Up Up Down Down Left WRITE Kickstarter Update

If you’ve ever wanted to get the inside scoop on how to break into the world of freelance video game journalism, then this is your chance to back a project that’ll help you jump start your dream career. Last week I launched a Kickstarter campaign for my book Up Up Down Down Left WRITE – The Freelance Guide To Video Game  Journalism. It had a killer first week, raising over $1,200 of its $7,000 goal. But then the influx of new backers died down to a light drizzle, then a trickle, and now it’s like the Sahara Desert over here. Not unexpected! Most Kickstarters hit a lull after launch and then pick up momentum during the home stretch. I’m still pretty optimistic about everything, but I don’t intend to let this thing die on the vine mid-way, which is why I need your help THIS VERY SECOND!

Read on for more nitty gritty on the Kickstarter campaign and how you can help.

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UPDATE: Up Up Down Down Left WRITE – The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism book project is LIVE on KICKSTARTER!

Hey humans of the Internet! Do you dig reading my Shop Talk and Ask The Freelance Dude columns here on the ye olde work blog? If so, then you’re going to (hopefully) love this. I’ve been working hard behind the scenes for the past year to write a full book covering the many ins and outs of how to freelance in the video game industry. The book, lovingly dubbed “Up Up Down Down Left WRITE: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism,” is about two-thirds finished, and I’m getting everything together that I need to wrap-up the book and self-publish it. But I need your help to push this thing over the finish line and make it super awesome, so I’m launching a Kickstarter later this week! Here’s a little more detail about the project.

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Shop Talk Quickie: “Quoted” and “Secret” Book Project

photo borrowed from the linked articleI spend a surprising amount of my free time answering e-mails from newer freelance writers and prospective game journalists seeking advice on various aspects of freelancing in the gaming industry. I love to gab, you see, particularly when it comes to talking shop, so I’m always willing to help point folks in the right direction and offer whatever humble assistance or know-how I can provide. To that end, I’ve been doing some serious behind-the-scenes writing – some of which you’ll find in the Shop Talk and Ask The Freelance Dude advice columns here on the site. For the past year, I’ve been bashing out the rough draft of an extensive How-To book covering all the ins-and-outs of being a freelance game journalist, writer, critic, whathaveyou. I’m well past the half-way point and I can see the finish line in the distance. Woo! Huzzah! Not surprising news, perhaps, at least to folks who know me and read this site somewhat regularly.

In a month or so I hope to be launching a Kickstarter campaign to help raise enough funds to hire an editor and cover the myriad costs of completing and self-publishing the project. I’m working out the details, planning out my video thingy, and all that good stuff as we speak. I’ve already commissioned some AMAZING cover art, which I’m really thrilled with, and if all goes well with the campaign, I hope to have everything I need to motor through the home stretch, wrap up the book, and have it launched all shiny and polished by next spring. I’ll have an e-book, PDF, and print versions available. Fingers crossed!

In any event, if you’ve found my advice useful, have written-in with questions, are a fellow comrade in the freelance trenches, are interested in learning more about how to dive into the freelance world, or simply want to be an awesome person, I’d very much appreciate your help with spreading the good word when it’s time and contributing to the Kickstarter if you can. Thanks in advance! More info on that stuff shortly.

But that’s not the real reason I sat down to write this post.

A week or so ago I was contacted by  a writer fellow with a request to comment for a piece he was working on for What Culture. I obliged. Here’s the piece, if you care to read it. Short and sweet – but neato nonetheless.

Introducing: “Ask The Freelance Dude”

Greetings people of the Internet. You like to write. I like to write. That’s lovely. Give yourself a hug. I just did. You have questions about writing, freelancing, game journalism, or whatnot. Also lovely. I have answers. Except when I don’t, in which case I’ll put on my detective cap and get to the bottom of it for you. I’m going to try out a new thing around these here work blog parts that I’d like to call “Ask The Freelance Dude” where you, dear virtual reader person, can write in with a question or problem related to the aforementioned topics. I’ll answer it.

Here are few guidelines to follow:

1) Don’t be a dick.

2) Even if you’ve got a problem or story to share, please wrap it up by asking an actual question.

3) Try to limit your inquiry to around 100-150 words or one paragraph.

