I often joke with people about the fact that I am not an exciting person. I truly believe I am not in the party sense. Maybe this is just an extension of some high school perception that has continued despite being 10 years out of high school. The fact remains, I only like talking about 5 things:
Wait, I thought those topics were semi forbidden.
- My children (I am confident most people do not want to hear about this)
- Board Games (I am confident less people want to talk about this than my kids)
Yet, through the Internet and this blog I am found some mild form of popularity *GASP*. At BGG.con I had several people talk to me and specifically mention how they liked my blog. My most recent post “Fact or Fiction… Publishing Board Games Is Good Finance?” has been viewed over 500 times since it was published last Monday. Over 1,900 people have allowed me to email them in exchange for entering the Tasty Minstrel Board Game Giveaways. From this experience I have gathered some tips to increase your popularity.
1. Do Something That Few People Do And Write About It
As it turns out, very few people publish board games. This is despite the existence of many board game designers who are looking to get their games published. Additionally, there are even fewer publishers that blog about the publishing and are open about their results. I personally only know of Jackson Pope at Reiver Games to blog about the experience other than myself. If there are any other blogger/publishers out there, please let me know as I enjoy reading about the publishing of board games.
This increases popularity, because readers know that I have some sort of clue in relation to what I am talking about. When I started this blog I had little to no clue. Realistically, that is probably still true despite a year of publishing efforts and launching 2 popular games in Homesteaders and Terra Prime. Just like in the Wizard of Oz, people want to see behind the curtain and if you are willing to pull it back, then your popularity will increase.
2. Be Yourself
This is feel good platitude told to the unpopular kids by their parents. Trust me, I know… However, thanks to the power of the Internet, it is now 100% TRUE. It is difficult to find more than a handful of people who share your interests (especially the obscure ones) that are geographically close to you. However, on the Internet you have places where many gather, such as Board Game Geek. As long as you make it known about your interests and what you are discussing on your blog, then you will find people will come and read what you have to say. Again, if less people in your niche do what you do, then you will find it easier to become increasingly popular.
3. Be Conversational
The more readily you answer the questions of your readers, you will find that somehow your audience grows. Additionally, you build micro-relationships with every reader and you never know what readers are going to become more important in your life. For example, I recently decided to answer some reader questions that were emailed to me. The blog post answers “Fact or Fiction… Publishing Board Games Is Good Finance?” and “Reader Question: How Do I Get My Game Published?” have been very popular. Many thanks to W. Eric Martin would edits Board Game News and decided to direct the readers to the posts.
4. Display Your Weaknesses
You do not want to be so down on yourself that people stop listening to what you say. However, at the same time, they want to know that you are both human and not overly serious about yourself. It is a fine line to walk, but a potentially important one. For example, I have a college degree in Philosophy. Philosophy really gives you no “marketable skills” and is often followed with a profession requiring the phrase, “would you like fries with that?” However, much of my writing and debate skills were improved by 4 years of writing and arguing. You will also notice that I started this post talking about how I am an unexciting person.
5. Self Promote
This is a delicate topic, and most people find it difficult to be self-promotional at all. However, I can guarantee that even if you wrote the next Hamlet and did not tell anybody about it, then you would no be popular at all. The key to self promotion is to do it where it is tolerated and/or encouraged. For example, on Board Game Geek there is a specific forum dedicated to announcing blog posts, new podcasts, etc. Post everything you can there. Automate Twitter and Facebook to update whenever you make a new post. Just try to not cross the line where people decide to ignore you.
6. Be Outrageously Generous
This is what I was doing when I started giving away board games. Of course, it is reasonable to ask something in return. You may also find that what you ask for in return is worth more that what you are giving away. For example, I will show you the hypothetical math on the board game giveaway.
- Cost per giveaway = $25
- One giveaway per week… 52 x $25 = $1,300 per year
- Email addresses = 1,900 and growing
- Assume 10% purchase new releases on pre-order. The 10% number is fairly accurate based on the last set of pre-orders, and I expect the conversion to increase due to increased familiarity with myself and Tasty Minstrel Games.
- If 30% discount on combined pre-order and $90 MSRP, then $63 per order. We’ll knock it down to $59.95 or up to $64.95 for marketing purposes.
- 190 x $59.95 = $11,390 revenue. Of course the cost of shipping and manufacturing needs to come out, but this size of pre-orders will greatly reduce the risk of publishing games.
Increasing the number of people that are reached or increasing the conversion rate of course makes this even better.
7. See A Need, Fill A Need
When I started publishing board games, I felt like I needed to figure out everything by myself. This was partially arrogance and self-confidence that other publishers were doing something wrong. It was also partially a result of what I felt was a lack of quality resources on how to publish a board game. Thinking that there would be a number of people out there like myself, I decided to start blogging about my experiences and help others avoid the potential pitfalls of publishing.
When I started I felt that the blogging would help me explore my owns ideas and solidify what works in my own mind. It would also serve as a record that I could go back and check later. I also hoped that as a result I would sell a handful of additional games. Thankfully, both of these desires have been accomplished. I am still struggling with how often to post, but I think I am getting better at making that decision.
None of this matters unless you actually start. So if you are wondering about how to go about something, then I suggest that you stop the learning process and GET STARTED. Once I got started, I realized and continue to realize that many of my best laid plans are subject to change on the fly.