Ask The Freelance Dude #11 – Review Copies and You


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I currently write for the gaming section of a UK student paper and I’m probably going to be that section’s editor in a few months. I was wondering who to contact about getting review code because in a publication that receives pre-release albums for the music section and preview screening invitations for the film section, the games content is lagging behind without any publisher contacts. We have a distribution of 5,000 copies all over the city of Norwich and 13 issues a year. I was wondering if the publication is big enough to receive review code and, if so, who to contact to get it.

Thanks,
Oliver B.

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Dear Oliver,

Even though you only have a circulation of 5,000 copies, it sounds like your readership – both among the student body and other folks around the city – could potentially be much larger. You can use that to your advantage when requesting review copies and code from publishers. If you’ve got a dedicated and active student reader base, that certainly helps with requests too.

At your paper’s current readership size, you many not convince all the major publishers to send review materials, but some will bite. Establishing good working relationships with PR for the numerous big publishers takes a lot of time, energy, and effort, so you might consider starting small. Go title-by-title. When you plan to review a specific game in an upcoming issue, do some poking around online to see who’s handling PR for that game and then reach out to them to request a review copy. If they send it along, ask to be included on their list for information on upcoming releases and review materials when they’re available.

If you have the time, it’s a good idea to reach out to PR to make first introductions whenever you can prior to requesting review materials. Drop them a brief line to let them know who you are and request to be added to their press list. Your inbox may eventually be flooded with press releases on a daily basis, but when you find something that interests you, it makes it much easier to figure out who to contact directly about review materials and assets.

And for the freelancers in the audience, the same general ideas apply.

Best,
The Freelance Dude

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Follow @nmeunier on Twitter for more writing advice, game industry commentary, and freelance shenanigans.

Have a writing, freelancing, or game journalism related question you’d like answered? No problem! Hop on over here for details on how to submit it to The Freelance Dude!

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