Emergency Cash Generators

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Selling stories to newspapers

This can be an extremely lucrative way of making money if you come up with a good story -- especially some celebrity trivia! You don't need any qualifications or special skills, you just have to be in the right place at the right time -- preferably with your camera at the ready!

The media these days are always on the lookout for stories about celebrities -- however trivial or inane – and we all know how the paparazzi make huge amounts of money by following celebrities and spilling the beans on what they are getting up to. There is no reason why you couldn't make anything from £50/US$79 for a simple tip-off, to a six-figure sum for a really juicy story.

So how do you get going? The first thing to do is lots of research – read the papers, the gossip columns and find out who prints what and who’s who. Different papers and magazines are looking for different things. Hello magazine, Heat, the tabloid press, the more serious papers – get a feel for the market for your stories so you are prepared when you come across something interesting. Make a note of the right editor to approach when the time comes and keep updating your address book as editors can change quite frequently.

Next, you have to be on the lookout for stories – hang out at the places where celebs go, find out about celebs that live in your area and where they do their shopping, entertaining and so on. I lived near a well known celebrity couple once and it would have been relatively easy to spot them in their garden or in the street (had I been so inclined!).

If you thing you’ve spotted something that would make a story that the media would pay for, you have to make sure you get your facts straight. Once it’s in print and out there, it’s too late to make corrections. Are you certain you recognise the person? It’s easy to get overexcited and think you’ve seen something – don’t risk being sued!

But before you contact the most appropriate columnist or editor with your story, construct a short taster of what’s to come – don’t give them the whole story until you have confirmation that they are interested and how much they are willing to pay. Don’t be shy about asking – they are used to that and after all, that is probably the main reason you are doing this, to make money, so maximise the opportunity. Stories with pictures or even just pictures are worth a lot more that just stories or anecdotes. If you can prove your story with a photo, no one can argue with it – the camera, apparently, never lies...

For a comprehensive list of contact details for the press, the Writers and Artists Yearbook is a good place to start and you can find all the contacts you need with a decent search on the Internet.