Do you aspire to be a writer? Do you also like video games? Then read on, friend, because we’d very much like to hear from you.
Here at Thumbsticks, we’re always looking for fantastic writers to join the team. Our door is always open, if you want to holler at us about joining the crew.
You don’t even have to be experienced. Obviously it’s great if you are, but everyone has to start somewhere. You may never have had a piece published before. You might be hunting for your first gig. None of that really matters. One of the core aims of Thumbsticks is to offer opportunities to new voices, to give people a start in this industry with a supportive team around them.
We’re also particularly keen to hear from more diverse voices. Nearly every single feature pitch or reviewer application we receive is from a white guy in his early twenties, and while there’s nothing wrong with white guys in their early twenties, there’s so much more to the video game landscape than that one demographic. We don’t believe that stereotype is true, at all, and if you’re uncertain about applying for whatever reason, then we encourage you to give it a go! We’d love to hear from you, and we’re happy to talk it through if you have any questions or doubts.
The one thing we ask, however, is that you think seriously about whether you aspire to be a writer.
If you think that writing about video games is just about getting free stuff, you’re very much mistaken. There is some of that, but if that’s all you’re in it for, then you’re going to be disappointed. You’ll spend more time writing about games than you will actually playing them, and if you’re not down with the writing part, then we promise, you’ll hate every second of it.
If you think simply having an opinion on video games is in itself a justification for writing about them, then again, you’re mistaken. Video game criticism has come a long way from the early days of percentage scores for graphics, sound, and longevity. If you’re not able to engage with the discourse in a more nuanced way, then you’ll probably be happier writing reviews on Steam.
And if you’re one of those people – and believe me, we get a lot more of these sorts of applications than you might expect – who think that video game journalists are the problem, and only their honest, bare-faced, brutal opinion is going to save this industry? Then you’re probably better starting a shouty vlog on YouTube instead. You’re really not what we’re looking for.
It shouldn’t need stating twice, really, but we’re looking for writers. People who love the written word and expressing themselves creatively should definitely apply. It’s far easier for a strong writer to develop their love for video games, than it is for us to try and teach a gamer (with zero interest in writing or being a writer) about the craft.
So if you want to be a writer, and you’re also into video games? Then we’d love to hear from you.
Video game news writers
The news desk isn’t the most glamorous part of writing, but it’s a vital role and a great proving ground. You’ll need to work quickly and accurately, and with a degree of autonomy, to produce news copy up to our usual standard. Experience with WordPress or other content management systems is useful, but not essential.
Unlike lots of other outlets, we don’t impose quotas or set shift patterns; we just ask that you contribute what you can, when you can. As a result, this would be an ideal opportunity for people looking to get their start as a writer, and would suit students, graduates, part-time workers, and freelancers with time available.
Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org introducing yourself, and explain why you think you’d be a great news writer and addition to our team. If you don’t have any published clips that’s not an issue; please write a short sample news story (in the house style, 200-400 words) to give us a flavour of your writing ability.
Video game reviewers
We always get more review codes than we know what to do with. We have a small in-house team, and can never get through all of the review copies we receive.
If you’d like to review games for Thumbsticks – and keeping in mind what we said above, around your writing aspirations and motivation for wanting to become a reviewer – then we’d love to hear from you. We maintain a list of reviewers and codes are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Drop an email to email@example.com introducing yourself, and explain why you think you’d be an asset to our review team. If you don’t have any published clips that’s not an issue; please write a short review (in the house style, 600-800 words) to give us a flavour of your writing ability. If you write about a game we’ve not yet covered, and we love it, we might want to use it on the site.
Please also let us know what platforms you can review on, and in what regions, as this can have a bearing on what codes we have available.
Video game feature writers
We’re always open to feature pitches. Head on over to the ‘write for us‘ page for more specific guidelines on what we’re looking for, how to pitch, and what the process will look like.
One small tip, however: please try and be original! We’ve had enough pitches about Dark Souls and ludonarrative dissonance to last us a thousand lifetimes. Please, we beg of you, come up with something new and interesting to say, and different ways to say it.
If you still think any of that sounds appealing, then get in touch. We’ll have a chat about your aspirations, and if we think you’d be a good fit for the team (and vice versa) then we’ll send you over some style guides and get you started.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you, and remember: diverse voices are encouraged to get in touch.
We have a favour to ask
Thumbsticks has a couple of main aims. We want to write interesting articles and cover games that most outlets won't, and we want to give opportunities to new writers and new voices. And right now, with the current state of online publishing? It's tough! We hate to ask, but if you want us to continue writing what others won't, or to keep covering weird indie games, or to be able to give opportunities to new writers – and only if you can afford it – then please consider supporting us on Patreon.
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