Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February Update!

Bad Wolf Bar-Con is only a few short weeks away! As in, less than three! That's at the Bad Wolf Bar and Grill in Marrero, Louisiana on March 12! We are very excited to get there! And yes, that's a link to the event page on Facebook. I will have a small stock of all four of my books and will be demoing the board game. It should be outrageous fun. So, for those of you anywhere near that area, don't miss out! (And don't forget Southern Geek Fest in April!)

Writing is continuing on Chessmen 2 with so much action, your head will spin. Ever see a Minotaur take down a whole starship? You will in this story. It's the most astounding line up and collection of characters I've put together yet and the whoop-ass just does not stop. The image I'm using for this post is of Warhorse and he's in it too. I'm really having too much fun with it.

Artwork has started for the expansion set to the board game. If you haven't got your hands on it, you still can at The Game Crafter and the page for the game itself is right HERE. Check out the description and give it a whirl. For try before you buy, there is something of a free print and play available on the Board Game Geek page, HERE. You can at least see all the cards and the rules. I will say the actual game does look way better than the PNP. And it's only 44.99; not bad for trying out a new game. And when you buy the game you support growth for GZ!

GZ is more than just it's stories. It's stories, books, games, and aiming for so much more. We want GZ to go everywhere it can. That means toys, apps, miniatures, and who knows what else! It's started out much like a lot of ideas start out. I just do this at my home right now with a laptop and a few cute programs. The building will never stop.

What can I say? I love making heroes and I love making their stories.

Speaking of stories; if you send the words "free book" to, you will get a free PDF of my first novel, Chessmen: Opening Moves. You will also be added to a mailing list (NO spam) that will lead to future sneak peaks and more. I don't send out to it very often, but when I do, who knows what coolness I will send your way. Hope you'll join in!

Coming up is also a little thing I'm calling "The Mad Men of March". No universe is complete without its crazies and I'm going to post all new artwork of them!

This brings me to one more thing that has had a very interesting outcome. Last year (and still recently) there's been some significant hating on the artwork for Galaxy Zento. It was so much that it actually made the artwork controversial. Well, today I thank the haters because they actually increased visibility of GZ by a good strong leap. Not everyone is going to love the looks of the game or other art representation, and that's fine. What they don't understand is that the artwork carries a special meaning. It's dedicated to people with disabilities who keep on struggling for their dreams, no matter what.

The fact that I can still do any of this, is pretty amazing. Those who actually get to know me (and I'm pretty approachable) know that I have multiple sclerosis and autism. I'm losing the coordination in my hands to a point that many daily tasks can be difficult. Yet, I still manage, with great effort, the artwork and writings that you see. I walk with a can and I'm one step away from a wheelchair. A lot of people would give up and just sit in the corner. I won't do that. I fight and I do my best to inspire others to do the same. This especially goes for my son (who has autism) who needs to see that his disabled, at home Dad doesn't ever give up.

The fact that I can hold up one of my books or my game and say "I did it all, even when my body didn't want to" speaks volumes.. Eventually there will be other artists and designers, but for now, this is the start of it all.

That's the update for now. More news coming soon! Hit me up for that free PDF!

Friday, February 5, 2016

The SPAM trap: Getting your product known on social media

I don't play golf, but I sometimes find myself comparing my journey with my brand to hitting a ball out of a sand trap. But what I call the "SPAM" trap is much harder to miss. When you are trying to get your brand out to your prospective audience, you have to remember one thing:


And everyone seems to have a hair trigger response to anything they think qualifies as spam. There was a discussion on the Boardgame Geek Facebook page recently that highlighted this very point. It began with this:

This led to a long drawn out and very messy conversation/debate from many angles. But then someone added this:

It rings true. There is such a fine line between being seen as spam and getting actual interest in your product that it's decayed and broken. It's like tightrope walking on a wire that's fiber thin. So what do you do? Well, you can look to the advice of those proven successful or simply look at what they do.

James Mathe (Minion Games) and Jamey Stegmaier (Stonemaier Games) are established pillars of the gaming community in multiple fashion. They each have blogs that will give you detailed examples and "how to"s that are considered the cornerstones of game manufacturing information today. But how did they do that? And what if you aren't going to be a blog writer gaming guru? 

I asked James Mathe and his group over at Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice how you get word out without becoming a spammer. 

James Mathe said, "That's not an easy question to answer. You kind of have to be a spammer; but a nice one that doesn't go overboard."

But how to do that?

James Campbell of "I will never grow up gaming" said: "Contribute to the wider community for months before getting the word out. Don't push your product continuously. Provide helpful and informative commentary about things other than your product regularly."

And he's absolutely right. You have to give people a chance to get to know you as a person. Not as a designer or anything else. A person. After all, unless your brand skyrocketed and got word out everywhere at once, no one knows who you are. It's going to take time in talking to people and learning about their interests. That means that not all your posts should be about your product. The same rings true for books if you are an author. So what do you do? 

While it's hard to post to lots of groups and keep up, you should try to be involved as much as you can. But you should only post updates about your product once a week at maximum. All the rest should be interest in group discussions. Your product may become relevant to some discussions, but avoid making all discussions sideline to your game or book. Take interest in other peoples interests. If you don't have tons of advice to offer, then become the student rather than the teacher. Aim to learn new stories, games, and get to know people for who they are. 

Over time as people watch you online (and make no mistake, they will be watching) interest will grow. You will get approached with questions. When that happens, you are in a good position. Don't overdo it. Keep your response simple and give a link to where they can get a good look at your game ( if you aren't on Boardgame Geek, why not?). Or be able to give a nutshell run down on your game. Then leave it up to them to continue for more information. I like to give a link to my page on Boardgame Geek and remain approachable if they have questions. 

Never send unsolicited messages to people in social media about your game. If you see someone posting interest in a game like yours. Ask them on the public forum: Hey, I have a game that fits what you are asking for, would you like to know more about it? Then back off. 

Keep these realities in mind; even though you have an accomplishment you want to shout to the mountain tops.

-People hear about this guy or that guy has made a new game, every single day. Some people get sick of it. So bear that in mind. The better they know who you are, the more likely they may want to hear what you have to say.

-There is no holy grail of gaming. Don't pop in out of nowhere and claim that your game is the greatest ever made. It's one of the biggest red flags out there.

-Never bash another designer, especially when you're new. Just don't do it. Stick with what's good about your and your brand, not what's bad about someone else's.

-Patience is a virtue, no matter what aspect of your brand or reaching people you are thinking of. Rushing only looks desperate.

Do you have a tip you'd like to share? Feel free to post in comments.