I cringe every time I hear about hopeful writers who’ve just quit their day job to start a freelance career — BEFORE they have any steady freelance income rolling in. BEFORE they have any backup savings set aside for an emergency. BEFORE they’ve meticulously thought things through and battle-planned out how they’re going to stay afloat. Listen, how you make the leap to freelancing full-time can have a huge impact on whether or not you ultimately succeed.
Next to slinging pitches, pulling off interviews is one of the most important skills any freelancer or game journalist should strive to master in order to boost his or her writing career in the industry. Crafting thoughtful questions that engage sources and get them talking is a critical step.
When putting your questions together, it helps to start by brainstorming a rough list while you conduct your initial research. Jot down anything that comes to mind as you poke around the Internet. You can always go back and word things more intentionally, so don’t worry about sloppiness: just get it on the page. Once you have a big ol’ list of possibilities ready to go, it’s time to whittle everything down into a more focused set of polished questions.
It’s important to put some serious thought into both the kinds of questions you plan to ask and how to phrase them. You’ll want to design your questions to get your sources thinking (and talking). Here are a few quick tips to get you on the right track.
You might have noticed it’s been a little quiet around these parts lately. That’s because I’ve been hard at work wrapping up my second (and third books) over the holiday months! With the launch of UUDDLW in 2013 wrapping up a wild and diverse year, I’m excited to forge ahead into 2014 with a lot of new book projects in the works. I may have mentioned it here and there in passing to a few people, but I wanted to take a moment to formally announce the new Game Journo Guides Series, talk about my new book Interview Fu coming out later this month, and give a quick update on other bookish things coming down the pike from me this year!
Are you curious about video game journalism? How about freelancing? Or BOTH? You’re in luck! Dan Amrich and I have teamed up to offer you a huge discount on the Kindle versions of our respective how-to guides on nabbing a career writing about games for a living! Both books complement each other well and are packed with helpful tips and advice for aspiring game journalists and writers!
Have you been struggling with your article pitches? Need a quick boost of tip advice to iron out the rough spots? Check out my free 4,000+ word PDF mini-guide “12 Ways To Improve Your Pitches!” This handy ebook for freelancers and aspiring game journalists is available as a free download to anyone who subscribes to my Game Journo Guides mailing list! All you have to do is sign-up, and you’ll get an email shortly afterwards with the download link! Don’t worry, I only send out very sporadic mailing blast, so you won’t get inundated. Plus, subscribers get access to exclusive freebies, special offers, and advance news on upcoming game journo guide books I’m working on, like my next book: Interview Fu: The Game Journo Guide To Conducting Killer Interviews.
Oh, man. It’s that holiday season thing again, isn’t it? What? Gahhh! That means there’s so much crazy holiday shopping to look forward to in the months ahead. Awesome?! If you’re looking for that special gift (or massive pile of gifts) for that special game journo or writerly-type person in your life, never fear! Here’s the first installment of my multi-part series on killer gift picks for writers, game journalists, and nerd-folks. First up? BOOKS. BOOKS. BOOKS. BOOKS!
I use Grammarly for proofreading because the word warriors battling inside my head want to win the fight against epic sentence fails.
Seriously, though. Do you occasionally struggle with grammar and sentence structure when writing your pitches and articles? Having a tool that instantly points out potential troubles spots and thoroughly explains why your writing is sucktastic is pretty handy. It also never hurts to have an extra set of eyes, even if they’re robot ones, to glance over your pieces before you fire away. Not such a fan of robots? Well, there are books for that too. Read on!
The publishing landscape is changing dramatically. When it comes to writing and launching a new book, DIY is increasingly becoming the way to go these days. The reasons are numerous. You have more control over the end product and more freedom to experiment. Also, it’s faster, there’s less risk involved, and you can get a disgustingly better royalty rate than with traditional publishers. Self-publishing isn’t what it was a decade ago. It’s way better, though you still have to do most of the heavy lifting yourself. Sadly, that’s often becoming the case with a lot of traditionally published authors too. So why not take control and put together your book on your own terms?
Pitching a steady stream of articles is one of the most important recurring tasks you need to stay on top of as a freelancer. Whether you’re trying to break into a new outlet or are simply feeding fresh ideas to editors you already work with, it can be a real challenge to track the status of the many queries you’re constantly sending out into the editorial world. Many fall by the wayside, but you shouldn’t let them grow cold for too long. Undead pitches can sometimes make the best pitches.