Last month Jeanette Leach found herself doing something she never ever imagined – she appeared on ITV’s Daybreak talking about her 32JJ boobs.Jeanette and husband Steve were invited onto the show after her story appeared in the DAILY MIRROR through Featureworld. In that story she had told how she wanted a boob job but Steve did not. Here Jeanette tells why she decided to sell her story, what going on daytime TV was like and how she worried what others would think…
Why did you sell your story?
I decided to sell my story because I thought it might appeal to other women out there. I read a lot on the net about how women just like me struggle with large breasts.
What was your biggest worry?
I was very nervous to see how the story in the Daily Mirror would look and what feedback I would get. I am one of those people who worry what people think.
We had a photographer come to the house and take some pics before the article. I loved that – it was a great experience and we got a couple of lovely pics of myself, husband and my beautiful boys which I will keep forever. I was looking in the papers everyday for it as I was both nervous and excited. But I was wrong to worry. The article looked fab! It was a lot bigger than I thought but I felt like a celebrity for the day.
So how did you end up on the telly?
From selling our story we got to go on ITV’s Daybreak to talk about the issues in our article. The Producer saw the article in the Daily Mirror and contacted Alison to see if we would be interested in going on. Words cannot describe how nervous we both were but we enjoyed the run up to it. Steve and I got to stay in a lovely hotel in London, enjoyed a meal at the hotel and had a rare night away from the children. Again, I was so worried what people would say with me on the telly but so far it’s been good. I’d never have thought in a million years we would end up on telly – but it’s something Steve and I will be talking about for years and I hope it raised awareness.
The staff at Daybreak were all very nice and helpful and made me feel at ease. It went so fast but after I’d done it I wanted to do it all again! My only worry was whether I got what I wanted to say across because I talk a lot when I’m nervous. But the feedback has been very good and being in the limelight for five mins was great fun. I got my make up done and had a quick chat with some famous people and after the show Steve and I enjoyed the day in London. I’d never been to London before so got to look at a few famous landmarks.
What’s happened since?
From the article in the Daily Mirror a consultant come forward and is offering to help with a breast reduction operation. I have appointment to see him so fingers crossed I get my ultimate dream – a breast reduction operation that would change my life. This experience has made me realise there’s no stopping me to reach my potential in life whether that is work, or being the best wife and mother.
Would you recommend selling your story … and going on TV?
I would definitely recommend selling your story as it was a great experience. Alison is lovely to talk to and if you are worried about anything you know she’s only a phone call away, Alison has been very supportive and just very lovely throughout our journey. It’s been a magical experience that makes a change from the norm… and we can only hope there might be more to come.
Read more on Jeanette’s story here: Jeanette’s journey
Have you appeared on TV? Why did you go on the telly and what was the experience like? Do let us know here: My TV experience.
What happens when ordinary people suddenly find themselves in the middle of a media storm? You might think such a thing will never happen to you – but the extraordinary does happen to someone…
Here’s my top tips for coping with sudden press attention.
* Firstly, don’t talk to anyone. You might be tempted to respond to allegations or talk if you are offered money but something said in the heat of the moment could be something you will later regret. Leave the answerphone on and if you are besieged by reporters, consider moving out of your house to a hotel or friends for a few days while you consider your options.
* Get professional advice. Sometimes people delay getting help. They might believe they can handle the situation themselves and they might believe enlisting the help of a media agent will be expensive. But if you decide to sell your story, a media agent will usually be able to gain you more money than you would be able to negotiate yourself. At the same time, a good media agent can give legal advice (by putting you in touch with a lawyer that specialises in this situation) to ensure you are left in peace straightaway. They can also prepare a statement if necessary or if you don’t want to tell your story, even keep it out of the papers.
