishing the article anonymously would be a possibility. In this case, there wouldn’t be any deductions in the price of the article.

Conclusion – is this for you?

Story selling is a quick and easy way to earn money. However, for most people, this process can be intimidating. Sharing a personal event of your life with strangers can provoke anxiety, however, it can also make you accept and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Additionally, if there are other people in the story, the process can become more complicated, as you may have to protect the privacy of the person while keeping the report authentic.  If you think you can overcome the apprehension of opening up to strangers, selling your story can be the ideal way to generate extra income.

Once you are ready, you can research your options, partner up with a content agency, newspaper or magazine, and sell an exclusive feature. Essentially, you must discuss the value of the article, sign a contract and proofread the article before it gets published. If you wish to publish the story anonymously, it is imperative to discuss this before sharing the details. Depending on the publishing agency, you can receive a payment four to six weeks after the article is published.

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