Poor neglected blog…

Brace yourselves for a big of what is FANTASTIC news for me, but might not be quite so hot for regular readers of this blog site.

I got a job!

Based almost exclusively on the work I put into this site, coupled with my insightful commentaries given weekly on my video podcast “STOked,” the Executive Editor of Ten Ton Hammer decided to offer me a position as a Main Site Contributor at their website.

Yes, it pays.

Yes, I’m ECSTATIC.

And yes, I’ve been doing it for a month now, and I think it’s incredible to finally be doing something for a living that I’ve always loved doing.

I’m officially a Game Journalist.  Wow.

So, there’s two things that I want to cover in this blog post:

1) A message to everyone that’s asked me how I landed this new job, and how they might be able to do the same for themselves one day.

-and-

2) A brief explanation of the future of MMOrgue, as it currently stands.

I’m gonna switch those two around though, cuz the second is easier to explain than the first.  I think I might get preachy on the first, and for that I apologize in advance.

What’s The Status Of MMOrgue?

The first thing you need to know is that my new gig over at Ten Ton Hammer is going to be game-agnostic.  I’ve been pulled on board to create what they call “Main Site Content” which is primarily editorials that cover multiple titles.  Which is the exact type of writing I was doing for this blog.  I wasn’t, for the most part, covering individual games but instead looking at the industry as a whole and posting my commentary on it.

The fact that the articles I am now writing for another site are the same as what I was posting here, means that I’m not going to have as much content to post here.  I don’t really like the idea of cross-posting that content.  Not at the time of publishing, anyway.

What I *will* do is post Jeremy’s Link Round-Up:  a collection of any articles I’ve written for Ten Ton Hammer.  I’ll do this about once a month, so it will generally be links to 6-10 articles at a time.  I’m looking to get the first of these posted next week.  I have one article that I’ve written still being squashed by an NDA that will lift on Monday, so I’ll publish the whole group of them after that one’s up.

I will also, if I find time and a passion for a particular topic, still occasionally post things here.  These posts are likely going to be quite a bit different from previous articles you’ve seen on MMOrgue, and will probably swing back and forth between Rants and Reviews, since neither of these article styles is generally going to be published at the other site.  But all will be sparse, since I’m using most of my writing muscles for my day job.

And lastly, the ‘feel’ of this site is going to change.  I’m no longer considering it a professional site, so the editorial voice of these blog posts is changing into something more friendly, more personal, more casual.  I hope that’s not a big turn-off.

How Did You Land The BEST JOB IN THE WORLD?

First of all, let me dispel those rumors.

Yes, I get to write about video games.  But no, it’s not easy.  And generally I don’t get to choose what I write about.  I’m still somebody else’s word-slave, and I still have a quota to meet in terms of content.  It’s really just like any other job – you get an assignment, you research it, you do it.  So don’t let the name or idea of the job fool you.  It’s hard work.  But, the subject matter IS compelling, and the research is generally enjoyable.  I guess a musician would be just as thrilled to write for a Rolling Stone-type magazine, or an amateur physicist for New Science.  All I’m saying is, you only get out of a job what you put into it.  If you’re passionate about something, that can skew your perception of things.

Now, I wanna come clean with another fact of reality:  The Pay.

Clearly I’m not going to be raking in the big bucks on my first professional gig, but I want to be clear … neither are you.  So if you’re interested in pursuing this type of career, take the money under consideration.

I’m currently being paid $650 per month to submit two articles per week, and am encouraged to brainstorm my own additional articles outside of these assignments as special features.  Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve spent an average of about 25 hours per week doing research (and playing games was probably less than half of that – the rest was scouring the internets, reading forums, wikis, etc).  Then an additional ~10 hours per week writing, editing and publishing my finished articles.  Granted, I’ll probably spend less time on this per week once I’m really in the swing of things, but that right there is pretty much a full time job as it currently stands.

Let’s consider a best-case scenario, and say that I eventually get it down to a science where I only spend 20 hrs per week on this job.  MATH:

20 hours x 52 weeks in a year = 1040 hrs / yr

$650/mo x 12 months in a year = $7,800 / yr

$7,800 / 1040 hrs = $7.50 / hour

That’s below minimum wage, and well below the poverty line.  So don’t go into this line of work thinking that you’ll be able to quit your day job and live the good life.

Ok, so … if I haven’t discouraged you by now, then you’re probably the type of person that’s seeking actual advice on how YOU can become a Game Journalist.  I guess if you’ve waded through this diatribe you deserve some tips.  You’ve been patient enough with me that I’ll give you what you want!

Never stop writing

Start a blog, start a podcast, update a wiki, post guides/articles on your favorite forum.  Every time you write, you get better.  And every time you publish something, it becomes a part of your living portfolio.  Save links to your work, in case you need to reference them to somebody.

Never stop reading

Not only does it allow you to keep abreast of what’s going on in the industry, but also can help give you a clearer impression of what types of articles and sites are popular and well-received.  Also, I firmly believe that the more you read, the more you improve your grasp of the intricacies of the language.

Do your research

I can’t emphasize this enough.  I’ve seen far too many bloggers think that they can impress people with nothing but empty editorial, and that is simply not engaging over the long term.  Everybody has an opinion, and yours (even if it’s ground-breaking and original) has no more value than anybody else’s.  Support your statements with external links, wiki pages, examples, screenshots, whatever you can come up with.  The more the better.  If you present a convincing argument, people will respect your viewpoints even if they don’t agree.  PLUS – professional media outlets LOVE well-researched articles.

Don’t just accept criticism – seek it out

If you know someone – ANYone – with a strong grasp of the English language, ask them to look over your piece and nitpick the hell out of your grammar, syntax and spelling.  If you want to work as a journalist, these things all have to be the absolute BEST they can POSSIBLY be, before you even begin.  You will never get better if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.

Never be too proud to plug yourself

Add links to your blog or website to your email signature.  Pop into random YouTube videos and post video responses with a plug for your site.  Send out cold-call emails to websites offering to let them feature your articles.

Never, ever offer to write for free

If you think you are worth enough to make a living doing this, never do it for free when somebody else is profiting from your work.  Even it’s only a pittance, demand to get paid for your work when there is money being made from it.

One final note…

Remember, if you’re attempting to get into this line of work, that you are not alone.  There are thousands and thousands of others with the same dream, and you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.  The only thing that can set you apart from the others is your level of skill and insight.  If you want to impress the editors and land the gig, you have to convince them that you are the best candidate for the job and never leave room for them to doubt your abilities.  If you can’t meet your obligations, somebody else out there can.  And there’s no shortage of candidates to choose from.

As a parting gift, I leave you the following blog post on this very topic.  This was pointed out to me today, and contains the parting thoughts of a former game journalist over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun that decided to move on from the industry:  ENJOY!

Advertisements

About this entry