Celebration post for my 200th Review! Please ask questions about the process or anything regarding becoming a reviewer. (Warning very long post!)
This is mainly going to be for me but will include plenty of information for new reviewers and how to get started. I’m treating this as more so a celebration post than anything else but will give information about many outlets. Sorry for any grammar issues as this was written in a few sittings and I just wanted to get some things out.
200 reviews in less than a year… Aug. 23rd is the day I started with Disgaea 5.
It is strange to think that a year ago I would be doing this. My first email ever was to Thomas Altenburger or you may know him for making NeuroVoider. That wasn’t my first review though, I published three reviews on my website before sending out that email. At the time I would spend everyday either on the Amiibo or Nintendo Switch Subreddits. I like writing reviews and thought why not one day and started my own website. One thing to know is Subreddits are ruthless but so is most of the internet they will be quick to give you backlash no matter how you feel. If you make a grammar mistake, they will quickly respond back. It will take time to get better at writing but with each review you will tweak things, improve, and gather some friends.
The first rule for doing this is don’t worry about having a plan and make sure you are enjoying it. You can plan later how you want to take things but first you must know if you enjoy doing this sort of work. You will be sending a lot of emails… at this very moment I have sent out 396 emails and this doesn’t include replies from them or replies I sent them. I can’t go through every single email but considering I am at 396 and only 200 reviews. It means that around 50% or more denied me a review copy. This may seem like a bad thing but it isn’t. That means PR is doing their job in checking websites, social media, and not handing out keys to people who seek to misuse them. You may feel angry as I do from time to time for not getting a response but remember if you are a incredibly small outlet emailing them…. Then dozens to hundreds of other small outlets are emailing them as well. Even though I have sent out 396 emails that actually isn’t the real number I’ve sent out. Many of these I would just reply with my review and request another game. So the number is likely slightly higher but besides that are websites to request review copies.
There are websites dedicated to applying for a review copy. Many of these are hit or miss but mostly miss. Keymailer is my go to since it doesn’t require a crazy amount of things to join them. The downside is many and I mean more than 75% of requests will either be denied or overlooked. Currently looking at Keymailer I have applied for 84 games…. 58 have been unanswered from my requests, 8 have been denied, and 18 have been approved. So around 20% of my requests lead to me receiving a review copy. That’s not great to be honest but some of these games are as high profile as Resident Evil Revelations. The only two companies that is on their A game about responding is Sometimes You and PQube. Sometimes You always allows me to review their games… looking at it now the majority of those 18 games are from them. PQube on the other hand are the fastest to deny me so great job on the PQube PR for not allowing requests to build up. I’m sure they get a ton of requests since they published games like BlazBlue.
Another way of obtaining review copies is by joining a PressXtra website but you have more luck winning the lottery than getting a review copy from them. Those websites are used by companies like Capcom and Ubisoft and I’ve been denied 100% across all of them. The final way that I know is Terminals and they require you to be somewhat rough requirement if you are starting out which is 500+ subs or followers. Having a year so far has resulted in a little under 300 followers on Twitter. So unless you are really forcing people to follower it will likely take you a little over a year. The other issue is you have to host your own domain… which requires money. If you are just starting out it is better to wait until both your YouTuber and Follower counts are above 500 to then get a domain. Before that is a waste of money since you aren’t really making a difference.
I typically send an email out to every single developer or publisher for review copies. Many people tell me why are you emailing all of them, why not only the ones you want. I am the go to guy for email addresses since I have a pattern of emailing them early so people know to ask me for a contact email. The sad truth is many of these small indie games will never get a chance to shine in the spotlight. Being a small outlet means you can try out these small titles and find a diamond in the rough. Most games are going to be average to bad sadly but remember you aren’t a person in a position to complain about it. When you are first starting out you have no impact on who sees your review or making a dent in sales due to your review. The majority of your work is because you love playing games and want to share that experience with others. No matter what you do always thank the person emailing you back and never forget to follow up with people. The instant you post the review let them know, tag them on Twitter posts, emailing them with the Twitter post, link to the review, Youtube video, and Reddit link. Make sure to let them know that you did it and you are grateful for allowing you to review the game.
The next big thing to talk about is social media presence… without it you are going nowhere fast. Create a Gmail dedicated to your website, Twitter, YouTube, Discord, Twitch, and Reddit accounts. These are your bread and butter without these you will gain zero traction and have no way of informing developers and publishers that you are for real. Your email is obvious as it will be displayed on your website as a method to contact you directly. Your email on your website will also inform others if someone tries to take review copies under your email. Twitter will be where you can follow people, socialize, get to know people, and overall make connections with people. YouTube is where hopefully you are producing something as written reviews are nice but forking over some money for a capture card will benefit you in the long run. Discord is just another way of being part of groups. Twitch is for your streams and using those you can easily record gameplay and post them on your YouTube channel. Finally Reddit… personally my favorite outlet. I use Reddit to post my reviews, interact with people that like the same things I like and inform people about upcoming things. I’ve been using Reddit for 6 years from Dota to Amiibo to now Nintendo Subreddits. I get the majority of my feedback from these people as well and I always enjoy it.
The more social you are, the more likely you will obtain review copies. Many big titles I didn’t think I would be able to review I ended up reviewing. NIS America has been a great supporter for me. Funny enough NIS America is one of my favorite companies with the Danganronpa and Disgaea series. Receiving that response email months ago now was a dream come true since I always look forward to their games. Even if I don’t become a big deal in the future knowing that someone at NIS America knows who I am and supports me is amazing. Another big title that I never thought I would cover is SteamWorld Dig 2 to me this was a big deal. This was the first big title that I received and one that I still think is a big milestone for my website.
Many people neglect to interact with developers, publishers, or other media outlets. Another thing to understand is just because you are denied a review copy, doesn’t mean you should never try again. Originally I was denied review copies from NIS America but after several requests… there it was, an email with a code attached. Remember that if you are denied and you eventually purchase that game, review it, and send them a reply email with it attached. It will let them know that even though you were denied you supported the game and wanted to show that support. The next time around when you ask for a review copy things might play out a bit differently or you could get denied again. Depending on the PR in charge they could be taking notes on your reviews. I know for if I miss a review or it is late
The biggest take away from this post is if you want to start becoming a reviewer…. Just do it. If you have the time and willing to put in the effort than take a chance. Keep in mind that this is all for you, not for the money, not for the fame, and definitely not for the money. Have to say that twice since getting the games is the payment, outside of that I’ve made exactly $2. I would have made more but missed opportunities to join with other websites. Some of these websites I would love to join one day but for now I do it for myself. I don’t plan on becoming a huge YouTuber or reviewer but if opportunities come I will take that leap. I enjoy playing video games and sharing my opinions with people like you and hopefully this answers some of your questions. If you have more just reply and I’ll answer as quickly as possible.