This past weekend was International TableTop Day. For much of the day, I was busy at a local poetry and arts festival where my wife won second place for an original poem. So, I did not participate in any of the local game store events, nor did I host a large event in my home this year. That evening, I did play some games with my family so I could enjoy this gamer-created holiday.
Last night and today, as I have been catching up on all the Facebook and Twitter posts regarding TableTop Day events all over the world, I got to pondering. As a freelancer, how much effort should I be putting into actively promoting games that I work on as a freelancer? I have always thought I was doing this well, but now I am musing: is it enough? I post on my social networks and on my blog about games that I help produce. I discuss the games online and in forums. I even volunteer at Gen Con to assist in the Exhibit Hall booth. But, should we as freelancers be doing even more active promoting of the games we work on? We were hired and compensated for a specific freelance job. Does that obligate or at least encourage us to be involved in the marketing of that games? I am not sure I know the right answer yet. I am interested in opening this discussion and seeing where it takes us.
Promote has two definitions that I feel are key to this discussion.
1. to help or encourage to exist or flourish
2. to encourage the sales, acceptance, etc., of (a product), especially through advertising or other publicity.
I think all passionate gamers (including freelancers) are involved in the first definition. We love games. We purchase games. We play games. We talk about games. We encourage others to play games. We attend game conventions. We host and attend gaming events and holidays. We, as freelancers, go another step further and work on games so there are even more to enjoy! So I think freelancers promote gaming in general quiet passionately already.
The question is, how actively are we promoting the sales and acceptance of the specific games we work on as freelancers? Reflecting again on this weekend’s International TableTop Day, as a freelancer, should I have been attending or hosting an event and encouraging attendees to play games I worked on? Is it okay to just have the games with you in case someone is interested in learning the game, or should you be actively encouraging those freelanced games? How do you encourage without being overtly pushy? When do players start feeling you are too biased about your published games? I am sure game designers and publishers really struggle with this. When they host or attend an event like TableTop Day, they have to balance their time being a gamer who enjoys other games vs owning a business that has products that need promoted.
Part of the challenge for a freelancer with games from various publishers, which ones do you actively promote? How do you promote one game over another without showing favoritism for a particular publisher? Or is it fine to have some published games you worked on that you are more passionate about than others?
Like I said earlier, I don’t have the answers. I think much of this idea of promoting games you freelance on will be a personal decision. I am very curious to hear your thoughts and experiences on the topic. If you are a freelancer, how active a role have you taken in promoting games you work on? If you are a publisher or game designer, how do you balance your gamer side and your business side at gaming events?