So I heard you want to become a professional game journalist?

I normally don’t get into these topics, but some days ago (on Thursday), I went ahead and researched a little bit further on ways to get my site out a little bit more, you know, my dream is to become a recognized and professional game journalist, hopefully at some point be able to make my living out of this, which I’ve been doing since 2011, maybe not on this -my own- site, but around the net on different forums where I’ve been both Editor and Editor in Chief.

Well, I feel like I should share my findings with all of you, in case you’re interested as I am in becoming a professional game journalist; followed by my idea on how to accomplish this.

So, we are all into this for hobby, to use our excess of energy or -in some cases- to give a use to that “dead” time that is around, where you have nothing to do and need to fill that space of time somehow. Others are in this because we have a dream, a dream of becoming known journalists, and to some day be able to make our living out of what we love doing: informing others about what is going on in the gaming industry.

hero-warriorIf you want to start at the bottom of the ladder, you’ll have to go in “like a warrior”. You’ll start with no name, no audience, no…nothing, besides your willingness to stay informed about the gaming industry, and to write quality articles, as well as accept the criticism that will come your way.

With this, you can start.

There are plenty of ways to start forging a name for yourself, start visiting well recognized/populated sites, being these simple gaming news sites or even forums. Start getting some followers, social media is quite strong when it comes to this!

When you get a little bit of an audience, you might want to start your own site, given that you like what you’re doing, that you enjoy doing it…and that you can commit to the cause, and separate some time of your busy day to keep your site active.

You don’t stop there, you’ll have to invest…you need your own domain, you’ll need a host, you’ll need maintenance….seriously, nothing is free!

Then there’s the time for you to write, you go ahead and read a piece of news that caught your attention, being this through some RSS Feed, or through an email you get from game developers (in case you’re subscribed), you keep checking social media for something to write about, Twitter is quite awesome for this, who would’ve thought, Twitter, for news, is more used than Facebook!

deus_ex_breaking_realityYou do some research, get your facts right (if you are actually providing quality articles…else, you can do what The Sun does…yet, you shouldn’t! Unless you explicitly say that your site is about satires), and then, write your article, with your own words, and if you need to quote something, you quote it and let people know where did you see it…

Now you start getting involved with other people that do the same as you do, each one has his/her own writing style, their own point of view, their own words…But in the end, we’re all doing the same, so we support each other, and you even get to make some friends in this step.

Your audience has grown, hasn’t it? Be sure to keep interacting with them, to show how you appreciate them taking the time to check your content out, because let’s be honest…you love getting the approval of others, getting some attention, even if it comes to one single person, you have to be loyal to that person, because in the end, they will come back if you’ve delivered some good content…and they have some spare time to read!

Sadly, you still aren’t taken seriously as a game journalist by companies…you’re still “another guy/gal that writes about news”. But…what do you need for them to see you as a “real” game journalist? Well, I’ve been given a hint from a staff from a site that dedicates to this, whom has told me that my site is simply a “personal blog” and not an actual “gaming site”; take a look at this:

“So, what would be cataloged as an actual “site” and not a “personal blog”?
I mean, I’m paying the domain name, host and so on. What would be the difference?”

That was my question, to which I got this…sad-for-me answer:

“Including, but not limited to or necisarily required:
1- Having dedicated staff, which use their real names
2- Having your own community of followers and commenters
3- Industry presence and recognition
4- Proper journalist tendencies
5- Providing worthwhile content

Basically you just need to build on what you have now and work to be like the ‘big’ sites. You seem to be off to a good start.”

I do appreciate that I got told I’m on the right track, but seriously…that list…and “be like the big sites”? Seriously?

gamingnews_collageSo, in order to be taken as an actual professional game journalist, you must:

  • Build a name for yourself
  • Be able to pay people to work for you as staff…using their real names
  • Somehow…get some recognition by the gaming industry experts
  • Compete with the sites that have priority for every piece of news by game developers/publishers, who get content before you do and that have the money to travel to every important event, and get interviews with basically anyone they want.

Sounds fair, doesn’t it?

Well…not for me!

How am I supposed to get staff to work with/for me, and for them to use their real names? Most of us don’t use our real names, this requisite seems quite…unimportant and silly for me.

So…out of the nowhere…I need to get recognition, over the gaming sites that do have it all…one single person needs to go against these titans of the industry, without all the benefits they have…that’s…logical…

Do you know the feeling of your dreams being crushed?

Do you know the feeling of your dreams being crushed?

When I got this information I felt like when you break a glass with a hammer, being the glass your dreams and the hammer the cruel, cruel reality.

How can I (we) get this recognition, when you live in a country where there simply are no important gaming events? Where there’s simply no game journalism at all? How would you be able to go over those well established sites?

I really have no clue, none, at all!

So, I had a thought after I got this information. Why not try to gather interested people to actually fulfill these requirements? I mean, to work together, as a team, bring all of the different content we all normally bring, just….together, on a single site?

There’s plenty of talent around the game journalism, talent that is not getting the recognition it deserves, I’m not talking about me, because well…I’m just another guy who writes news, you know?  But about all of the amazing writers I’ve met through my journey, since I started this site.

I might start writing a series about this topic, but that will depend on how “active” this article gets, so let me know your opinions, thoughts, ideas…anything! Either in the comments below, or social media: Facebook, Twitter, G+, Tumblr…anywhere!!

[UPDATE]

A second entry for the series can be found here.

