Up Up Down Down Left Write: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism – Book Review

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I’ve been writing for The Koalition for over two years now and have been lucky enough to review dozens of games, interview gaming visionaries and attend some great conventions as a result of my affiliation. Recently, I’ve started branching out in freelance writing more and you can find my work on other sites like The Examiner, Gaming Dragons, MMOSite and others, with big feature pitches at larger gaming sites in the works now. A lot of this would never have been possible if it were not for all of the help and support writers from The Koalition provided me, but even more so as of recently, the advice and help I’ve gotten from other writers and sources in the industry – such as this book.

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Right up front, it’s worth noting that this book is a Kickstarter success story. You can check out the original Kickstarter page right here for all of those details, but it’s great that this book was actually finished. Nathan was kind enough to provide me with a digital pre-release version of the book and I’m happy to report that it couldn’t have really turned out any better. Unlike a lot of writings on this topic, this book is extremely detailed. Entire chapters are dedicated to topics such as how much you should charge, how to deal with PR professionals, how to manage the chaos of working for yourself and even how to handle tax hurdles amid the litany of other pressures you’ll endure. I may not be a seasoned, professional freelance writer like Nathan (yet), but I can say that with the limited experience I do have, everything in this book is not only true, but I wish I had known all of these things before I got started.

Another great book that I highly recommend is Dan Amrich’s Critical Path, which you can check out over here, but there are a lot of key differences to note. Critical Path is designed for writers that want to breaking into writing for a major gaming publication, specifically in print, on-staff and typically on-site.  Meunier’s Freelance Guide is geared more towards people that want to write as a remote freelance writer for various sites at once, managing their own deadlines and dealing with their own assignments. This is a key distinction, as they both have their own pros and cons and usually attract very different types of writers.

Moreover, Meunier’s guide is just that – more of a guide. While many books and articles have been written on this topic, this one is designed as a guide to be followed, not just a book you read and set back on the shelf. Expect to crack this bad boy open several times a week to reference specific passages again and again. Which is also why I highly recommend getting the print version – the wonderful art looks great and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you only got to see it on a small screen.

If you can discipline yourself to work from home, create a dedicated home office space, prioritize and organize your time and actually dedicate yourself to writing as a freelance journalist – you need to buy this book. It has so much more than the basic outlines of advice you’ll find online that are mostly vague, no, this book is all about details. He provides you with actual pitches he wrote and submitted to sites like The Escapist and Polygon that were actually accepted, he breaks down the pricing on articles and how much you should charge and everything in between.

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Final Verdict: Incredible

I’m a work in progress, so I can’t attest to whether or not reading this book helped mold me into a successful gaming journalist (as it hasn’t happened yet), but I can, without a doubt, say that I feel more confident, knowledgeable and capable having read this book than I did before reading it. If you want to know more about the industry and the true, often grim, realities of writing about games, you owe it to yourself to buy this book. It’s available both digitally and physically over here and I’d also recommend following the author on Twitter and  following his blog for regular updates – he’s always dishing out advice for free!

About The Author
David Jagneaux Senior Editor
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