Your back home. The adventure is over. Its time to transform all those pages with notes, arrows and exclamation marks into something that someone else will actually understand.
It´s during this time that you try to kill yourself with coffee, bashing your forehead against the table, because your sentences are doing the chat- cha – and there is nothing glamorous about it.
Then suddenly it all falls into place. Once more you realize what the core of the story is and you manage to transform it into sentences combined with facts and quotes. It starts to look alright, you might have something here!
Now starts part two.
Its time to sell the story. But wait! This is not what I signed up for! I´m a well respected journalist, an idealist and aspiring photographer – not a salesmen!.. and maybe not that well respected, but you get the picture (like an aspiring photographer?).
But the truth is that being a freelancer is to be a salesmen. I spend hours almost every day working on sales pitches, trying to get in contact with editors. This is not an area that I got educated in while I studied journalism, it´s something I had to pick up along the way. Because the story is not told if its not published somewhere.
19 out of 20 times the sales process goes something like this: I email them: “Good day, I´m in Mali and I´m working on this story… could it be something that you are interested in?”…. silence…. I email them again: “Hi again…”….they reply: “Interesting, but sorry, we have no money.” You repeat the process with another editor. You get the same reply.
Thankfully this changed with Kickstarter. Through my backers I managed to find financial support before the trip. This meant that I could focus a lot more on being a journalist, than a salesmen during the trip.
With my backers blessing, I have tried to sell some stories to a few other papers with some success. But donations through Kickstarter and Borderlandbulletins.com still stands for over 50 % of my income today.
This is not only important for my work (and ability to pay the rent), it´s awesome for journalism in general!
If you would like to support independent journalism and my coffee budget, please consider donating some change through the Paypal button bellow.
Or send me a message if you have any suggestions on where I should go next! The full story from Mali will be published here in April.
(by the way, if you are wondering what four boys has to do with “tell and sell” the answer is: nothing at all. It just a more pleasant picture than, lets say, of me paying bills and writing emails)