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8

How to pitch an article to Rock Paper Shotgun

A thing you should definitely do

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Hello! We regularly receive pitches from freelance writers. Many of these pitches are excellent, many of them are bad, and many more forget to include the article idea and just yell at us at length for stopping them from ad blocking on the site.

If you’re interested in pitching an article of your very own to us, read on, as we’re about to explain how to be in the first category of people. This page explains where and how to pitch, outlines our current freelance rates, and makes it extra easy for you by explaining the kinds of articles we’re currently looking for.

Where to send your pitch

We currently have three commissioning editors:

You can send your pitch to any or all of those people; they’ll confer and make the decision together anyway. Those links go straight to their email addresses, by the way.

What to include in your pitch

  • Start the subject with “Pitch: “, followed by a summary of your article idea. For example: “Pitch: Why Baldur’s Gate XIII-2 was the best in the series” or “Pitch: Hyper Light Drifter ate my dog”.
  • Start with an introduction of who you are, if we haven’t worked with you much or at all.
  • Explain your article idea in a couple of paragraphs. If you can’t summarise your topic or argument in that amount of space, you might need to focus your idea more. Also consider including a proposed headline.
  • Include links to writing samples, if we haven’t worked with you much or at all. It doesn’t matter if those writing samples are on a major website or your own blog, but we do need a demonstration of your writing ability if we’re to feel comfortable commissioning you.

Things not to include:

  • Don’t write the article speculatively and send it to us in full before commission. We might say no, in which case you’ve worked for nothing, and we might have direction that would necessitate the total rewrite of the article anyway.
  • Don’t send a description of the article idea that is as long as the article.
  • Don’t say you’d let us run it for free: we pay for everything we publish.
  • Don’t pitch us articles about things that aren’t PC games.
  • Don’t send us a copy-pasted pitch that you’ve sent to every gaming site you know. We can tell, and it normally means you’re sending us something we’d never commission.

What we pay

Our standard article rate is £200 for an article in the region of 1000-1500 words. This covers most features, reviews, etc.

We occasionally adjust the rate according to the amount of work the article requires. Reviewing a particularly long game or interviewing multiple subjects might warrant £250, while an exceptionally short game might warrant us to offer £150 or £175. We’ll discuss this with you to agree on a rate. For Joy Of articles, which are not more than 500 words, we pay £60.

It also doesn’t matter to us where in the world you’re based: we work with writers all over the world, and the agreed fee is simply converted to your local currency using the conversion rates at the time.

What we’re currently looking for

What’s below is a list of some article types we currently need. It is not an exhaustive list of every kind of article we’ll accept. Often our favourite pitches are for wild, one-off ideas we would never have thought of, so if what you most want to write doesn’t fit the below, don’t fret. Use the advice above and send it anyway.

With that said, sending ideas of these types will increase your chances of us buying your pitch.

Community reports
We can’t cover every PC game ourselves, and we particularly need help with games that receive regular updates and have active communities. Do you have a story about an exciting thing developers or players are doing with games like The Sims, GTA Online, Fortnite, Elite Dangerous, or anything else? We want to hear it. For example: What’s it like being the editor of a newspaper in EVE Online?, The biggest theft in EVE history.

Interview-led features
We’re not interested in straight Q&A transcripts, and we’re not particularly interested in ‘making of’ features. We are interested in articles that explain elements of the industry via research and chats with interview subjects. For example: A good snowman is hard to build.

Reviewers

We don’t accept pitches to review specific games. Instead, we assign games to people ourselves, based on what we know about the game and the individual writer’s expertise. However: you can let us know that you’re available to review games, and we currently need more people in our freelance reviewer pool. Send us links to writing samples, what genres you feel experienced in to review, and we can consider you whenever we’re looking to place games with writers.

Lists

Lists are often scorned, but they can be helpful to people who don’t have time to keep up with games 24/7, and they can also be a lark. We don’t commission many but we like both kind of list if there’s something special about them. For example: 7 games that need a Geralt cameo, with original illustrations, or Civic Beauties: The best upcoming city-builders.

Spawn Point
Spawn Point is our irregular series of articles designed to usher new players into series or genres that they might have missed with helpful advice for where and how to begin. It has a specific style and format, but if you’re an expert in something and think you can help others experience it, this is how to do it. For example: the best JRPGs for beginners, What you need to know about Destiny.

Don’t see what you want to write on this list? As above: these are suggestions for things we need more of right now, not the only things we’ll commission. Don’t see your question answered here? Email one of the people mentioned near the top of this article and ask – we’re happy to help.

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Who am I?

Graham Smith

Editor-in-chief

Graham is to blame for all this.

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