I am the Warden!!
On the Internet, no one can hear you promote.
I am not a promoter, never been one for marketing, can't stand commercials, and have a quiet, withdrawn personality. "Pushing product" is not one of my strong points and I've accepted that. Even during my days in retail management, my upselling was shit, mostly because I hated listening to these pitches as a customer. Yet as a publisher/RPG designer, I must promote my own work. As I started to piece together the building blocks of the Optional System last night, it started to hit me. How the hell am I going to get people to not only check this sucker out, but spend money on it? That's the $50,000 question.
There are definitely tried and true methods, don't get me wrong. It's not like there are no tools out there to promote the OSRPG. Kickstarter is the big one right now and hopeful creators like myself are pouring onto that site for every concept imaginable. Shows like Dragon's Den and Shark Tank, combined with a crappy economy, have motivated people to drop the 9-5 workday like a stone and become their own bosses and Kickstarter is a very impressive technique to not only getting capital to launch your product, but gain fans before that first dollar is spent. Then there are podcasts, YouTube, this blog, and any number of online tools to accomplish just that.
Which are the same tools are everyone else.
The Optional System is designed to be something different from the rest, to fill a void residing within the RPG community. I want this system to combine the scope of a Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder with the flexibility and variety of an independent game. Somehow, the idea of promoting this system the same as everyone else doesn't seem right. It goes against my vision. But then again, I am rather stubborn when it comes to my goals. I've never liked doing things the same as other people.
I'm a huge fan of word of mouth. Any good advertising campaign works to achieve word of mouth. If you can get people talking about your product without being prompted, success. That's what this system needs: word of mouth. Uh, really good word of mouth, you know, positive comments, just to clarify.
Really, I'm jumping ahead of the curve here. Work on the first draft of Optional: Playtest has only just begun and that copy will be sent out to various friends and associates from across the roleplaying community. Creating an ad campaign is still far down the list at this point, but it is something to start thinking about.