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Soapbox: About the Industry

Promoting Yourself

by Sandy Antunes
Jul 09,2004

 

Promoting Yourself

by Sandy Antunes

Freelancers need to promote themselves if they want to get more work. And they should help promote their books, so they sell more copies and thus get hired again. You and the book are tied together in a twisted economic way, but ultimately, your goal is to build your own "brand" and sell you. Here's how.

As a cautionary, you want to make sure you don't cross or mess up your publisher's intent with a book. So, for some self-promotion, just do it and tell the publisher later, for others, get permission. My recommendations below.

1) Ask your publisher if they want you to do any signings at game shops, cons that you already plan to be at, etc. No publisher will say 'no' but this shows you're motivated and also means they don't feel like you're gone rogue.

Then, hit your local game shop, con, etc and do this.

2) Do an interview with a website or two on 'my experiences creating this new game'. It's posed as an "insider talks about the industry" but also works well to hype the product. Mention (in email) to your publisher that you have this upcoming interview but don't ask for permission (if the publisher has specific wants _or_ wants to push it by offering promos/prizes, they'll contact you.) Encourage the website to promote your column with a press release.

3) Write a guest column for a website on something related ('writing SF in a fantasy-dominated world', 'writing fantasy in a fantasy-saturated world', etc). Again, inform publisher after you're set it up as a courtesy. Encourage the website to promote your column with a press release.

4) Do #2 or #3 for a print magazine.

5) Hype yourself, moreso than just that project. Launch your own website or live journal--including a complete biography-- via press releases. But for goodness sake, come up with your angle first! Warren Ellis has "comics suck, and here's why". Pick what your angle is, come up with a one-line 'pull' for it, and then you can do a press release.

Think about why people would want to visit, really you're building your 'brand', the saleable parts of your public persona.

        'See Jane Doe's work'?      Nah. Instead:         'Jane Doe-- the rebel too talented to fire'

Give people an expectation that you're going to tell them secrets and insights they've never seen before.

6) Keep it moving. Once you commit to promoting _yourself_, you have to keep it going. At the very least, that means a new op ed each month, a new work each month (on a different week than the op-ed), and a new journal-type entry at least weekly (try to pick a specific day of the week and let people know, even if just casually with "Here's this week's regular Friday update on the insanity of our industry."

In short, something at least weekly, and on a specific day of the week, so you 'train' your small-but-growing core of readers to regularly visit you.

7) If you've ever written a long advice email or rant to any email list, save it and reuse it for your weekly op ed/journal. For example, this email (done off the cuff) will likely become an RPG.net Soapbox-- no point in wasting good words!


I've actually done this, though not yet for myself-- in retrospect, I realize the above is a recapitulation of how I promoted RPG.net back in the late 90s. But currently I'm too cowardly (and time-short) to do the same process for myself. I'd say it's required if someone is full-timing, though, as it gives you longevity beyond a single publisher or two.

Until next month,
Sandy
freelance TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

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All Soapboxes

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  • Standing on the Shoulders of Giants by Sandy Antunes, 01aug02
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  • April 10, 2002 13 New FAQs
  • March 1, 2002 Give Me A Closet
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  • December 13, 2001 Conflict, Ethics, Winning, and Money
  • November 13, 2001 Secret RPGnet Operations Document Leaked!
  • October 16, 2001 Leadership and D&D
  • September 4, 2001 Leading Industry Site Reports Secret: Sex Sells!
  • August 7, 2001 Any, Anyone Can Be an Internet Success-- Why Aren't You?
  • July 3, 2001 Fine Print, Part U
  • June 5, 2001 Fine Print, Part I
  • May 8, 2001 Pushing Limits
  • May 4, 2001 RPGnet State of the Union special feature
  • April 6, 2001 The Other Magic: Niche Hobbies and Other Markets
  • May 9, 2000 Running a Business as an Old Style D&D Party
  • April 14, 2000 First to Market
  • March 20, 2000 Labor Pains
  • February 15, 2000 One Trick Pony
  • January 6, 2000 Creativity is Bad, Hard to Sell, and Great for Business
  • December 14, 1999 Oranges versus Bananas: Entertainment Costs
  • November 2, 1999 Why Editors Lie
  • October 5, 1999 How to publish a quality game, accept criticism gracefully, and lead a happy life: Pick Any Two
  • September 7, 1999 It Takes a Village (to publish an RPG)
  • August 3, 1999 All Gamer Money Isn't Equal
  • July 6, 1999 Tides of Cash Flow
  • June 1, 1999 Ad-itudes
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  • April 6, 1999 The GAMA Trade Show '99
  • March 2, 1999 Roleplaying would have saved Millions
  • February 2, 1999 Games That Won't Suck
  • January 5, 1999 Dangerous Games
  • December 1, 1998 Making Gamers the Old Fashioned Way
  • November 3, 1998 The $1K Company
  • October 1, 1998 So You Want to Start Your Own Company...
  • September 1, 1998 Holy Grails and Marching Morons
  • August 4, 1998 Gamers Must Die!
  • July 7, 1998 Profit versus Prophet
  • June 2, 1998 Acquire! Acquire!
  • May 5, 1998 Power
  • April 21, 1998 The GAMA Trade Show Report, Part 2 (eventually)
  • April 7, 1998 Schroedinger Games, or, the GAMA Report
  • March 3, 1998 Culling the Herd
  • February 3, 1998 Horatio Hornblower's RPG Company
  • January 6, 1998 Double Feature (Us and Them/A Clash of Images)
  • December 2, 1997 "How to Scam Games for Free"
  • November 4, 1997 "Women in Gaming?"
  • October 2, 1997 "Fear of a Gaming Planet" (Welcome to the RPG ghetto?)
  • September 2, 1997 "Rush" (fame and adoration in lieu of pay)
  • August 2, 1997 "For the Money" (convention mating rituals)
  • July 2, 1997 "Good Deeds" (the dearth of evil game companies)
  • June 2, 1997 "Dirty Laundry" (copyright and slander on the net)
  • May 2, 1997 "Communications Breakdown" (company and player schisms)
  • April 2, 1997 "The Quick and the Dead" (dying companies versus new ideas)
  • March 2, 1997 "It's All in the Timing" (on hype and late deliveries, and on genres)
  • February 2, 1997 "Insiders and Outsiders" (who's who and who uses the web)
  • January 2, 1997 "Fits and Starts" (web presences, print runs, live roleplaying)
  • December 2, 1996 "Procastination Season is Over" (delays and new products)
  • November 1, 1996 "Best of Times, Worst of Times" (on rumors, survival, and larps)
  • October 1, 1996 "Post-Con fallout and not that many new games"
  • September 1, 1996 "Our launch, news from GenCon, demos, new LARPS"
  • Our reason for existence

    Other columns at RPGnet

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