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John Heatz

Editor In Chief at GamersSphere

John is an avid gamer and a writer, focused on video game journalism. Always looking for the latest news to write about, and different games to play during the day.

Latest posts by John Heatz (see all)

  • http://drakulus23.wordpress.com drakulus23

    Wow, how could they expect us to try and get noticed with those types of requirements. I’m interested in the proposal you too. I think we would work well together :].

    • http://johnheatz.wordpress.com johnheatz

      I think the same way, as you might’ve seen with the article itself! Hopefully there will be some positive response to this article, and the idea I’ve exposed, because if that happens, we might end up having a site that will have a chance in such a world that asks for so many -ridiculous- requirements!

      • http://drakulus23.wordpress.com drakulus23

        I might write something about this myself. Spread the word to other gamers that we’re thinking about making a website and see where that goes :].

        • http://johnheatz.wordpress.com johnheatz

          That’d be amazing! If anything, share this, add your own words, spread the word! And, if anyone is interested, what I’m going to do is add a contact form to this article, so that anyone interested can contact me directly :)

          • http://drakulus23.wordpress.com drakulus23

            We can start off small. Honestly i’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks. I just didn’t think it was the right time to bring up. You beat me to it :]

  • http://gamebloggirl.com gamebloggirl

    I think there are many paths to making video games a career. (You don’t need to necessarily be a video game journalist. Why isn’t professional blogging just as appealing? Just a thought.) Anyways, the list is arbitrary. Determination and consistency will get you much further than anything (including talent).
    Which reminds me there’s an awesome quote that applies here:
    “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

    • http://johnheatz.wordpress.com johnheatz

      That’s quite an amazing quote indeed! Thanks for sharing that one :)

      Now, indeed, it is possible to get into “professional blogging”, I’ve been going around the idea, but I don’t seem to be able to get a hold of “how to get to that” exactly, mostly as what I’ve been doing since I started on this has been…writing news and sharing with the world, I’m not even totally sure on the difference between these two careers! But if I’m sure about something is that I won’t really let those barriers stop me on keep moving on and try to get into this on a more “professional” level

      • http://gamebloggirl.com gamebloggirl

        It’s easy: get paid. Haha. Seriously though, you have a pretty substantial community of followers and readers, right? That’s definitely a launching pad. I’m not sure if there are many video game bloggers that blog professionally, but there are many others out there. This for example: http://sewwoodsy.com/
        It’s a DIY blog. Pretty sure it’s a main source of income for the couple that run the blog. They go to blogging conventions, sell space to advertisers, create sponsored posts for advertisers, do paid work for other sites and so on.
        If you really want video games to be a career and not just a hobby then, it’s like anything else, get your name out there. Send your work to gaming sites. You probably won’t be able to land a job, but maybe you could sell an article or two. If they abhor your work, send them another article. Does a gaming site want you to moderate the forums instead of write? Do it and keep sending them your work. Just keep at it. You’re one of the most committed bloggers I’ve seen so I don’t see that being a problem for you.

        • http://johnheatz.wordpress.com johnheatz

          Hey, thanks for the words! I’ve actually tried applying for positions on different sites, sadly, I haven’t been given any chance. There’s that huge “barrier” there, the location. There aren’t absolutely any conventions around here, no gaming events besides some LoL tournaments, but that’s about it. I’ve been looking for ways to “monetize” the site, but not even WP accepts my request to use their ads (lol) so it has been kind of hard to get there…

  • http://drakulus23.wordpress.com drakulus23

    Here’s a plan. Lets team up. I’ve found two people that are interested in doing it but they want some time to think it over. Drakulus23@gmail.com. Email me so we can further discuss this :].

  • http://gamerstherapy.wordpress.com Vitosal

    I’d also like to help anyway I can. Feel free to let me know at gamerstherapy@gmail.com
    I’ve been fantasizing about doing this for a living. Being able to write about what I love….oh my heart skipped a beat..

    • http://johnheatz.wordpress.com johnheatz

      Sweet, when I get home I’ll get in touch with you :)

      • http://gamerstherapy.wordpress.com Vitosal

        FYI, I’m in South Africa, so it’s pretty late right now. Nearly midnight so if I might respond a little bit later. :-)

        • http://johnheatz.wordpress.com johnheatz

          That’s not a problem at all, it’s the Internet, not like if it was going to get disconnected :p

          • http://gamerstherapy.wordpress.com Vitosal

            I wouldn’t put it past South African technology lol

  • http://theotakujudge.wordpress.com theotakujudge

    My dream is to become The Sun’s video game correspondent. Research be damned!

    • http://gamerstherapy.wordpress.com Vitosal

      lol nice :-)

    • http://johnheatz.wordpress.com johnheatz

      hahahahahahahaha!!! That shouldn’t be hard at all :p

  • http://drakulus23.wordpress.com drakulus23

    Lmao. It’s turned into Comedy Central here. Seriously though i’m excited about this. This is a lifelong dream of mine and I really want to make it happen. I should have a article on it tomorrow morning :].

  • pezzi di ricambio volkswagen

    Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess
    I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.

    Do you have any points for rookie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    • http://johnheatz.wordpress.com johnheatz

      When it comes to blogging…separate enough time to keep your blog active, that’s the best thing to do, as well, depending on what you write, do a proper research (because you don’t want to end like The Sun, do you?), and always be yourself, use your own words, not others’ words

  • http://keepongeekin.wordpress.com Aleexii

    Reblogged this on Keep on Geekin'.

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