How to Write and Sell Interviews

Make Easy $$$ Selling Interviews
by Deborah Owen

Creative writers can make quick money writing interviews. Local newspapers love them. You’ll make about $15 or $20 on each one, plus $5 for a picture. Resell the same article ten times and turn that $20 or $25 into $250.

The first question an interviewee will ask you is, “Who are you going to sell this to?” The last question will be, “Will I get to see the article before it’s published?”

The answer to the first is, “I’m a freelancer, and I sell to different markets. When I sell it, I’ll send you a copy.” (And be sure you do!) The answer to the last question is, “I’m sorry. Editors disapprove of that practice, but rest assured, I won’t misquote or misrepresent you. I’ll send you a copy.”

News is all around you. Open your eyes and look at the ordinary.

Maybe you would want to interview a supervisor in a Coca-Cola factory. How much does the machinery cost? How many bottles are broken daily? What does it cost to produce one bottle of Coke? How many bottles do they sell per month?

To find the right person to interview, make a few phone calls. Ask the operator or receptionist who can answer your questions, and then call them. If you speak to his/her secretary, ask what the person’s favorite hobby is and make an appointment for an interview. When you finally gain access, after greeting formalities, you might open with, “I hear you’re an avid golfer,” and you’re off to a good start.

Take a note pad, pen and small tape recorder. Ask if it’s okay to use a tape recorder. Most people will be hesitant. A statement such as, “I just want to get the facts straight. Is it okay if I set this over here?” (point to an unobtrusive place) can relax them. Avoid interrupting the flow of the interview and take notes only when you must. Once you have your information, be sure to thank your host and arrange for follow-up questions by telephone or email.

When you’re ready to write it out, choose a working title. You can always change it later, and a working title will help you wrap your mind around the subject.

What will the scope and tone of your article be? Will it be an in-depth study, or will it cover the highlights? Is your objective to instruct or entertain your readers? Will you use an argumentative approach, or will you write it as a motivational piece? Once you know these answers, the research and writing will go faster.

To feel comfortable about writing your article, collect more data than you will use. Having sufficient material will give you confidence and you’ll write with authority.

Ninety percent of all writers break into the market through local newspapers. If your article pertains to something national (such as a green article), you can resell it all over the country. For a list of local newspapers in various cities, visit the nearest librarian. Happy writing! Find more great tips in our newsletter, The Writer’s Choice, at


2 thoughts on “How to Write and Sell Interviews

  1. Hey Deb!,
    Is this part of the course,?
    Thank you for that article, I will put in a folder and reread so
    I can work with that,
    That was a great lesson, I enjoyed reading that kind of material.

    But, now that is the kind of happening I always worry about,
    How you handle the business part of freelancing
    I receive letters from three different freelancers now,
    Explaining how to work and market your work.
    How do I overcome these fears,
    I was looking over some online jobs last night,
    I research daily for these,
    Thanks again,
    Sonny &Bessie


    1. The only way to overcome any fear is to face it. As long as you run the other direction, you aren’t facng it. On the other hand, you have to be ready to face it. You’ll probably need at least one course before you’re ready for that – the Dynamic Nonfiction Course. In that class, submitting to a newspaper is part of the course and all of the instructions are there.

      Crawl before you try to walk. Walk before you try to run. It’s the same for all writers. Some make and most don’t. The reason is twofold: those who keep taking classes and keep submitting are the ones that make it. Writingtakes a tremendous amount of perseveran ce.




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