Stories + Photos = More Sales By Joan Airey

When I first started as a freelance writer, rejection slips had a negative affect on my productiveness. Turning lemons into lemonade has increased my income. One magazine editor I write for on a regular basis decided she wanted a different slant on a story after I had it written. Knowing her temperament, I asked her exactly what she required so I could rewrite the story as she wanted it.

Wanting to be paid for my hours of work for the first story, I decided to submit it to an other editor I also write for on a regular basis. She purchased a photograph and caption to accompany it that the first editor had rejected. Having several photographs on file that could be used with the original story, I resubmitted it to an editor I write monthly columns for. This resulted in a sale of the article plus two photographs. After rewriting the story for the original editor, she published the story with a different photograph. Instead of one cheque, I received three for a photo shoot and interview.

Wanting to break into the stock photo business, I found my six mega pixels camera wasn’t acceptable. After purchasing one with more mega pixels, a stock photo company immediately accepted my work. Returning home from a wedding on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, we found one of our majestic evergreens had thirty feet snapped off the top from the gale force winds. Upset over the event, I decided it was cool enough that the treetop would keep until the Christmas season. For the Christmas season, our grandchildren helped us erect and decorate it on the front lawn. One snowy morning before daylight, I decided it would make a beautiful photograph for a Christmas card, dawned my outdoor clothes and, armed with a camera, I was able to get a photograph which a stock company accepted.

You can’t let rejection slips get you down if you want to sell stories. Learn from your mistakes. Listen to what your editors want. Never wait to take a photograph because in five minutes that shot may not be there. An editor that mentored me when I started writing told me, “Your story is worth twice as much to me if you can provide photographs with it.”

That was the best advice an editor has given me.

Joan Airey is a freelance writer and photographer. Specializes in agricultural life styles stories and photography. Writes for Farm Business Publications–Grainews & Manitoba Co-operator, Horse Country, and Agri-Post. Published in Reunions Magazine, CountryMile, and Canadian Teddy Bear Magazine. Her photography is available at