It takes a tremendous amount of willpower, energy, and focus to create something. To take an idea and see it through to fruition, whether it’s a book, a game, or something else. It’s very easy to pour so much of yourself into a creative project and the gargantuan task of getting it out into the world that it exerts a sort of symbiotic energy drain on your being. Sometimes once your creative venture is cut loose and set free into the world, you’re left with a weird sense of loss. And it can be crippling.
When you spend years writing about products, trends, culture, and things, it’s easy to lose touch with the human connection that ties it all together. But that’s what really makes it all interesting, isn’t it? As beings made of meat, water, and thought, we’re naturally drawn towards learning about others’ experiences, learning from the events of their lives, and discovering what makes them tick. I love reading those types of personal stories, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that I discovered just how therapeutic writing my own could be.
In this debut installment of Shop Talk Interviews, I talk with long-time game journalist Andrew Groen about the massive Kickstarter success off his new book project: A History of the Great Empires of Eve Online. We chat about the project, cover some tips on how to run a slick book Kickstarter campaign, and also briefly touch on turning long-form articles into books.
If you like the show, stay tuned! I’ll be having other special interviews in the near future on a sporadic basis. You can also tune into my regular bi-weekly podcast The Freelance Game, which covers the ins-and-outs of the writing life and freelancing in the video game industry.
Hey awesome people, readers, blog visitors, and other assorted humans! I need your help! As I continue plugging away at writing upcoming books and creating other future projects, I’d really love to get your input on what kinds of topics you’d like me to cover next in upcoming guides, what your thoughts are on specific formats, and what challenges you struggle with. The more info I can get, the better I can tailor my next few projects to better suit your needs.
If you haven’t checked out my Game Journo Guides Series of books, you can scope out the first three below. I have lots of other exciting things in the works and would very much appreciate your input on what you’d like to see next! So…
[Update] I’m aiming to get 100+ responses if possible, and we’re about 51 percent of the way! Getting some great insights so far, please keep ’em coming!
It should only take a minute or so. Thanks in advance!
Staring at a blank screen, knowing you have to make word magic happen is frustrating when you’re on deadline and things aren’t clicking as fast as you need them to. It’s even worse when you have a sense of what you want to say, yet reaching for the specific words leaves you grasping at the empty nether. I’m in one such predicament myself. In this case, it’s with a game review that is in desperate need of writing STAT! In fact, I find that mental long jams pop-up most frequently for me when I’m writing critiques. So in hopes of loosening things up, I figured I’d blab about it for a moment in a blog post — a brief exercise in clearing the word palate, if you will.
This is the first post in a multi-part series exploring the behind-the-scenes elements of self-publishing and ebook creation. Something new for ye olde blog! Enjoy!
Writing a book. I know, it sounds daunting, especially if you’ve never written one before. Traditionally speaking, a book length non-fiction work can run anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000+ words. If you’re used to bashing out articles that cap out around 1,000 words MAX, the thought of stretching that out times 70 can be terrifying, even crippling. I can’t possible do that, you might think. That’s way too much work. Or is it? The golden standard for books in the digital age is shifting just as fast as the publishing industry itself. Tradition can go scratch. It’s a brave new world out there.
Today, I’m celebrating the launch of my third book in the Game Journo Guides Series — Freelance Writing Hacks: 55 Tips For Word Mercenary Success — out now for $2.99 on Kindle and PDF or $4.99 for a cool Audiobook+PDF bundle! Whee! But rather than ramble on about what the book is about and why you should check it out (you can read that at the link above), I wanted to spend a few moments talking about what it’s like launching a niche book like this as a self-published author.
I cringe every time I hear about hopeful writers who’ve just quit their day job to start a freelance career — BEFORE they have any steady freelance income rolling in. BEFORE they have any backup savings set aside for an emergency. BEFORE they’ve meticulously thought things through and battle-planned out how they’re going to stay afloat. Listen, how you make the leap to freelancing full-time can have a huge impact on whether or not you ultimately succeed.
Next to slinging pitches, pulling off interviews is one of the most important skills any freelancer or game journalist should strive to master in order to boost his or her writing career in the industry. Crafting thoughtful questions that engage sources and get them talking is a critical step.
When putting your questions together, it helps to start by brainstorming a rough list while you conduct your initial research. Jot down anything that comes to mind as you poke around the Internet. You can always go back and word things more intentionally, so don’t worry about sloppiness: just get it on the page. Once you have a big ol’ list of possibilities ready to go, it’s time to whittle everything down into a more focused set of polished questions.
It’s important to put some serious thought into both the kinds of questions you plan to ask and how to phrase them. You’ll want to design your questions to get your sources thinking (and talking). Here are a few quick tips to get you on the right track.