Looking for a generous freelancer


Before I launch into my spiel, let me state that I cleared this post with Tom. I don’t like people spamming my forums and I wouldn’t want to spam here.

The situation is this: I have a code to download a legal copy of BattleForge, the recent RTS release from Electronic Arts. I need someone with familiarity with the genre, interest in the game and no particular bias against Electronic Arts who is willing to review the game.

Normally, I would offer a reviewer the physical copy of the game as the incentive. That’s how it typically goes when someone freelances for HonestGamers and it’s a system that writers seem to appreciate. In this particular case, I obviously can’t do that and unfortunately I don’t have money to pay anyone out of pocket. If you’re interested–and I certainly recognize that many of you may not be–then I’d need you to do it just because the game interests you or because you want to test the HonestGamers freelancing waters.

Why am I posting here instead of having one of my regular freelancers cover it, you ask? Though I do have a strong team, our resident RTS guy had other obligations and interests and wasn’t up for the job. Other regular writers don’t have the hardware or familiarity with the genre (though we’d like to expand, we’re primarily a console-centric site at present). I don’t have a computer that’ll run the game and I’m spectacularly bad at most RTS games, anyway. So if one of you can cover it for me, that would be great. You’d need to register for a free account on my site so that the review can be posted when ready, plus you’d need to post your finished draft for me to review in case any revisions are necessary. I’d like to see some samples of other work that you’ve done online before I assign the game to you. Even though I can’t pay, I want a quality effort or we’ll just have to forego running a review at all. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that!

Thanks for looking over this post, and I hope to hear from some of you if you’re interested in the BattleForge assignment, or if you’re interested in joining our freelance mailing list to hear about possible freelance opportunities down the road. You can check out full details at http://www.honestgamers.com/staff/index.php or you can contact me here by private message. You can also reach me by e-mail (jason[at_sign]honestgamers{-dot-}com) or by AIM if I happen to be online (jasonventer).

Thanks again!


Can I review the game in images?

I’d do it!

Here is an example of my style. Let me know what you think.

Sent you a PM.

hahaha! Can’t for your review!

“Fear and loathing in BattleForge”

KarolinPosh live

I wouldn’t let Bill review it unless you are really enamored with scrotal humor.

You say that like it’s a bad thing!

Am I wrong in assuming that most of us would pay a website to allow Bill to review games?

omg this

I’d pay a couple bucks for an Adree review. I have a feeling it’d be pretty incredible.

Could we get… both of them to do a review?

Adree is like Howard Stern’s sound guy who has all those appropriate sound clips to pull up at just the right moment.

I’m up for that.

Thank you for your responses, folks! Bill, I’m afraid that even after reading your entertaining writing sample, I’m going to have to decline your generous offer. It doesn’t quite fit what I’m looking for, which I’m sure is a huge surprise to everyone but there you have it. If anyone else is interested in the assignment, by the way, please feel free to let me know in the manner indicated in the first post. I’ll be considering all serious responses soon and will get in touch with any who (seriously) respond one way or the other within the next few days.

If you’re good at something, never do it for free.

BillD’s posts will now be on a pay-per-view model.

I thought the only way to get into video game “journalism” was to start working for free.

You’re back? Please go away again.

Harley’s apparent perspective–that you shouldn’t produce professional-level writing for someone if you’re truly talented unless they’re paying you–hasn’t always hold true in my experience. Most people who write about games do get their start without so much as a free download for compensation (much less a free download of a recent release that otherwise would cost them significant money to legally obtain). Even so, I would also say that it’s wrong to suppose that you have no choice but to contribute reviews to site for free until you get “a start.”

I’ve some freelancing of my own. I’ve done it both for pay and for free copies of the games, or sometimes for a mixture of both depending on the outlet. The best outlets will want to see samples of your work before they consider you for assignments. That’s natural, since they’re taking a chance with you and trusting that you won’t: 1) run off with the game; 2) write a horrible draft that will undermine their reputation; 3) turn in something that misses the point so badly as to be useless without significant revision.

Because the standard is to have some sort of body of work and generally a history of working professionally with previous editors, it’s easiest if you have a place online to point them to (such as HonestGamers). It’s certainly not a requirement, though. Editors also tend to accept documents attached to e-mail and good writing always speaks for itself. Still, you’re not really paid for those writing samples. Ultimately, you are writing something for free no matter how you look at it. You’re just not letting some other site benefit from that effort and you’re not necessarily getting wide exposure as quickly.

I’m making this particular request because I am in a tight spot and I’m hoping that a skilled writer will choose to write for me even though the only compensation I can provide in this instance is a free game download. I recognize that as payment, that’s only just above writing for free. Whoever accepts and receives the assignment will be doing me a favor, not the other way around. I may be in a position to repay that favor down the line and I may not. There’s a better than even chance that the latter will be the case.

There are several people who freelance for me on a regular basis and are quite pleased with the games that they are supplied to cover. A free $60 game doesn’t compare to the $100 or $200 that some of the larger outlets might pay a freelancer for a review, but it’s also nothing to sniff at if the game in question is one you would otherwise have paid to purchase. Another handy fact is that you don’t have to live in a specific region (such as California) to complete the assignment and possibly work with the site in in the future. Remember that none of the many people involved in the freelancing business are in it just to make money. Most freelancers who have been at it for awhile could almost certainly make a better living doing something else in a different industry. We’re freelancers writing about games because we love games them and–in the case of anyone who is a good candidate for writing for a review-centric site like HonestGamers–we love writing. Nothing would please me more than to be able to pay writers for reviews and with any luck, someday I’ll be able to. Right now, though, my site doesn’t have the ad revenue to make that possible. It’s the position of most indie sites trying to compete with the IGNs, GameSpots and UGOs of the modern Internet.

I feel that my site has a lot of non-monetary benefits for serious gamers and writers, including a close-knit community that regularly dissects the art of writing a good review and just as frequently enables writers to improve. I hope that some of you will decide to look into that before dismissing my request and I hope that some of you will find that HonestGamers offers a writing environment you can appreciate. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to be paid for their talent. I fully appreciate that stance and rarely contribute to an outlet myself unless I’m being paid. I’ve made exceptions in the past, though, and I likely will again if the situation is right.

Thanks for your understanding, or for your constructive and spirited discussion if you totally disagree with my stance.