How to tell the world about your game

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How to tell the world about your game

Postby Simon » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:08 pm

All of this is based on my experience with ASA: A Space Adventure and I don't say it is the best way to do. But I really wanted to write it, because I see too many projects here that deserve much more. Consider this tutorial like my way to thank you for your continuous help during the development of ASA !

Before starting, make sure you really want to communicate on your game, because, to be done correctly, it requires a lot of time, prepares, and investment EVERY DAY !

1 - Get visibility

The best way for your game to become more visible is :
- Steam Greenlight (in the "Concepts" category if your game is a work in progress, or the "Games" categrory if your game is finished)
- Indie games magazines (contact the press, see below)
- Your own websites and social network (personal or company site, game homepage, facebook, twitter, IndieDB, etc...)
- Send all the links to you friends by e-mail, and ask them to help spreading the word !

And everyone who created an adventure game should also add it on the forums of Adventure Maker !! :D

The role of forums is very important : target the forums specialized in adventure games ! (or another genre if you're not making an adventure game...)
Examples :
- Adventure Gamers
- Game Boomers
- Mystery Manor
- Just Adventure
- etc...

Don't forget also to contact forums in your own language !
- France : Atlantis Amerzone Et Cie
- Italy : Lo Scrigno Di Atrus
- Germany : Adventurespel
- Russia : Kanobu
...

Things you should tell people when you talk of your game :
- Scenario, description
- Gameplay
- Screenshots
- Work in progress, artworks, illustrations (they love it)
- Videos
- Why you made it
- How you made it
- softwares and their description
- Other games that inspired you
- links to references that helped you
- etc...

2 - Prepare to contact the press

Before you start, make sure that :
- you have a working e-mail address for their answer
- you can share the game for free with them (upload it somewhere)
- you have a place where your game is ready to sell (Steam, Desura, Gog, other...), with a working link to the game.
- you have prepared a good description of your game and all, in a good and proofed english
- your game deserves some attention

If all of this is OK, then go on google and search for all the indie games magazines that you can find. For each of them, look for the address e-mail to get in touch, and copy it to an excel document or a text file, with the name of your contact, the name of the magazine, and the address. This will be your contact file, very useful when they get in touch with you to ask for more info.

Here's a (very) short list of sites you can contact :
- Adventure Gamers (yes, again)
- The Indie game mag
- Indie Statik
- Dad's gaming addiction
- Adventure Point
- Indiegames
- N4G
- Rock Paper Shotgun
- ...

Most of them won't answer your request, so don't get discouraged.

3 - Write your e-mail to the press

Use your excel or text file with your list of contacts (created before), and send each of them a personalized email. Don't create a group email !

This is what this mail should look like :

----------------------------------------------------------
Your coordinates
----------------------------------------------------------

- Hello (Name),

- I am (your short description), and I'm proud to introduce my (3rd ?) game project : (name of the game).

- This game is (a 1st person adventure slideshow ?) with the particularity that (describe the gameplay, the world, and everything that you want them to know). The story is (summary) and the player will have to (say the purpose of the game). The most important features are (retro graphics style, 360 panoramas, logical puzzles, ...)
Make it short : 10 lines max !

- You can find more information via these links :
> screenshots gallery (on flickr, for example)
> launch trailer (youtube or Steam)
> gameplay video (idem)
> playable demo (link)
> Steam page

- (Explain that you can share the full game with them (give the link) and that you're available anytime if they have questions, or eventually for an interview.)

- (Make a short but precise summary of your game : )
> Name : ASA A Space Adventure
> Created by : Simon
> Platform : PC
> Sells on : Desura (link)
> Price : 9,99 ?
> Genre : Adventure - Sci-fi
> Similar to : Myst
> ...

- Conclude your email with a polite formula.
Best regards,
Your name.


