Time flies and in less than a week I will be launching the Kickstarter campaign for Rogue Angels - if you have not already signed up to be alerted, please do so here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/suntzugames/rogue-angels
The many preparations that I have been going through for this new campaign had me thinking about all the wonderful people who have helped me, and who will hopefully also be around to support the Kickstarter once it goes live.
However, I am also very aware that life can make it difficult for us to spend money and time on our hobby, and I therefore wanted to make a list of ideas for how you can help indie creators, even when you cannot financially support them.
Hopefully this post can inspire both super-backers and those who follow from the sideline :)
$1 trumps $0
I know it sounds REALLY simple, but you will NOT be judged for a $1 pledge. If you cannot afford any other pledge level, $1 is still a great help. It increases the number of total backers the project has which is great for the algorithms, and any potential backer following you may be shown the project afterwards, increasing the chance of getting more people on board.
Should you find yourself in a group of friends already backing the game, a $1 pledge is still helping the creator immensely, while also allowing you to show support and follow the project :)
Write a review
Writing reviews is not just for professionals. If you have had an experience with the game or product that the indie publisher is offering, you can try to describe your experience to other people. Offering your opinion and what you particularly enjoyed about the encounter will give other people a chance to identify whether or not they may like it too. The more context you bring, the better.
An example could be this BGG user review here, but it could also be a rating or comment on the game itself like here.
Personally, I believe you should only write what you truly mean and have experienced. If the indie designer makes you passionate about the game and it sparks joy, you can easily say as much. Not only does it help other people judge if it is something for them, but it also inspires the creator to keep going - trust me, it works ;)
In practice I have taken many screenshots of people's kind words or copied them to my review site. On a rainy day they can easily make a big difference :)
Refer friends and family
Who do you trust the most in your life? Most likely a family member or friend. So, the strongest endorsement a creator can get, is when you recommend the game or product to the people near you. Word of mouth certainly also works outside of the digital world, and nothing can beat a recommendation from a person you trust.
Sharing your passion is what grows a game into something larger than life, this is how Catan, Battlefield, Minecraft, Gloomhaven and everything else got so big in the first place. The tiny rings in the water that turned into a tsunami.
You can always start by forwarding an email, or throw a private message, not everyone likes to be tagged in public forums ;)
Subscribe And Follow their activities
I can testify, that indies always look at the numbers, almost like their lives depended on it :D A new follower is a new follower and therefore a win for the creator.
Whenever you start following an indie creator you increase the chances of the person being found by more people, but it also legitimizes the creator's existence. If nobody is following them, are they creating anything of value? Perhaps, but that value is not being enjoyed or utilized as it otherwise could. This legitimization works on both the creator's sense of self-worth and on potential new supporters boosting everyone's confidence in the project as a whole.
Share and Engage with their content
Following a creator is certainly first step. However, the most important aspect of digital presence for a creator, is the engagement this person can get. The engagement is what triggers the algorithms to pick up this creator's content and show it to more people, creating a loop.
Furthermore, creators usually love to engage and talk design processes and design choices. They love talking about their baby, so asking genuine questions will always get them fired up... I know ;)
If you see social media content from your favorite creator, ask them:
And remember to be kind! :)
Give them a shoutout - Cheer Them On
I have had many colleagues through both my military and civilian careers, and every now and then I would meet a person, who was of the mind that, "If I am not saying anything bad, then things are actually quite good." Now, I understand that some people want to appear tough and hard to impress, but making praise equal to the absence of critic is really bad in the long run. Without praise you will slowly but certainly grind your people's motivation down.
In practice - when you see something you think is good, step up and cheer the creator on. This is "life fuel" for every indie out there. It can really make their day, and creating big passion projects is all about getting to the next day :)
Thanks again for following my project and rambles - I hope it inspired you to give a shoutout :)
Now I would like to know how you usually engage creators you follow? And what platforms do you enjoy using for such?
- If you have not already, you are always welcome to hang out and chat with me (see links below). And I hope to see you for the Rogue Angels Kickstarter launch on Monday the 4th of September :)
Thank you for the support.
Best regards Emil