Exposure as an indie game dev – Guerilla style
I’ve said in the past that I don’t like “top ten things to do to get people to talk about your games” kind of lists as I’ve found that most of the time those are simply empty shells that are meaningless without the perfect combination of luck, contact, time, renown and such. The more you read those the more you simply note that you already knew all this stuff and that you even probably did exactly as told before even reading them.
Since I’m human and humans are full of contradictions I’ll participate to the state of being human by sharing some tips that will most likely not work for you but that worked for me to some degree or that I’ve seen work for others.
The typical advice list changed not much for me so far. So what do you do when everything you’ve been told seems to not work? You try new ones. I know that not everything here will please everyone and I’m not using all those methods either. This is simply some of the tricks I’ve seen and used to start to exist somehow. I don’t like all of them and you surely don’t have to like them either but when there’s nothing left to do in the “perfect indie dev checklist” you either have the choice to try some more or you simply give up.
Disclaimer: That might not work for you or you might not like everything in there so take what you want and leave the rest. I consider these passive tricks meaning that if you are looking to get fast results by taking actions than those will not help you. It’s just some stuff you can do without much being aware you’re actually doing it. If you’re sleepwalking you might not even know you are doing this stuff …
Being aware of Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a nice simple service that will monitor the web for text searches you pick. For example I have set up alerts on my name and the name of my games. That way when someone writes about me or my game I almost immediately receive an email notifying me about it. Some use it just out of curiosity and others so they can make sure to send lawsuits as soon as someone tell something bad about them.
Now if I use this service surely that other people are using it too … You can then turn a blog post into some kind of phone call just by dropping a name in a post. If the person has a Google Alert setup on his name then maybe you have a chance to get them on your blog. You might never know about it but if you just didn’t post some kind of junk who knows! You might get a reply and then it’s up to you to use this opportunity.
Duh … Not much to say about it beside that at least for me it always bring some traffic. Again it’s up to you to figure what you want to do with this traffic. Nice tool to make someone aware of you as people will most likely check the comments when they post on their blog. Again it’s a shot in the dark and it doesn’t mean that it will give any results but if you have something intelligent to say why not add a trackback to it. It’s so easy to do …
See a blog post that is related to your game somehow? Drop the link in the comments. Not just the link itself but find a way to make a comment that brings your game under the spotlight. Don’t do it too often though and try to do it mostly on websites you are usually active or those you frankly couldn’t care less. Why? Because it’s a plug and people will hate you for plugging your stuff before they do … or something like that. You have to be wise about how you use this tactic because if you’re not careful then you’re just another annoying spammer. Adding a bit of humor to the whole thing doesn’t hurt.
On a blog or forums make sure that you have links to your blog and games. That’s just too easy to do to miss it and that doesn’t work too bad. Still doesn’t mean it will convert to players or sales if your sig is only on developer forums. Developers are NOT your market. You can however meet nice people and contacts are essentials in the long run.
When you have nothing to say ask questions
I’ve seen this one over and over … Not feeling like writing something useful today but still want to make sure the world knows you’re still alive? Make a 2 line post with nothing insightful in it and just ask a question. Forums or blog it doesn’t matter people love to tell you how they feel or to give you advice so it’s almost a sure hit each time.
When someone ask a question answer it
When someone use the previous tactic you can either roll your eyes or use it to spam you name, sig and links once more. Bonus point if you actually have something smart to say. It often leads to empty conversations but if this is shocking to you I might recommend unplugging your network cable.
Kill a bird
I mean Twitter is a damn lazy and easy way to spread your name. It’s so easy to contact people you would never talk to otherwise and the limit of 140 characters gives you a good excuse for not saying much. Remembering stuff to people on Twitter seems to be more tolerated than spamming forums and blogs so why not use it. A good recent example is Wolfire. It was kinda hard to miss the Humble Indie Bundle.
Find a topic and make a list about it
Like I just did. Was it junk or stupid? I don’t think so. Could have I posted something a lot more useful or highly philosophical shaking humanity? Maybe. But I could also have done nothing this morning. In fact I could just shut this whole blog and my Twitter account. Or I could just throw my computer out the window, hide in a cave and build board games with cereals boxes to play with my dog …
You won’t get rich doing all of this. You might not even be able to figure out the exact results of these actions. The point is just to exist on that thing called web. The only thing I know is that if you do your own thing in your basement and stay hidden then you can be sure it will remain this way.