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?
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.
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.
This is it. Zero hour. My first book Up Up Down Down Left WRITE: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism is finally out in the wilds, available in print and on the Kindle (and assorted e-devices via the free Kindle Reader app)! It’s been a crazy launch day, and I’ve been really encouraged by the response so far. Creating a book from the ground up has been an amazing and intense experience, and it’s awesome to have it finally out! Rather than ramble on and on about it, I figure I’ll cap off a long day with a few bits of what other folks have been saying about the book online and through social networks! Oh yeah, and you’ll also find links to where you can buy the thing!
Dear Freelance Dude,
I struggle with the idea of pitching before I’ve written anything, especially when I don’t know how much time I’ll have to write the commission. Sometimes I’ll come up with an idea, will begin writing it, and realize there aren’t any legs under it or it’s pretty unoriginal. But I also understand that if I don’t send pitches and spend my time developing my ideas, I’ll be losing a ton of time writing content that may be rejected anyway.
How do you find that balance of pitching ideas and making sure ideas are pitchable?
Signed, Anthony S.
Dear Freelance Dude,