For a first time audio writer, getting started is almost always by invitation from another audio writer. For example, I got started writing for 6Moons because my good friend Stephaen Harrell – a 6Moons reviewer (and former TAS writer) – recommended me for an audition to 6Moons’ owner Srajan Ebaen. Srajan gave me a chance to write an article for 6Moons, and it was deemed good enough that I got the opportunity to write more articles – simple as that.
In similar fashion, when I became established as a writer for 6Moons, a reader – Michael Lavorgna – started corresponding with me about all things Hi-Fi. I liked what he had to say, and how he said it, so I recommended him to Srajan for an audition as a writer, and so Michael began to write for 6Moons. That’s how it works for most folks who get involved with writing about audio.
After you get established as a writer and have developed a reasonable sized portfolio of articles – along with a little name recognition – it’s fairly easy to move laterally among the audio magazines.
So what sort of things makes you recommendable for an audition as an audio writer? First, you must be able to write an article that is both informative and entertaining to read. It really helps to enjoy the writing process, because you’ll be doing a lot of it, and it’s time consuming – it’s really hard work!
I should also mention that you must be the sort of individual that can be trusted to deal responsibly with manufacturers, other members of the audio community, and the public. Your behavior not only reflects on you, but those you are associated with, so impeccable behavior towards those you deal with is mandatory to maintain the good reputation of those you are writing for.
So you’re saying, “I love Hi-Fi, music, and writing. I’m an honest person with integrity – I’m set!” Well there is one more thing I suppose I should mention: Most audio writers get paid hardly anything – if anything at all – for their writing efforts. You pretty much have to do it for the love of the hobby, because the amount of recompense for your efforts will be trivial.
When I wrote for 6Moons, Srajan paid me exactly nothing for my articles, articles that took lots of hours to research and write. That’s not to say Srajan’s a bad guy, or a tightwad, and it’s not a dig at him, or anything like that. In fact Srajan’s a good guy, he’s running 6Moons on a shoestring budget, he works his ass off to make 6Moons work, and he just can’t afford to pay the writers. Srajan’s just hoping to pay his own rent and put food on the table for himself and his wife Evette, but he’ll let you participate in the fun if you can write a decent article, and personally, I think it was worth every minute I spent slaving over the keyboard.
Dave and David, the cool guys behind Positive Feedback Online, pay me a small amount per article, enough to buy a new record or two, or a decent bottle of wine, but it’s mostly a kindness on their part to acknowledge my efforts. So that’s how it is as an audio writer, you don’t write about audio for the money, it’s about the love of the Hi-Fi hobby.
In fact writing about audio will probably cost you a whole bunch of your hard earned money, because you’ll be sorely tempted to buy that review gear that really gets the music right. Trust me, you will not be able to resist the temptation!
Ok that’s it for now, and next time we’ll dive into the deep end and explore the inner workings of reviewing.