* It’s important to get an experienced media agent at your side as fast as possible. For a start, you will feel greatly relieved to have someone to seek advice from. People in the middle of press attention often feel helpless, but having a media agent represent you puts you back in control. You can then discuss the pros and cons of selling your story with an expert. It’s important not to dither if you want to sell your story as once it’s out of the news, interest in it can wane. If this happens the amount of money your story commands might go down. At the same time, you want to be sure selling your story is the right way forward for you.
* A media agent can also ensure your story is told as you want it to be, and it is read back to you, that it is not sold on without your consent or indeed syndicate your story worldwide, ensuring you make more money.
For more help dealing with the press or if you find yourself in need of urgent advice then do contact me here: Media Agent
You might also enjoy reading this: What a Publicist can do for you.
As a publicity agent and journalist selling stories to national newspapers and television every week I am often asked what people can do to raise their profile.
Many people might have spent hours gaining ‘friends’ on Facebook, begging people to follow them on Twitter and might have written thousands of words on a blog. Some people have devoted themselves to writing a book, sending it to various websites – but despite doing all this, their story has yet to get ‘out there’.
So why despite all the work with social media websites, is that?
Well, unlike tweeting and blogging, publicity gained in the national press carries a huge premium. Space is tight in the mainstream press and so if a national newspaper devotes a page to you, it is saying it thinks you are important enough to devote space to. If a women’s magazine is paying you for your story and giving you two pages to tell it, your story must be special.
Celebrities would not be celebrities (and therefore have their millions of Twitter followers) without their initial publicity from major magazines, newspapers and TV. The tweets from the Beckhams for example only really become news for the masses once they are picked up by traditional media.
And mainstream websites are far becoming THE biggest sites on the internet. MailOnline, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday’s website, attracts some 80 million monthly users worldwide (The New York Times is currently the biggest newspaper site) – the point is, if you just do one story you can instantly obtain massive exposure for free.
If you are a business, just a mention in a national newspaper about your product can ensure a flood of orders overnight. If you are raising money for charity, one person might come forward with the whole lot after reading it in the morning paper and if you are seeking justice, you might find justice does come your way if your story in a national newspaper causes a national outcry.
So should you not bother to tweet, blog or use facebook? Yes, you should use them as it all helps. Social media is perfect to gain a buzz about you – and gives more chance of your story being picked up by the mainstream press.
Also if you are about to sell your story for publicity I always recommend you have a blog, website or Twitter account in place where readers can go to next. Then sometimes the blog becomes the story – for example, one mum’s blog about how she hated moving away, was serialised in a national newspaper. From there, she was approached by a publisher to write a book.
But don’t under estimate the power of mainstream media – of getting your story printed in a magazine, newspaper or going on TV.
And if you don’t want the exposure of the national press, but still want to sell your story, I can always place your story in a smaller publication instead.
Read more: Real life experiences
Contact me to find out more about getting your story into a mainstream national newspaper, magazine or on TV: Contact Alison.
Considering selling a story to a magazine or newspaper? While the vast majority of journalists are bona-fide and just want you to be happy when you sell your story, as in all professions there are always the rogues.
So if you do want to sell your story, here’s My Five Selling Your Story safely rules…and some words of warning…
Ensure you want to sell your story in the first place. If you do, then focus on doing it properly and if you’re considering an offer, don’t dither. News moves fast and if you take too long, everyone will have moved onto the next big thing. If you don’t want to sell your story, say so politely and firmly.
Don’t let strangers into your home – the journo might seem delightful, the poor photographer might have waited for hours outside your house in the rain. But do you really know who they are, how your story will be written and where it will go? And even if you do want to sell your story, selling it this way is not controlled.
Only talk to a journalist once you have established which newspaper, magazine or agency they represent. Then stick their name into Google and check what they say. If they claim to represent a publication, and you can’t find anything about them, ring the publication up and ask them.
Agree to an interview once you have sorted the basics. These are which newspaper or magazine, how much money (if it’s not paid at least you go ahead knowing that) and can your story be sold on (syndicated) without your consent (preferably not.) What is the angle of the story and will your quotes be read back?