----------------------------------------------------------
Your website and e-mail for answer
----------------------------------------------------------

The aim of making all these efforts is that you contact the press in the best way. They receive a LOT of emails everyday, from a LOT of other developpers, and they usually don't take the time to read an email that seems odd. So take your time to write it, and ask an english person to correct it !

Also, be careful to the object of the game. This is very important too. If you name your message : "my indie game", it's more likely that it will be deleted immediately. If you just put the name of your game "A Space Adventure", they don't know what it is and they will probably keep it for later, and forget it in a long list of unanswered emails. So choose something that describes very shortly but precisely your game : "My new indie game, ASA: A Space Adventure, a 1st person slideshow".

4 - Useful tips

- Don't forget to answer the messages on the forums, or the comments on your Steam page ! This is important too. People who talk with you will take more time to learn what your game is about. They will understand why it's not a AAA game, with the most incredible features and graphics. It means they will start liking your product of the terroir :)

- Don't abuse of links in your e-mail !!! it's important, because an e-mail with more than (3 ???) external links might be automatically sent to the spam folder !
You can attach a text file with the links if you have too many.
If the links are very long and not good-looking, make them shorter using the free service Bitly
http://bitly.com
A link like : steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=956281944654564654efzd4656454445sds45s7efs54
can become : bit.ly/SwdGAf

- Connect all your accounts together ! Instead of posting manually an info on Facebook, then do it again on Twitter, then on your blog, etc... --> You'd better use twitterfeed to make it all at once !
http://twitterfeed.com/
Now, you just post on your blog, and it is automatically added on facebook and twitter. You save time, but everyone knows !

And finally, I have something interesting for you : it's called Presskit(), and it's very useful because you can share it with the press in your email.
http://www.dopresskit.com
Example : http://www.simonmesnard.fr/press
It takes a bit of time to configure (it has to be done manually with a ftp and a text editor, but nothing difficult). Share this link everytime you contact the press, so they can find easily all the info they want about you and your previous games or projects.

And the best for the end : you can link it with Promoter : http://promoterapp.com
It will help you know who speaks of your game online : track new press mentions of your games and apps !

Hope it helps !
Last edited by Simon on Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:46 am, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: How to tell the world about your game

Postby Vairon » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:28 pm

Really useful! Thanks Simon, you could be publisher... :wink:

Another point could be the financing (indiegogo, kickstarter, ulule...) What do you think about this point?
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Re: How to tell the world about your game

Postby Simon » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:48 pm

Ow funding... I had a bad experience with The Black Tower on Indiegogo lol
It didn't work. I'm not sure I should be the one to write it.

The only thing I can tell is that Kickstarter is definetely the best for video games. The other sites don't attract people well on this very specific market. It's 100% verified.
You must know that Kickstarter only allows people who live in the US or the UK to post their project. If you live somewhere else, you can't. Not really true : there are some possibilities to use it yet, but it's much more difficult.

Of course, everything explained in this tutorial, "how to tell the world about your game", can be adapted to talk of your kickstarter. Just replace the link of your game by the link to your kickstarter. Make sure you get a lot of visibility on Steam and social networks before beginning your crowdfunding campain, however. It's very important too.
Then you'll need a good press relay (use the previous tips).

There are probably some good tutorials already on the net about Kickstarter, while I didn't find so much about talking to the press correctly.
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Re: How to tell the world about your game

Postby Vengeance66 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:43 pm

Those are great tips Simon, thanks for sharing them. :-)

I really enjoy using IndieDB honestly, I even get Shadows (the remake) to be in the first 100 indie games that was in race for first place. That was really nice popularity for the game. :-)

Best regards!
Stay a while and listen...

Rainbow Enterainment - http://rainbowenter.com/
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Re: How to tell the world about your game

Postby Simon » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:05 am

Yeah, IndieDB is a Steam-like for all games, including amateur and very indie. I like it too, that's where I had posted ASA at first. On top of that, IndieDB is related to the Desura websites, which makes the migration very easy if you plan someday to add your game to Desura. Very useful !
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