4) Please be patient, as I might not be able to get to your questions right away.

5) Don’t ask a (yes/no) question.

6) Please keep questions within the scope of writing, freelancing, game journalism, publishing, etc). I may expand down the road, but I want to stay focused on writing-related topics to start.

7) If you would not like your real name published, please provide a (non-offensive) alias.

Now that we’ve laid that down. Got a question or problem you’d like answered? Hit me up with an e-mail at: askthefreelancedude@gmail.com

Note- Depending on the volume of inquiries, I may answer several in each installment or one at a time. I’ll do my best to give an informative and hopefully entertaining answer, and I’ll publish the best questionsand answers here on a regular basis for all to see and benefit from. Kapich?

Also- Questions/inquiries may be edited for basic grammar and punctuation, though I won’t mess with it if I don’t have to.

Shop Talk: Getting Down To Business

Dabbling in a little hobbyist video game-related writing on the side for fun and free games is all fine and good, but things start to change when you get paid for your work. Make enough money, and The Man takes notice. That opens up a Pandora’s Box of self-employment complexities to get a handle on. There’s a lot of nitty gritty that comes along with wrangling those beasties, but navigating the business end of freelancing doesn’t have to be a total nightmare.

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Shop Talk: Deadly Deadlines of Doom (Moonlighting Part 2)

For new folks just tuning in, this is the second part of a longer advice piece on moonlighting as a freelance game journalist. You can scope out the first installment here.

When you’re working a full-time job and squeezing in freelance assignments on the side, deadlines can be a real bitch. They’re a necessary headache for any freelancer, since they help you stay on track and get things accomplished in a timely manner. But boy do we curse them to the four winds whenever they rear their ugly, plague-ridden heads. Moonlighters have it twice as rough when it comes to deadlines too. You can’t miss them, and it’s not always feasible to drop what you’re doing during the regular work day to wrap-up assignments – yet the editorial deities must be appeased.

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Shop Talk: Moonlighting (Part 1)

The unknown can be dangerous. Diving headfirst into a dark pit without knowing what’s sitting at the bottom of it is never a good idea. While there might be a bed of fluffy pillows and bon-bons waiting for you down there, you could instead wind up impaled on a bed of gnarly barbed spikes dripping with poisonous chupacabra nectar. That’s not fun. Freelancing is the same way. Impulsiveness doesn’t pay the bills. You can’t just quit your job, grab a stack of games, call yourself a game journalist, and expect work to come flowing in. You need to stick your toe in the water first, and moonlighting is the way to do that.

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Shop Talk: Do You Have What It Takes To Freelance?

Few jobs descriptions are as awesome as: “play lots of video games, then get paid to write about them.” Game journalism is a fun and fulfilling career, but it’s far from easy. Unlike landing a staff position at a game magazine or website, being freelance means you’re completely on your own. The freedom of managing your workload and schedule the way you want to without someone breathing down your neck is exhilarating. However, being your own boss can quickly turn into a soul-sucking black hole of stress if you’re not careful. There’s a reason why so many freelance writers pack it in and return to the relative safety and comfort of a nine-to-five job.

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Shop Talk: By The Power of DEBUG!

Everyone has their artifacts of power. For a freelancer hoping to break into video game print magazines, there’s nothing more mystical and awe-inspiring than the ever-elusive debug console. These hard-to-attain devices mirror their retail counterparts, only they possess a dark and sinister magic that lets you run early review and preview code. A necessity for working with long-lead print outlets, debug units are harder to come by than they should be. As a freelancer, you will lust after these arcane artifacts. You might even be inspired to quest for them. You will most likely fail. Miserably. But do you REALLY need them to succeed? Let’s talk some shop, shall we?

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Shop Talk: Firing From The Hip (Don’t Shoot Yourself)

A few more quick tips and strategies for pitching

Competition is fierce in the freelance world, and editors deal with an endless deluge of awful pitches each day. Their inbox is filled with half-cocked ideas and slapdash e-mails from writers seeking work. Simply put: time and patience are in limited supply. It takes less effort for an editor to hit DELETE than it does to respond to each and every inquiry that hits their desk. Differentiate yourself from the pack by taking a little extra time to polish your pitches until they are shiny and sexy. A touch of added strategy never hurts either.

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