Shop Talk: Quick Tips To Simplify Your Writing

shoptalk copyIt’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.

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Freelance Game Journalism Video Chat w/ Nathan Meunier and Dan Amrich at GameZone

gamezoneYesterday, 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!

UUDDLW: “And Twitter Says:”

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.

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Shop Talk: Hunting Down Good Sources to Interview

shoptalk copyFinding 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.

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Game Journo Guide Friday Book Giveaway Contest!

bowkerscoverHey, today is my birthday! Woo! In celebration of leveling-up to age 33 AND the launch of my new book earlier this week, I’m going to be giving away three ebook copies of Up Up Down Down Left WRITE: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism today! There are THREE ways to enter this little promo contest, and doing all three entry method tasks will triple your chances of winning a copy (only one copy per winner). I’ll be selecting one winner at random from the folks who enter in each category. It’s a game, wheee, fun!

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Shop Talk: 9 Twitter Tips for Freelance Game Journos

shoptalk copyNetworking 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.

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Shop Talk: BOOM! The Bookpocalypse Is HERE!

shoptalk copyThis 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!

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Ask The Freelance Dude #22 – A Balancing Act


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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.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #21 – Idea Quest


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Dear Freelance Dude,

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?

Signed,
Steve G.

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Up Up Down Down Left WRITE Book Launch Date Announced!

bowkerscoverHUMANS 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!

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