I’m really psyched to announce that my new book, Interview Fu: The Game Journo Guide To Conducting Killer Interviews, is OUT NOW (Print + Kindle)! I’ve been hard at work since the launch of UUDDLW last year to crack open my brain and pour out a decade’s worth of interviewing advice from my years as both a newspaper reporter and a freelance game journalist onto the page. Interview Fu distills all of my knowhow and experience on this important subject into useful tips and intriguing tales of troubleshooting. Even better, I also interviewed other notable writing pros from the game industry and a handful of game developers to get their take on what makes a great interview, how to better engage interviewees, and much more. This small but useful tome is exploding with a one-two punch of intel designed to take your journalism skills to the next level – whether you’re a freelancer, newsie, feature writer, author, or aspiring game journo ninja!
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!
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?
I gathered last night with a group of friends at our local gaming store to sign copies of my new book Up Up Down Down Left WRITE: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism. It was really cool to be setup right in the middle of a massive pile of nerdy awesomeness. Warhammer figurines to my left, used games to my right, a huge rack of AD&D manual across the room, and a GIANT Magic The Gathering tournament going on at the other side of the shop. I spent a little time talking about how I got started, what it’s like being a professional nerd, and all of that good stuff. Fun night! My pal and excellent local photographer Tim Hunt snapped a few pics while I was noodling around before the discussion. Figured I’d share them! The book is available in print and on Kindle now! Check it out!
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.
Even when you have a decent amount of work on your plate, hunting down fresh gig leads is an important part of any freelancer’s regular routine. I spend a lot of time researching new publications to pitch, scoping out potential opportunities, and gathering resources to keep my freelance ship afloat during the inevitable slow spells and rough patches that pop-up along the way on this thrilling writing adventure. Here’s a rundown of some great hotspots around the web for sleuthing out paying gig leads. Read on for the goods!
It’s possible to write elegantly without weaving an overabundance of flowery words throughout your prose. Just because a big word looks and sounds cool in the thesaurus doesn’t mean it belongs in your game review or feature article. Instead of writing to make yourself sound intellectually stimulating, try writing in a conversational tone that’s more digestible and easier to read. Your readers shouldn’t have to pull out a dictionary to decode what you’re trying to say.
For those of you who might have missed it, my new book Up Up Down Down Left WRITE: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism has been out for almost two full weeks now! A lot of folks have picked up a copy and already dug into it, and I’ve been getting excellent feedback from readers! One of the most exciting things I’ve been hearing is that some people are putting the book to practical use immediately and are already finding success with the advice on pitching editors, taming obstacles, and other sections of the book. If you haven’t picked up the book yet but are considering it, here’s a sampling of customer feedback and comments from the Twitterverse.
Finding the right people to talk to for your articles can be a challenge at times, but getting the right sources can make a world of difference in how your final piece comes together. Thankfully, it’s a hurdle that’s easily overcome with some detective work and a little creative thinking. The process begins with the type of article you’re writing, the topic, and your specific angle. Nailing down those three elements makes figuring out the rest a lot easier. Then it’s time to rally the troops and get brainstorming to generate a list of potential sources. Here are some of the more common places to find prime candidates for generating the interview material you’re looking for.
Networking is one of the most valuable skills you can develop as part of your freelance tool kit. Well-connected writers have a much easier time scoring gigs and drumming steady up work, and when it comes to socializing, making connections, and gathering the latest video game industry scuttlebutt, Twitter is where the action is at. Tons of editors, writers, and freelancers in the game journo world use Twitter daily, which is why it should be one of your top social networks of choice if you’re interested in landing writing gigs in the industry – freelance or otherwise. The more professional contacts you can make, the better off you’ll be. So whether you’ve just started out in the industry or have already gained some ground, here are some tips for using Twitter to boost your freelance career.