In this article, we`re going to learn 3 Easy Ways To Promote Your indie game, comics, books, animations and any other types of creative products or media that you are currently working on. This article will give you a general overview of simple and cheap ways that you can start bringing more visual attention to your project and building public interest or curiosity around the characters and story during the actual development phase. These steps are also very good for earning a little residual income from your original creative ideas – prior to having a completed product.
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3 Easy Ways To Promote Your Indie Projects!
Regardless of which niche you may find yourself in, most indie content developers often find it relatively difficult to promote, advertise, or create initial public interest in their projects. This lack of interest can last from a few months up to a number of years in most cases and it can take quite a long while to start seeing any stable results from your work. That`s just the nature of indie development.
While the majority of indie developers tend to be engaged in passion projects of personal interest, we still want to spread our story and start seeing at least some results from the hard work and efforts we have put into our creation!
So here are a few simple things that I`ve started doing recently to drive more interest to my characters, storylines, and products!
1) Write free .PDF snippets of your story and post them on social media for people to read.
This can actually draw a lot of attention to your upcoming project or current website if you post in the right social media groups because most people will read anything if it`s free! There`s no commitment of investment at this point and creating links on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, etc. are relatively straightforward and easy. It`s easy to grab a handful of random readers who will at least stop by your website out of sheer curiosity this way. And if you`re lucky, once they`ve actually read the content that you`ve posted, they may become interested in your story/project development and will be on alert for future progress updates. If they really like your .PDF content, they may also tell their friends.
The recommended .PDF page count is about 5 ~ 15 pages worth of content unless you are publishing a full comic or book.
If you have your own website (which you should if you`re indie developing anything at all), then you simply need to embed the free .PDF into a page related to that particular story and post a link on social media that directs potential readers to your site. If you are using WordPress, you can download and install the PDF Embedder or PDF Embedder Premium plugin to quickly and safely embed the file into your page.
A few things to note are: 1) Don`t make the .PDF downloadable and 2) Be careful not to give away too much of the storyline in your samples – unless you already have a mountain of copyrighted content online, like me :).
Once you`ve created and posted your free .PDF, be sure to include links to some of the character profiles of people who are relevant to the storyline. This can help create unique interest (or possibly a personal connection) to each individual character rather than the overall storyline. It gives readers something to look forward to in the upcoming project, so they may already be mentally invested in the story by the time the project is completed. At this point, if you happen to have character-related products or merchandise, you can also include links to them under your .PDF posts as well for an easy upsell.
2) Create comic strips of your characters to post on social media.
Because your indie project is usually created to tell a unique story or solve a particular problem, it`s often hard to communicate the message effectively to people who are not familiar with the concept or topic. If you are developing an indie game or writing a novel, then you may literally be creating new worlds and trying to describe alien languages or cultures to your audience! Many people don’t like to read and won`t invest time in reading something that they are not interested in or doesn`t directly apply to a problem they are curious about.
That`s one of the main challenges indie devs face. In most cases, people simply don`t need what you are creating (or at least they don`t think they do at the moment). For 90% of creative indie devs, there`s no initial desire for our projects. Instead, we have to become experts at creating desire.
This is where visual images and comic strips can really come into play! Short comic strips posted on social media can be just as effective as wordy blog posts or the .PDF snippets mentioned above because they not only save time and give the same effect, but they also have the added advantage of visually immersing the reader into the world that your project is to create. Reading a short comic strip can give them a feel of the characters, environment, and situations they`ll be facing in your future project release.
Posting images to a few of your comic panels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler and other social media sites with links back to your actual website is a good way to get random, initially uninterested people browsing your current indie dev project. Viewers may also (will usually) give you feedback on your artwork and style, so this can be valuable information during the development phase of your actual project.
Imagine spending 3 years working on a game project based on a character with a design that nobody likes in the end. That would suck. So posting short comic strips of the characters not only introduces and brings more attention to the project way ahead of it`s completion, but it also gives you the opportunity to adjust the design based on public feedback while also helping you design merchandise and products that might appeal to your comic strip reading audience prior to your actual indie game release.
If you are working on Mac, Windows, or iOS device, the ComicLife App is a great way to get started with creating your own strips. It`s also a good tool for storyboarding your actual game, book, or animation projects and characters.If you really get good at creating these short comic strips, you could also try selling your comics via digital format for extra cash while you are continuing to develop your project!
Facebook Ads are for people with a lot of money to invest – not normal/average (broke) people like us. However, nothing screams confidence in your characters, story, or Indie Dev project more than rockin` your own original clothing products and gear! That`s right, the most effective form of advertisement is yourself. By becoming your own billboard, you can really help to create buzz, hype, and curiosity around your project.
You don`t even have to immediately create a lot of products or open a store. Just print out a few of your favorite character designs on t-shirts or other items that you like, and give them to family, friends, or wear them around yourself to see how people react. Many of them will be interested and some will start asking questions. If the design is good enough, some may even opt to buy one of your products even though the project connected to it is not finished. This is a great way to start pre-selling your indie project before it has been completed – and you own all of the products.
It`s also the method that I personally use to promote my comics, books, and games so you can check out my “Game Character Product Design Workflow” post to see how I do it and get started yourself. This method actually works well, helps you to earn side money to fund your projects, and is generally cheaper/more effective than some of the more popular online advertisement methods. I highly recommend giving this method a try first.
Bonus #4) Create Tutorials on Patreon to show people how you create your projects.
YouTube is a good platform, but highly competitive when it comes to getting views on your videos. Also, the types of videos that people will watch or search for probably don`t include many of the keywords or the title of the particular project that you are working on. People can`t search for something they don`t know about, so the odds of them finding your game, book, or creative project is relatively small. However, people are always searching for knowledge and ways to do things!
“How To” videos and social media posts are a great way to draw attention not only to your brand but to yourself as an indie developer and media content creator. There are millions of tutorial videos online, which also means that there are a million different ways to do one thing. People who research things like “How to draw” or “How to create a game in Unity” often wind up checking multiple resources while looking for a “one post/site covers everything that I need to know” approach. By using your current development project as a tool to create video tutorials or blog posts that take people on a journey through your own personal experiences in making something similar to what they are also trying to create, you`ll not only form a closer bond with interested person but you`ll also be introducing them to the characters in your project and the storyline while you are instructing them with valuable information.
Patreon seems to be one of the best places to do this at the moment because people can actually subscribe to you or become a Patron (paying contributor) to your tutorial content (which means that they are investing in your project while they are learning). Patreon is also far less competitive than YouTube or other streaming platforms because people will directly go to your specific page for information instead of getting trapped on YouTube watching random videos from other creators. This will give you a list of potential future clients.
Be sure to focus all of the tutorials on your project! Show them how you make a website, how you create characters, or how to create original character products for your online store. You`ll be helping both parties because this can help to create brand loyalty and increase potential customers for your indie dev project way before it has been launched. It also helps with branding and is a great way to upsell any project-related products or merchandise that you may have available. 🙂
So these are the 4 very easy steps that I`ve started to implement myself in order to drive more traffic to my websites, projects and store pages. For indie developers, the main things we need to create are interest and curiosity for our projects before anyone will come to check them out or support us while working on them. Try some of these tips out for yourself and let me know how well they work for you!