Getting your name out there as an indie developer can be tricky. Who do you reach out to, how and when? Instead of spending time pondering those questions, why not let someone who has the resources and knows people, help you out? While I thoroughly enjoy covering indie games, other people/sites who share this interest should not be ignored. How about letting me help you connect with them? The more the merrier! Welcome to The Indie Post.
Reaching out to someone, asking them to either write about your game or simply send out a tweet in which they mention it, can be a daunting task. I’ve noticed more than a few writers cast out a challenge on Twitter, asking developers to “promote their game in 150 words or less”. Not a bad idea, but I definitely prefer email as it allows for more details. They’re also far more private, as the only way to acquire privacy through Twitter is if both parties follow each other. I won’t ignore tweets asking me to provide some coverage, but you can only say so much with that word limit in place.
Using a method which limits how much you can say in a pitch, is hardly the best idea. I don’t know about other writers, but I prefer having as many details as possible at hand when I’m contacted with a request for coverage. Even a generic press release beats ‘my game is called X and a review copy can be found on the link below’. Don’t underestimate the importance of making journalists care about your creation, something a lot fail to comprehend.
Also, and I can not stress this enough, if you have a devblog, are on Twitter (hint: #ScreenshotSaturday), Facebook or have a Greenlight page, keep people updated. Trust me, radio silence is not beneficial to a game developer. Don’t believe me? Try announcing a game, then leave everyone in the dark for 4-5 months at a time, see what happens. Exactly. People like to be kept in the loop, no matter how tiny the bits of information shared.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that more than a few have never heard about most of the indie sites out there. Big or small. Same goes for indie-centric YouTube channels, and these are more important than one might initially think. This is partly where my plan to help developers with PR comes into play: It doesn’t matter if your game is in pre-alpha, alpha, beta, or heck, little more than an announcement at this point. If you have anything to show, playable or not, start reaching out to people. Don’t know who’s who? I do, so let me help ya out.
Even though my site – and brand, as it were – is only a few years old, people have begun paying more and more attention to it; both fans, developers and even other journalists. What this means is that I’ve not only gathered a following (or readership, if you prefer), but also acquired certain contacts in ‘the business’. Contacts that few first-time, and even established, developers have, but could certainly benefit a great deal from! As such, I’ve often considered putting my ‘indie network’ to use; that is, apart from to promote my content. Like I said earlier, the more the merrier, and what I mean by this is that the more sites your game is featured on, the better. Same goes for social media. A tweet or a Facebook post isn’t indexed by search engines like articles, but they’re still great for getting the word out there.
What I’m trying to say is that while there are those who prefer for developers to pitch their game directly, it might help to have someone else do the legwork from time to time; especially if their word carries weight with the site/person in question. Might be easier to get a writeup request filled from a familiar face, even if it’s for a third party. Just remember to provide as many details as possible about the game, along with a trailer – with or without gameplay – if possible, and screenshots. However much some writers enjoy spinning a tale (read: writing an article) based on next-to-nothing, it’s not exactly ideal. Details, please.
So don’t be surprised if your inbox suddenly contains an email from me, asking if you’d like me to do some PR work, poking people I know about your creation. I’m sure most would jump at the opportunity as it lets them focus on other things instead, like, say… working on the game. But there are those who’d rather deal with it themselves, which is why I’d rather ask first and avoid potentially overstepping boundaries, as it were. As for those who’d like some PR assistance, well, what are you waiting for? Get in touch!
Let’s kick things off with some time sensitive things. Bundles, Kickstarters and such. Indie Royale’s latest outing has less than 48 hours to go while there’s still plenty of time to grab the brand new Bundle In A Box; this time it’s all about strategy! There’s also Groupees’ Be Mine X, which I’d highly recommend grabbing. Wrapping up a bundle-centric week is GamersGate’s Indiefort, which can be yours for next-to-nothing.
Need more things to spend your hard-earned cash on? Super Roman Conquest and Stasis are both on Kickstarter, looking for funding. If your wallet’s running on empty, Psychopath Pac-Man might be the better option; just don’t ignore Ms. Pac-Man, or it’s game over. Another interesting freebie is a horror platformer Lumen, a brief but interesting game. Speaking of horror, how do you feel about zombies? Because in Zombie Mode, those guys ate your face. Yup.
On the flipside, we find Didgery, a more relaxed card-based puzzle game, and if you’re a developer, Game Jolt just launched a competition! Do you know what else is quite competitive? Greenlight. Here’s this week’s groove, and the one-button puzzler Ichi is still stuck in limbo. Last and most certainly not least, is The Indie Post, which gathered some serious attention, not to mention feedback. Much more than I anticipated, which was a very pleasant surprise. So stop pretending bad reviews don’t exist, eh?