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.
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?
When brainstorming features, I often find it difficult to come up with themes that will be marketable to publications. It feels like focusing on current “hot topics” is simply chasing what’s already been said, but how do you go about finding fresh ideas?
I’m gearing up to start pitching some things but have always wondered what the hard and fast rules on pitching a single idea or spec piece are. Is pitching one piece to multiple outlets a bad idea? Also, can you keep pitching a rejected piece to other outlets until it’s picked up? Are there any other tips to speed up the process or is it best left alone?
I’ve been writing for a volunteer website doing news, reviews, and features – mostly news. However, being recently laid-off has forced me to search for paying opportunities, and I feel I don’t have the experience yet to attain one, freelance or staff (I’ve only been in games journalism for six months). Should I focus on writing features to submit to other websites or should I continue developing my skills until I feel ready?
And are there websites that hire staff writers that work remotely or is that, basically, freelancing?
Or perhaps more appropriately titled: “Holy crap I survived another year of freelance game journo word-fu craziness!” Every year seems like a wild ride, but 2012 in particular has been an interesting one across the board. So much so that I feel compelled to blab personal thoughts about some of the more interesting moments of my year. Feel free to indulge in my self-indulgence!
I’m trying my hardest to break into the world of freelance games journalism. I’ve had a couple of paid assignments which I managed to land without needing to submit any pitches. Since then, I’ve followed your advice about what makes a good pitch, and have tried several ideas tailoring them to several publications. After waiting a reasonable time, I have not had any responses whatsoever. What can I do if I’m simply being ignored?
I’m a student and games editor for our university newspaper. Being a student, my loan is covering me and allowing me put time into my degree and other hobbies. I’ve secured interviews with some big names and am planning to write some features. My goal is for these to be of a good enough standard to get paid for the writing. Yet, I’m going to write these regardless of whether a publication agrees to pay me for it. Can I pitch a feature I have already completed/ partially completed? How would I go about doing so?
You’ve talked about reviews, but I’m curious about how pitching reviews differs from pitching features. For instance, do you need to find a way to secure your own copy of a game or does the outlet you’re writing for take care of that? And how does the approach of pitching reviews differ from other pitches? You wouldn’t pitch a review to a features editor when there’s a reviews editor on staff, so how would you best make the transition from one editor to another?
I’ve seen a number of folks comment on how luck played a role in their obtaining a paying gig as a games journalist. Do you see luck as a big factor that plays into a person’s success in this field, or are there other variables that have greater importance?