Make a living by writing about video games? Hell yes! Break into the gaming industry with this detailed how-to guide for freelancers.
New and Improved! Now with 400% more ACTUAL GAMES! (For All Backers)! Read this.
New Bonus: Anyone who backs at the $125 level or higher also gets a super sweet Up Up Down Down Left WRITE coffee mug:
Completion Goal: If we hit the original $7,000 funding goal by the end (5pm EST on Sat. Sept 8th) then I'll also write a second shorter book of freelance advice and give a free digital copy to ALL BACKERS. Details below.
Who's this Nathan Meunier dude anyway? I hear he writes about video games for a living?
Yeah, that's me! Woo! I've been writing professionally for over a decade now, and for a hefty portion of that time I've worked as a successful freelancer covering the video game industry. I've been published in over 25 gaming websites and magazines - everywhere from PC Gamer and Nintendo Power to GameSpot and IGN. But do you want to know what the really cool thing is? I started out as just a guy who loved playing games, loved writing, and fantasized about finding a way to get paid to do that for a living. Freelancing was the answer to my dreams, and it can be yours too.
As a freelancer, you can build yourself a full-time gig writing about games while working from anywhere in the world, and Up Up Down Down Left WRITE is the key to jump starting your career as a freelance game journalist.
So what's the deal with this book thingy?
Awhile back, I started getting e-mails from new freelance writers with questions about how to break into gaming publications. A lot of e-mails. When I realized how much time I was spending answering them and giving out advice, I decided to start a series of how-to pieces on my work blog specifically geared towards freelancing as a game journalist. Shop Talk was born, and the response was overwhelming. Those blog posts eventually became the foundation for my book: Up Up Down Down Left WRITE - The Freelance Guide To Video Game Journalism.
Over the past year, I've spent a lot of time behind the scenes rewriting, updating, and expanding on those original posts while also writing many new chapters never published on the site. At this point, I'm about 2/3 of the way through writing the book, and I need your help to make the final push. Kickstarting this project will allow me to finish the last bit of writing, hire an editor to rake everything over the coals until it's ultra word-sexy, pay for front and back cover art, cover the costs of formatting and other nitty gritty expenses that come from putting a book together, and publish this bad-boy in electronic and print formats.
Is the book cover going to be shiny magic awesome?
YES. I've commissioned awesome gaming-themed artist Blake Wheeler to do all of the artwork for the book. By backing this project, you'll also be helping to cover the cost of materials and time to make the visual side of things look mega bitchin'.
What's in the book?
My goal is to make Up Up Down Down Left WRITE as comprehensive as possible and pack it full of info that's useful both to newcomers looking to break into freelance game journalism and veterans who've already been at it for awhile. While there's a lot of great how-to info and advice in here, I also sprinkle my own quirky humor throughout the book to make it a fun read too. Some of the chapters are re-written and expanded versions of my original blog posts, but quite a bit of the book is comprised of completely new material.
Here's a rundown of the chapters I have blocked out already. (Note: this may change slightly and be expanded in the final book. Some of the Kickstarter rewards also give you the opportunity to help shape the book and contribute too!)
Part I: Underwear and Keyboards
1) Demystifying The Freelance Life
2) The Awesome (And Not So Awesome) Things About Being A Freelance Game Journalist
3) Do You Have What It Takes To Freelance?
Part II: Battle Plans
4) Getting Started
5) On Writing For Free
6) Pay Rates
7) Setting and Meeting Goals
8) Chasing The Work
9) Getting Down To Business
10) Navigating Tax Hell
Part III: The Craft
12) What Do I Write?
13) Anatomy of a Pitch
14) Pitching Dos and Don'ts
15) Firing From The Hip (Don't Shoot Yourself)
16) After The Pitch
17) Working With Editors
18) Improving Your work
19) Maximizing Productivity
Part IV: In The Trenches
20) Working with PR
21) Surviving the Busy Season and the Slow Spells
22) Covering Conventions
23) By The Power of Debug
24) More on Money Matters
25) Expanding Your Freelance Business
Part V: Troubleshooting
26) Rowdy Readers and How To Deal With Them
27) On Eggs in Baskets
28) Beating The Freelance Doldrums
29) The Move (aka Relocating Hell)
...And some other appendices, resources, and back-end extras.
Ok, cool. How can I help?
Aside from supporting the Kickstarter and getting awesome rewards in exchange, please help spread the word via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or any other means you can think of! I'm working on some fun stretch goal ideas and will be rolling those out shortly.
Thanks so much for your time! Stay awesome!
OMEGA STRETCH GOAL OF VOLTRONNESS
Lets up the stakes. I've ditched my previous stretch goals for one mega goal. It's very simple. Help me hit the book's $7,000 goal by the finish line of Sept 8th at 5pm, then I'll write a SECOND BOOK after Up Up Down Down Left WRITE is completed, and I'll provide a free special Kickstarter digital edition to ALL BACKERS. That's it. Simple. We make it and you get an extra book - granted it'll be a while before that one comes out, but you will get it. For free. Simply for being awesome and helping me fund the main book.
