Game Journalism Business Basics

Which types of freelance game journalism jobs should you apply to?

The game industry is booming, and with that comes a ton of job opportunities for talented game writers. Whether you're just starting out in your career or looking to make a switch, it can be tough to decide which game writing job openings are the right fit for you.

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Review writing, editorials, news, interviews

The vast majority of writers want to dive in and do video game reviews. Not only is this the most appealing part about being a game journalist (free games, right?), but reviews are more straightforward to create than many other types of articles.

Reviews can take a lot of time to create, of course, as you have to play the game first, then distill your opinion into 1000 words. We're talking a few dozen hours for most games on the market, maybe more with larger/longer titles. Keep that in mind when applying for game review jobs: it's hard to fit more of these into your schedule.

Being a video game news writer is often where the real fun can be had. Online magazines are eager to keep news pieces flowing throughout the week. It's the easiest way for them to keep their SEO juices topped up, and most writers can create these pieces in their sleep. News articles require little in the way of research and preparation, especially if you know the gaming industry like the back of your hand.

Editorials and interviews are somewhere in the middle. If you've got a strong opinion about something in the gaming industry and have good argumentative skills, editorial pieces can be a great way to express yourself and get a discussion going. Depending on the topic you may need to spend some extra time researching and polishing, but on the whole you won't need as much time as compared to game reviews. With interviews you simply need to research your subject, prepare questions, then turn your conversation into an article.

Just starting out? Volunteer writing jobs can be fantastic

While there's a lot of contention around the existence of volunteer game writing jobs and whether or not game journalists should accept them, the fact remains that unpaid gigs are a great way to gain experience and build your resume. If you're just starting out as a remote game journalist or game reviewer and you don't have a lot of samples for your portfolio, grabbing a volunteer gig might be the fastest and easiest way to get your career going.

Volunteer journalism jobs are usually easier to land than paid gigs. This is partly because experienced game writers usually won't apply for these sorts of openings, so it's you versus a lot of other journalists with little to no experience. Those are great odds!

Volunteer gigs also generally have lower standards than paid gigs. That's not to say the publications turn out shoddy work, or that you shouldn't give these jobs your all. It simply means that employers are more likely to want generalist writers rather than people with experience in certain areas.

And finally, just because a job starts out volunteer doesn't mean it will stay that way. The founder of VGJobs began his writing career with an unpaid gig that eventually turned into a paid job.

Shorter freelance game journalism gigs are gold

While you might be tempted to go after full-time or regular gigs every time you start looking for work, there can be a lot of value in short term and temporary game journalism jobs.

Similar to the section above, temp gigs are often easier to land than full-time gigs, as the stakes are lower and the hiring publications aren't as concerned about finding "the perfect fit." You can swoop in, show off some solid writing samples, and start writing for them later in the week.

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