Best PC games New PC games 2020 Best graphics card 2020 Best free PC games Minecraft Dungeons secrets Warzone Bunker locations (including Bunker 11!)

8

How to pitch an article to Rock Paper Shotgun

A thing you should definitely do

Featured post

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 two 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: Gears Tactics ate my dog”.
  • Start with an introduction of who you are, giving a sense of your experience in a sentence or two 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 ability to write the kind of work we publish if we’re to feel comfortable commissioning you. Keep in mind that the best samples will be representative of what we commission: 150 word Steam reviews or 16,000 word academic papers don’t help us to assess your ability to write RPS.

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.
  • Don’t send us a pitch that includes a variation on the phrase, “I know you said not to do this in your ‘how to pitch’ post, but…”.

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 will endeavour to adjust the rate fairly 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 £125 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.

In-depth and expert coverage on big games
Do you rush to play each new Path Of Exile expansion? Are you deep into the latest Minecraft mod craze? Is no day complete for you until you’ve played a few rounds of Magic Arena? Then you should consider pitching stories about those games to us. We want to write about patches, updates, expansions and DLC packs. We want analysis of the latest meta, and recommendations of the newest mods. We want the kinds of informed opinions you can only have when you truly know a game. And we want reporting on the community that loves these games is doing, whether it’s complaining, dressing up, collecting gifs, or playing in new and fascinating ways. If it’s a popular game, and you’re an expert, then we want to hear from you – and if you’re good, we’ll probably want you to write about the game for us for months or years to come.

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.

What we’re not currently looking for

Fundamentally, we believe that all kinds of games writing are valid. That said, we’re unlikely to use our limited freelance budget for certain kinds of articles.

Coronavirus related articles that aren’t reporting
If you want to report on the way sports have been replaced with digital equivalents and interview some F1 race car drivers, then we’re all ears. If you want to interview a particular development studio about how they’ve accommodating game creation with a team of suddenly remote workers, then that might work, too. What we don’t want are articles in the form of, “Good game more good in lockdown,” or “Game about virus, now world about virus. Mak u think?” Neither is particularly insightful – about the games or the world – but we have received roughly one million pitches in this format over the past couple of months. No more, please.

Op-eds, generally
If you have a unique perspective, unique expertise, and a timely take about a big game or evergreen issue, then yes, we might be interested. However, op-eds currently form the vast majority of the pitches we receive, and we say no to almost all of them because they fail to meet any one of those criteria. Think of it like this: if your article can only be written if you interview other people, or because you have played a game for a hundred hours, then you stand a better chance of us commissioning you.

Reviews, or articles on short games
Reviews: we choose what we want to cover and assign them to writers ourselves, and so tend not to need pitches. As for short games: if it’s something we can play and write about ourselves in 3-5 hours, then probably we’d do it ourselves. We commission freelance writers to cover things we cannot because they are prohibitively time-consuming or to fill gaps in the knowledge of our team, and short games, a lot of indie games, most art games, are not that.

Don’t see what you want to write on the what we want list? As mentioned, these are suggestions for things we need more of right now, not the only things we’ll commission. See what what you want to write on our ‘what we don’t want’ list? Then think again and find a different idea – or pitch it anyway, if you think your idea is so good we should make an exception. 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.

Tagged with , .

If you click our links to online stores and make a purchase we may receive a few pennies. Find more information here.

Who am I?

Graham Smith

Editor-in-chief

Graham is to blame for all this.

More by me

Support RPS and get an ad-free site, extra articles, and free stuff! Tell me more
Please enable Javascript to view comments.

Comments are now closed. Go have a lie down, Internet.

Advertisement