Book #2 will be slightly shorter, and I envision the print version (which will eventually go on sale after backers have received their early digital copies) being a 4.25 x 6.25 pocket sized edition. It'll be a 101 Tips-style format that covers slightly different ground from Up Up Down Down Left WRITE but still focuses on game journalism.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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$1 OF AWESOMENESS - Choose a word. Any word. The most bitchin' word you can think of. I will write this word, along with the words of other $1 OF AWESOMENESS level backers onto a dollar bill. I will photograph this dollar bill (or multiple dollar bills if necessary) and release it into the wilds by purchasing something awesome with it. Eff YEAH!Estimated delivery:
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NINJA RECRUIT - I'll send you a .PDF file containing the first few introductory chapters of the book prior to launch. You'll also have access to backer updates and behind-the-scenes coolness.Estimated delivery:
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ROBOT OVERLORD - You receive a copy of the full book in digital format (.PDF or Kindle compatible). Also, you will be thanked in the back of the book.Estimated delivery:
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NERDY RISK TAKER - Same as Robot Overlord level *EXCEPT* you also have a 1-in-20 chance of winning a signed print copy of the book. Once this level hits a full 20 backers, I'll assign a number between one and 20 to each backer in this tier and roll a d20 (or 20-sided dice for you non-AD&D folks) to pick one winner to receive the extra bonus. This is a gamble, so don't get ticked if you lose! I'll take photos and document the process to share as a backers-only update. Fun! Wheee! (Don't worry about shipping for this one. It's on the house).Estimated delivery:
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ULTRA MEGA NERDY RISK TAKER - Same as Robot Overlord level *EXCEPT* you also have a 1-in-20 chance of winning BOTH a signed print copy of the book AND a custom 8x10 painting of your favorite video game character done by cover artist Blake Wheeler (http://bewheel.deviantart.com/). Once this level hits a full 20 backers, I'll assign a number between one and 20 to each backer in this tier and roll a d20 (or 20-sided dice for you non-AD&D folks) to pick one winner to receive the extra bonus. This is a gamble, so don't get ticked if you lose! Just like the other Nerdy Risk Taker tier, I'll take photos and document the process to share as a backers-only update.Estimated delivery:
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COFFEE ADDLED NERDY RISK TAKER - Same as Robot Overlord level *EXCEPT* you also have a 1-in-20 chance of winning an Up Up Down Down Left WRITE coffee mug! Once this level hits a full 20 backers, I'll assign a number between one and 20 to each backer in this tier and roll a d20 (or 20-sided dice for you non-AD&D folks) to pick one winner to receive the extra bonus. This is a gamble, so don't get ticked if you lose! I'll take photos and document the process to share as a backers-only update.Estimated delivery:
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8-BIT WIZARD - You receive a copy of the book in digital format (.PDF or Kindle compatible), a thank-you in the back of the book, and a digital download of BOTH of my chiptune indie-rock albums ("The Beacon" and "Robots. Lasers. Awesome").Estimated delivery:
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UNICORN MASTER - You recieve digital (.PDF or Kindle compatible) AND print editions of the book, a thank-you in the back of the book, and a digital download of both of my chiptune albums. (Add $16 for international shipping)Estimated delivery:
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WOOKIEE CHAMPION - Same as Unicorn Master level, plus I'll sign and personalize your print edition. (add $16 for international shipping).Estimated delivery:
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AWESOMESAUCE SLINGER - Same as Wookiee Champion level, plus I'll give you a personalized e-mail consultation to answer a specific freelance-related question or conundrum you might have. (Add $16 for international shipping).Estimated delivery:
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WORD WARRIOR - Same as Awesomesauce Slinger level, plus you can write a guest post that I'll edit and publish on my website -OR- I'll promote a recent article you've already written elsewhere on my own site and Twitter feed for a limited time (your choice) (Add $16 for international shipping).Estimated delivery:
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SMASHER OF EDITORIAL DOORS - Same as Word Warrior level, plus I'll constructively critique a current pitch you're working on and help you target it to a paying outlet. (No guarantees it'll be accepted, however). (Add $16 for international shipping).Estimated delivery:
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CULTIVATOR OF ARTISTIC TASTE - Same as Word Warrior level, plus you will receive a custom 8x10" painting of your favorite video game character done by cover artist Blake Wheeler (http://bewheel.deviantart.com/). (Add $16 for international shipping).Estimated delivery:
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MIND MELTER - Same as Word Warrior level, plus I'll give you a one-time 30 minute phone consultation on my dime to chat about freelance-related stuff (must be within the United States). (Add $16 for international shipping).Estimated delivery:
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SUMMONER OF DARK KNOWLEDGE - Same as Word Warrior level, plus I'll research and write a short chapter for the book on a subtopic of your choosing (I reserve the right to make final decisions on proposed topic choice). Additionally, you'll receive a special contributor's acknowledgement within the book.Estimated delivery:
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EATER OF WORLDS - Same as Word Warrior level, plus I'll treat you to a nice lunch sometime during PAX East 2013 in Boston. We can chat about freelancing in-person, and I'll let you pick my brain (note: no zombies allowed).Estimated delivery:
- (33 days)