Hello. This is the page all about writing freelance for Buried Treasure.
Let me begin by saying this is only possible thanks to the extraordinary generosity of a mysterious individual, who is helping fund freelance work on this site. I am so utterly grateful to them, and am immensely looking forward to passing that money on to others!
My goal with this site is entirely about writing about games that are receiving little or no coverage elsewhere. So it’s always made sense to me that if I manage to grow it, it could become a place that also offers work to freelancers who’ve had little or no paid work elsewhere. I want Buried Treasure to be a springboard for new voices in this industry, with fresh perspectives, different approaches, and damned fine writing.
Buried Treasure is a weeny little site compared to the big girls and boys in this industry. Writing here is not going to expose you to the vast masses like a gig on Kotaku or PC Gamer might. But it IS paid and published work, which can then be used as a solid example of your previously published writing when applying to those big boys and girls. And that can really make a difference. An editor is more likely to pay attention to you if they see another editor somewhere else already did.
One of my favourite things to do in this industry is work with newer writers to help them develop their voices. It always makes me smile when I see a name getting a prominent new gig and remembering when I first helped them tidy up their spec piece for their first staff writer position. I want to do that more!
Thanks to the amazing generosity of our cloaked hero, I have the budget to commission one full-length feature a month.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
I really want to focus on people who’ve never had a paid gig, or perhaps a very few insultingly badly paid gigs. That is to say, if sites offering “exposure” have taken advantage of you, you’re very welcome. But if you’re a regular freelancer, or have already done the rounds of getting a piece on each site once, please leave my inbox clear for those who haven’t.
Oh, and you should have an inkling you can write. You don’t need to think you’re great, because goodness knows, no decent writer does. But be able to string a sentence together. I pride myself in being able to spot that spark, that extra magic something, in someone’s writing. That’s what I’m looking for, but you don’t need to know you have it.
Please don’t hold yourself back from applying if you think you’re “not the right fit”. There is no right fit. I’m especially excited to hear from you if you believe your voice represents an un- or under-heard group.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
You should write a very short email saying who you are, what experience (if any) you have (and remember, none is ideal, some is fine, lots is unwanted), and (so incredibly briefly) what sorts of things you’d be interested in writing. Reviews is fine, but also I’ve got that pretty well covered. Some fascinating angles on unknown games or developers, or unheard voices in gaming, would make my day.
And then, because this doesn’t work without it, attach/link a 300 word (max) writing sample about anything. I mean that. It could be about a trip to the shops, your cat’s teeth, a favourite game, anything. I’m looking for talent here.
Email, with your sample attached/linked (whether that’s a .doc or a link to a Gdoc (or what have you), firstname.lastname@example.org, with the word “FREELANCE” in the subject line. Please put the word “FREELANCE” in the subject line, or you absolutely definitely won’t get read. I’m going to use a filter, you see.
(Top tip: there are some very clear instructions in the paragraphs above. In my experience at least 50% of those emailing will ignore them. They too will be ignored. Don’t be ignored.)
OH YES, HOW MUCH?
Since the beginning of Buried Treasure, I’ve made naming the figures publicly a core part of how I’m running things. So the same here too.
I will be paying £50 for 500 word pieces, £100 for 1,000 word pieces. These are, to be abundantly clear, not top rate prices. But they’re good. A lot higher than some of the big name sites will pay, horrifying though that is. For comparison, RPS currently pays an excellent £200 for 1,000 word features, but they’re owned by an evil megacorp. I’m just me.
I currently have the budget for one £100 feature a month (or two £50 ones, maths fans). Hey, we’re a tiny site!
My hope is that, alongside being some welcome cash, it will provide further opportunities for writers looking to get paid work elsewhere. A link for a resume, published on a site that people take seriously. Plus, if I may be so grotesquely immodest, some one-on-one time with an expert in the industry. [Straightens imaginary tie.]
Whom I pick is entirely up to my discretion. I’m not offering anyone a job here. This is in no sense employment. This is about being offered a (likely) one-off paid freelance gig, with no further commitment.
If this goes well, I won’t be able to reply to everyone to say a “no thanks”. I’m sorry, I’ve been the person on the end of no replies, and it sucks. But it’s how it has to be.
In order to have things in order, you will need to be registered self employed/sole trader, or be a ltd company. The former is easy-peasy to do. The latter is concerningly easy too. You can do either while full-time employed elsewhere. (UK details here.) This won’t affect me, I’ll have no means of checking, but it will affect you when you come to declaring the income for tax later. I will require you to invoice me before I can pay you.
The writing will need to be in English. Would that I could speak many other languages, but I cannot, and this site is written in English. Clearly I want to hear from people all around the world, and it matters not at all that English is not your first language, but good written English is a necessity.
I will expect people to be ready and willing to write a second, third, etc draft of their commissioned articles, working alongside my notes to fine-tune pieces into delightful reads. We will use Gdocs to do this. It will be extremely constructive.
If a commissioned piece goes disastrously wrong, and never reaches a point that’s fit to publish, I’ll pay a 50% “kill fee” for your time. I have never had to do this in my career, and hope never to.
PERFECTLY LONG, DID READ
To sum up: If you’re an unpublished or unpaid writer, I want to hear from you. I want to hear your pitches for fascinating features about unknown games, or unheard voices, and I want you to email me as directed above.
You will be paid for your writing, and we will work together to craft your writing into the best possible article.
I’m excited about this!