Response to the Trailer
Last week I posted the Dream Build Play trailer for Super Amazing Wagon Adventure. The response I've gotten has far exceeded my expectations. It got press coverage! On big sites! I'd thought I'd share some of the highlights, and also give some insight into how exactly the first trailer for my first game ever made it's way on to IndieGames.com and Rock Paper Shotgun.
- Rock Paper Shotgun: ...as Oregon-Trail-playing Child Me would've said: "Golly gee wimbledons, I get to kill all of the things! Die! Die! Die!"
- IndieGames.com: This game looks great, and I can't wait to play it.
- IndieGameMag: At first we thought how much more "super amazing" can a wagon adventure get than The Orgeon Trail? We soon found ourselves corrected upon watching the trailer for Super Amazing Wagon Adventure.
I was not expecting this much, or really any press coverage. Of the three sites linked above, Rock Paper Shotgun seemed to generate by far the most trailer views and website hits. That makes sense since RPS is a general PC gaming site as opposed to an indie specific site. I'd wager that those of you who are also indie game developers are probably wondering: how exactly did it I pull this off?It was actually surprisingly easy considering how few contacts and how little experience I have. The extent of my self promotion was (1) creating a post on reddit and (2) sending an unsolicited email to Danny Cowan, the writer for IndieGames.com who frequently covers Xbox Live Indies.
I think there were probably two major ingredients to my success. The first ingredient is that I put some significant effort into the trailer. I'd been daydreaming about making a trailer almost since the beginning of the game development, and I probably spent a solid 8 hours capturing footage and editing. I also have a little bit of experience with video editing, which I think helped. The second ingredient is that I was pretty selective in my self promotion. I posted the trailer to the /r/IndieGaming subreddit, which is relatively small, so that I would have a good chance of making it to the front page and sticking around a while. Even though the subredddit has few subscribers compared to, say, /r/gaming, it's large enough that many indie game journalists probably read it. I suspect the IndieGameMag post was a result of the reddit post. Similarly, I was careful to email the most appropriate person at IndieGames.com (as opposed to sending an email to everyone or the generic "editors" address). The Rock Paper Shotgun post was then a result of the IndieGames.com post.
I suspect this might be a pretty good promotion strategy in general: don't promote yourself directly to giant sites and general audiences (/r/gaming, Rock Paper Shotgun, Kotaku, Joystiq). Instead carefully and selectively promote yourself to smaller but influential audiences and the journalists / sites that serve these smaller audiences. If the content is good, it will spread to the larger audiences. At least, that's the optimistic self narrative I've constructed to explain what happened. It could be that I just got lucky. I'm new to this so I have no idea.