Ask The Freelance Dude #17 – Writing on Spec


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Dear Freelance Dude,

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?

Signed,
Marcus B.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #16 – Pitching Reviews


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Dear Freelance Dude,

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?
 
Signed,
Derek T.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #15 – The Luck Factor


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Dear Freelance Dude,

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?

Signed
KnucklesSonic8

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Ask The Freelance Dude #14 – Networking at Conventions


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I’m a soon-to-be college grad just starting to try his hand in the freelancing world. After being published on a handful of sites, I’ve managed to get a media pass to the PAX East convention in my hometown of Boston. It’s common knowledge that networking is a key to success for freelance journos, and conventions like these seem to be one of the best places to get started on making friends in the industry.

Could you shed some light on how to go about this whole networking process? Are there any particular do’s and don’ts that I should be aware of before walking up to complete strangers? I’ve got my personal business cards printed out and ready to be shared, so what can I do to get people to remember my name (without looking like a total weirdo)?

Signed,
Jeff D.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #13 – Reviews Reviews Reviews!


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Dear Freelance Dude,

As you eloquently explain in your blog, pitching feature ideas to editors is a great way of getting started as a freelance. This has proven to be effective to me, as I recently had my first feature pitch accepted – WOOT!

Much as I love desperately squeezing increasingly bizarre feature concepts from my noggin, only to be ignored or rejected by editors, I would dearly love to review games for well known gaming sites too. It seems that reviewing is the holy grail of games journalism, only possible for the most well known writers. Is this the case?

Signed,
Ian B.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #12 – Heading Out West


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I am a recent journalism graduate from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, looking to write for IGN, 1UP, and other gaming websites. I’ve written about video games for my college newspaper, and I’m looking to gain more experience by freelancing for a video game fan site. So my question to you is would I have a better chance with pitching stories or getting work from major gaming websites if I live in California? I’m just concerned that they won’t consider my work because I don’t live in CA. I’m thinking about moving to CA because I have relatives there and so I can network easier.

Signed,
Tom K.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #11 – Review Copies and You


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I currently write for the gaming section of a UK student paper and I’m probably going to be that section’s editor in a few months. I was wondering who to contact about getting review code because in a publication that receives pre-release albums for the music section and preview screening invitations for the film section, the games content is lagging behind without any publisher contacts. We have a distribution of 5,000 copies all over the city of Norwich and 13 issues a year. I was wondering if the publication is big enough to receive review code and, if so, who to contact to get it.

Thanks,
Oliver B.

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