Frequently Asked Questions
Can I approve my story before it gets published?
Yes. Throughout the process of interviewing we will discuss what you do and don’t want to go in print. Then, once the feature has been written, we read it back on the phone so you can make changes or amendments. Most magazines will also do a read-back as well.
I’ve got a story, but I don’t want to be identified. Can I use a fake name and a blacked out photograph?
Occasionally, if the story is really hard-hitting, we can discuss this with the editor, but for most cases, your feature will have more impact if you are willing to be identified. The best thing is for us to talk through the options before you make a decision.
Can I leave certain aspects out of my private life if I choose?
If there are things which happened in your private life which you would rather not discuss, as long as they have no bearing or relevance to the feature itself, then we can leave them out. We don’t want to cause you any distress or embarrassment. We are also sometimes able to change the names of children, if there is a good reason.
Why are interviews important?
Unless we really understand your story and what you want to say, then we can’t do it justice. You’d be surprised how much importance the tiniest detail can have – sometimes it is the difference between getting into print or not. The better we understand your story, the more we can fully convey your message.
When do I get paid?
You will be paid when the feature has appeared in the publication; you normally have to wait 28 days while the accounts department processes your payment, which is normally by cheque.
Do I pay anything to you?
No. We are paid by the magazine or newspaper to interview and write your feature, so we get paid by that specific title. Your fee and our fee are kept completely separate. Our service to you is completely free.
Will you ever run my story without permission?
No. When you decide you want to work with us, we will send you a Phoenix Features agreement. We will only pitch your story once we have your signed permission. We will never run your story behind your back as all publications need your full co-operation to run a real-life feature.
Can I sell my story more than once?
Yes. There are several publications and editors who will run features after they have appeared elsewhere. Our priority is to ensure that you get the best deal for your story, on more than one occasion. We also have links with the BBC who are always looking for good subjects for documentaries – if this is something you would like to consider, please speak to us.
What does exclusivity mean?
Exclusive means that you will only tell your story to one publication at a time. The more exclusive you are, the more money you will be paid, as all media outlets in the UK want to offer their readers stories that are exclusive and haven’t appeared in dozens of other titles already.
Can I work with different agents at the same time?
No. Editors are very busy and will become frustrated if your story is pitched to them by different press agents as they will not know who to deal with. They prefer to only work with one representative as it keeps the process simpler and more professional. By only working with Phoenix Features, you will ensure that your story is handled well, and you will develop a good one-on-one working relationship which will continue even after your feature appears.
Wouldn’t it be easier if I just went to the magazines and papers myself?
There are more than thirty editors who might be interested in your story. Not knowing who to speak to across the titles means you may feel under pressure to accept the first offer made to you, without knowing if you can get a better deal elsewhere. We approach every editor on every publication to establish who is interested and who will bid against each other. If you do not work in the industry it is very difficult to manage this process by yourself. We will also negotiate second rights deals for you, something the magazines and newspapers will not do for you.
Can I choose which newspaper or magazine to appear in?
We will always ask you which magazines or newspapers you prefer, so we can get an idea of where you would like to appear. However, if the editor on your preferred publication is unable to make an offer for your story, we can then pitch your story to other titles you may not be aware of. When we come to you with an offer, the choice is always ultimately yours about whether you wish to accept it.