Ever wanted to become a video game writer? You’re not alone. With an industry now worth more than Hollywood, there are many different avenues within video games for budding writers. Perhaps you’d like to be an actual video game script or story writer, contributing to the next Naughty Dog blockbuster, or maybe you’d prefer to write about video games, as a journalist for a site such as the one you’re reading right now? Unsure about what you need to do besides having “relevant college experience”? Read on for our top tips on making it as a video game writer.
1. Don’t be afraid to send pitches to publications
You may think that the inboxes of high-profile gaming journalists or publishers are impenetrable, and that any attempts to pitch your next big story to them will go unnoticed. While editors are inundated with press releases on a daily basis, it’s also true that they’re desperate for new ideas and unique sources of inspiration. By doing a little bit of research about the publication(s) you’d like to write for, and crafting a targeted, creative pitch with an engaging subject line will help you stand out from the crowd.
Make sure you’re not retreading old ground, of course; try to find a unique, engaging angle on an existing hot topic and do your background research before approaching any would-be publishers. Got an idea you’re certain won’t be replicated? Shout about it, as well as why you’re the right person for the job; you should view a pitch as an opportunity to sell yourself and your skills as much as your story. And, if you don’t succeed first time around, try other publishers or websites. If your idea is good enough, you’ll make a breakthrough eventually.
2. Apply as a writer for an agency
Freelance work is an avenue favoured by many writers; both aspiring and well-established. The freedom afforded to freelancers can be quite alluring, with websites such as Upwork, PeoplePerHour and Fiverr all decent options for both casual and longer-term freelancing work.
That said, freelancing hubs are hotly contested platforms, so if you don’t have a steady stream of your own clients, you may consider applying to write for an agency. Content agencies such as TopContent offer the chance for you to become a freelance writer online, with online gaming and entertainment being a particularly popular niche. Such sites have a number of clients across a range of sectors, and generally pay a fixed rate per word or task.
3. Keep writing – even for free
When you’re trying to make it as a writer, you’ll often be told that you should never consider creating content for free. While it’s true that many small-time video game news sites offer little more than ‘exposure’ to aspiring writers, it’s never a good idea to simply stop writing if the work happens to dry up. Consider an internship at an established publication, where you may actually gain valuable experience as well as more than a few eyeballs reading your work, or even setting up your own blog.
In a similar vein, some websites offer compensation on a revenue-share model, which tends to be based on advertising views. Just be sure that the site has enough traffic to make it worth your while; after all, 60% of 200 views equates to not very much money at all.
Have any other tips for making it as a video games writer? Let us know in the comments below.