Getting a freelance game writing gig isn’t the same as putting on a tidy suit and strutting in for a job interview. You have to convince the video game publication that you’re the right person for the job in under 300 words. Good thing you’re a writer and this kind of thing comes naturally to you!
The most basic element of getting a freelance game writing job is the query letter, which is roughly the same as a resume cover letter. Writers have used them for years to sell their talent and educate editors as to why they’re the perfect fit for the gig being advertised. Now that you’re hopping into this world, it’s time to write a good query letter.
Query letters are like a directed resume rolled into an interview. They can be tricky, as not only do you have to push your accomplishments while skating over your shortcomings, you also have to cater your words to your editor so you don’t come off as a no-talent creep. Show some confidence, but avoid arrogance. List your greatest achievements but leave out the lesser ones. Create a short but punchy text that’s easy to digest and can be scanned over in three or four seconds. That’s all the time you have to impress the hiring editor, so use it well.
Freelance query letters should always include:
- Brief opening paragraph summarizing yourself, your career experience and your intentions.
- List of relevant publications you’ve worked for, starting with the most recent.
- Link to any special articles you’ve written. Show off related content you feel is your best work.
- Link to your resume.
- Sign off and include your contact information.
Freelance query letters should NEVER
- Be a few sentences long and say something like “I think I’m a good fit for this job”. Tell them why you’re a good fit!
- Have a weak opening line like “I might not be a good fit for this position…”. If you aren’t, don’t bother e-mailing.
- Include the phrase “e-mail me if you want more information”. The purpose of a cover letter is to provide that information!
- Attachments or anything else the job ad didn’t specifically request.
- More than 350 words.
Only a few of your query letters will lead to new game writing gigs, that’s just the way it is. Keep plugging away, carving out a sleek and attractive query letter that’s sure to impress.
More about applying to freelance writing jobs: