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.
Yesterday, I joined former game journo editor and Critical Path author Dan Amrich for a video interview on Google Hangout with the rad folks at GameZone. We had a fun time chatting about how we got our start as freelancers in the game industry and tackled a range of questions related to writing, freelancing, and game journalism. It was a great time and a fun way to promote our books. If you’re interested in writing about games at all, check out my new book Up Up Down Down Left WRITE: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism which is heavily focused on the freelance end of things. Dan also has a great book that’s been out for a while now called Critical Path: How to Review Videogames for a Living, which is more of a general tome focused on the art of reviewing games and working on staff at game publications.
Oh hey, before I forget, here’s the link to the video interview chat!
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!
HUMANS OF THE EARTH! I’m stoked to announce that my upcoming book, Up Up Down Down Left WRITE: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism, will officially launch on August 5th in print ($14.99) and on Kindle ($8.99)! It’s been a long, crazy trip, but this beast is ready to birth. Huge thanks and shoutouts are in order to my freelance colleague and Mac|Life editor Andrew Hayward for pouring a tremendous amount of time and energy into working with me to edit this book in its various incarnations. Also to @GAMER magazine EIC and industry vet Andy Eddy for writing a stellar foreword and offering additional editorial feedback. Last but not least to the mazillion (ok, a few hundred) Kickstarter backers who helped make the creation of this book possible.
So anyhow, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention the past six months, here’s the skinny on what this book is all about and why you should totally buy it!