Former MEN journalist John Jeffay has launched an online venture to help people turn their stories into cash.
The Manchester-based ex-syndication editor has teamed up with columnist Angela Epstein to launch SellThatStory.com.
I caught up with John and asked him what the market was for a service like this;
“There is an insatiable appetite for “true life” stories. Look at the racks of weekly women’s magazines and you’ll get some idea of the demand. They all need a constant supply of ordinary people talking about their extraordinary experiences. At www.sellthatstory.com we provide people with a straightforward way to tell and sell.
“Yes, there’s money to be made, but often that’s not the sole motive. People may want to re-live an experience for many reasons: gratitude, revenge, as a warning to others, or simply because they want their moment of fame.”
The service reminded me a little of the, sadly now defunct, Scoopt.com which offered people cash to sell images to newspapers and magazines – but John says there are important differences;
“Scoopt was very much a thing of the moment. It attempted to cash in on the citizen journalism idea that anyone with a camera and the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time could sell their pictures. The demand was limited. It failed.
“What we’re doing capitalises on a well-established market, with an almost unlimited demand. A dozen or more titles want true life stories week in, week out. And they need professional journalists to do the interviewing and writing.”
And the fee? Just how much cash is on offer for a punter who’s media-savvy enough to know they’ve got a story to sell?
“As with everything in life, it’s negotiable. But we pride ourselves on offering a good split, rather than a lump sum. So when there’s a bidding situation between rival titles, as the price goes up, so does the amount the client receives.”
Throughout the site, the pair take pains to point out that the service being offered is not PR – more of a brokerage service. So no aspiration to be Manchester’s answer to Max Clifford then?
“I think we’re unlikely to follow in Max Clifford’s footsteps. We are a news agency, finding and writing stories for magazines. PR, certainly the sort that’s made Max Clifford famous, is about managing the reputations of the rich and famous or those who suddenly find themselves caught in the full glare of the media spotlight.”