Get it in writing. Any bona fide agent or journalist will be able to produce a basic contract outlining the above.
And watch out for the ‘scams’…
* Speaking to ‘harmless’ local newspapers who unbeknown to you sell your story to the national press – you won’t be aware of it until you wake up next day and see your story everywhere. And as local papers can rarely afford to pay for a story, you won’t get a penny.
* Signing up to an agreement, which has the words ‘up to in it’ – so legally ‘up to’ can mean they can pay you as little as they want.
* Emailing your story and photos to faceless and nameless sell your story websites. Maybe they’re shy, and they might well be fine, but who knows who they are.
* Doing a full chat and photos with an agency for a one-off (often, small) fee – before they have found your a deal with a named newspaper or magazine. One woman came to me this week after receiving a tiny amount of money for her ‘time’. Her story had then been printed in every single national newspaper and she even went on TV – to find when she asked there was no extra cash. Her story was precious and she was very upset. She wanted my advice but there is no point in being wise after the event.
For free professional advice click here: Sell My Story
Ian Gourlay’s wacky real life story about how he looked as if he were pregnant with twins, appears in TAKE A BREAK magazine this week.
When Ian’s story appeared in his local newspaper about how he looked as if he were about to give birth to twins, he was inundated with press enquiries to sell his story. He didn’t know where to turn but went to the right place – the internet! There, having inputted sell your story he arrived at this blog! From there he contacted me and I was able to deal with all the press attention and gain him a deal with Take a Break.
And certainly Ian’s story is something I’ve never come across before! Ian suffers from inherited kidney disease but it got worse and his kidneys swelled up so much that friends, workmates and even hospital staff joked he looked pregnant with twins. Soon, he could only waddle and constantly attracted jokes from people asking when his babies were due.
Eventually in pioneering surgery, both his kidneys were removed. And it was then hospital staff decorated the ward with ‘Congratulations on your twins’ banners and even sent him Congrats on having your twins cards.
Needless to say this story came with some great photos – including one of Ian looking very pregnant and balancing a drink on his bump at an aunt’s barbecue. But although his bump was a handy resting place for a paper and a cup of tea, and he now has to have regular dialysis, he is delighted to see it go. During the last few months of his ‘pregnancy’ he became a recluse, hating going out as he attracted looks from people wondering what on earth he had up his jumper.
After his story appeared with photos on the front cover of Take a Break, Ian said: “We had a laugh on dialysis about it and we did enjoy the piece! Thank you for handling the story.”
Do you have a quirky or wacky story to sell? If you have a humorous story to share with others in a newspaper or magazine, tell me about it here: Sell My Story
To read more recently sold stories, go to Archives
Two weeks ago the tragic real life story of how little Morgan’s life was turned upside down was covered by virtually every national newspaper.
Morgan’s parents, Terri-Ann Barnett, 24 and Tom Matts, 29 had just dropped Morgan off at nursery in Hereford and were on the pavement walking home when the unthinkable happened.
A lorry crashed into a low bridge and its load of heavy wooden joists crashed down on them.
Tom died instantly and Terri-Ann shortly after. Needless to say the family are devastated especially as Morgan, just 18 months old, has been left an orphan.
Needless to say, this awful story has attracted a lot of media interest and I will be helping them to deal with that.
Meanwhile, a trust fund has been set up by Terri-Ann’s employers. If you would like to make a donation – even a tiny amount the family will be grateful for! – here are the details: Morgan Matts Fund, HSBC. Sort code: 402411, account number 92028654.
The family also wishes to thank the Midlands Air Ambulance service, which is a charity that runs on donations. The ambulance service gave them valuable time to say goodbye to Terri-Ann in hospital. To find out more about becoming a volunteer yourself to this service or if you wish to make a contribution, click here: Midlands Air Ambulance.
If you would like support dealing with the media contact me here: Advice about dealing with the media
To read recently sold stories click here: Archives