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Marketing for Wall Flowers
Serious Business

Hustle, hustle, hustle. June is the month where the UK Tabletop industry doubles down on the “industry”, puts on its best suit, prints up new business cards, and shakes a bunch of hands. It’s UK Games Expo month, you see. Seeing what everyone else has been working on this year has a way of lighting a fire under all our bottoms. We all come away a little more ambitious than we go in. Even small timers like myself are not immune.

This year I was pretty busy at the con. I worked the TIN stall Saturday, then did my first panel in the evening. Then on Sunday I helped out on Three Sails Studios’ stall demoing their upcoming ecology and exploration TTRPG, Mappa Mundi. All of this was great fun and much less stressful than constantly promoting my own games. Speaking of which…

A young girl with turquoise hair is in the centre of the frame, looking down. Behind here is a retro television and arcade game in bright shades of pink and orange. Behind those are dark walls and floating hearts. The title test on the image says Jude's World.

The marketing for Jude’s World won’t do itself, so this is where I plug. In case you’re new here (hi) I’ve been developing a solo, tarot-based TTRPG about a plucky preteen who is striving to reunite their separated parents. It’s a coming of age story about the complexities of love in all its forms, and works as both an homage to and critique of Parent Trap-style narratives. If that all sounds intriguing please step this way and follow my Kickstarter prelaunch page to be among the first to know when the campaign goes live later this summer.

I know, I know. Clicking links is a bore. Pressing buttons is played out. And I surely will remind you when the campaign is live anyway. But marketing 101: big numbers are good. Every follow goes towards generating a buzz of enthusiasm around the game and to a small creator like me this is a big deal (and greatly appreciated!)

Development Diary: Jude's World, Part 9

A bit of a change of pace for the diary this time as I’ve mostly been doing the marketing bit. Reaching out to streamer and podcaster friends. Posting on social media, slotting in my marketing copy among other people’s much more salient posts about the appalling state of said networks. Emailing journalists who are far too stressed by the state of their own industry to entertain my pleas for coverage.

Marketing is inescapably part of the cycle if you’re making a game you want other people to see. I am no expert at this, but this isn’t my first rodeo. It is, in fact, my second. I do feel a little more confident this time out, so I figured I’d share some thoughts.

One lesson that I’m trying to apply: self doubt is for the development stage. Leave it there. When it comes to selling your work you have to be willing to say out loud to people: “This is a good game. You should buy it from me.” If you’re putting the work in to ensure that this is true then this shouldn’t be hard, but it is. Although it does get easier the more you try.

I think we worry that people will catch us out and say “Lies! I’ve read your work and it’s terrible!” But from what I’ve observed that only really happens to very successful, big-name game designers. Even in the very unlikely case that it does happen to a small creator, well, those people weren’t going to buy your stuff anyway. Best to thank the haters for their time and then go talk to someone with better taste and/or manners.

One other related tidbit I’m striving to live by: don’t take the reception to your marketing efforts personally. Don’t worry about looking silly because no one liked your post. Just try things and see what works. It’s a numbers game. And the good news is other people generally aren’t thinking about you that much.

That last bit is just some life advice my mother once gave me. Sounds harsh (thanks, mum) but it’s pretty soothing once you let it sink in.

Thanks for reading!

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