36: Promotion

36: Promotion

What do you feel is your responsibility as a designer to promote your own work? What works well for you, and what has turned out to be a waste of time?



Be open to interviews, podcasts, etc. Otherwise, follow the publisher’s lead. Always be mindful of your behaviour in public spaces and forums. Time wastes are many, the worst is mirroring the publisher’s efforts and trying to schedule your own press – getting responses like ‘We’ve already talked with So-and-So’ making you and the publisher look incompetent.

Adrienne Ezell

I consider that sharing my passion for my games is part of my job. And, step by step, it’s a way to transform your name as a brand.

Bruno Cathala

I don’t feel it is my responsibility at all to promote my games – unless it has been built into my agreement with the publisher. That said, I love to do so. I talk about my games a lot on my Youtube channel Adam’s Boardgame Wales. I don’t suppose it translates into significant sales, but my games are certainly more known as a result. It is helpful to promote your design sensibilities and personality to publishers – this is where Youtube has had a significant effect for me. I know publishers watch and I have built some excellent relationships as a result.

Adam Porter

Self promotion is important. Some designers do it behind the scenes talking directly to companies, while others use social media. I believe that both is important, but the former is more beneficial when it comes to signing games. When someone already knows you, it is much easier to strike a conversation and pitch a game!

Pini Shekhter

Be open to interviews, podcasts, etc. Otherwise, follow the publisher’s lead. Always be mindful of your behavior in public spaces and forums. — Adrienne Ezell

These last months, I’ve seen more and more publishing contracts specifying things like “the designer will attend two major game fairs and spend at least four hours demoing or signing the game”. I was surprised since I’ve always done it, at fairs, at home in game cafés and on my website, and always considered it a normal thing – after all, I usually enjoy it and it’s my interest as much as the publisher’s one. I think my online presence around my games is effective, I have some doubts about physical demos and signings, but who knows. And by the way, while I enjoy the contact at signings, I’ve never understood the point in having a game or book signed by the author, and never ask for it myself.

What is more problematic is what is happening with Kickstarter games, where one is expected to regularly push the game on social networks through the campaign. I feel a bit uneasy, always wondering if I’m not doing too much and becoming a drag.

Bruno Faidutti

Being that I have designed and publish my own games, I feel like I come at this from a very different angle. But I believe it is the responsibility of everyone on the team to do promotion for their games. That way every base is covered. Besides, I love that angle of the business.

Helaina Cappel

I find it really hard to promote my own work directly. So instead, I send out copies to reviewers and when they post their reviews, I share and engage in discussions when people comment. In fact, I tend to like discussions with others about a variety of games and, if it’s appropriate, I’ll bring up my work. I’m not saying this is the best way, but it’s how I can make it work with my personality. As for a waste of time, Reddit would be my answer. Never managed to figure that place out.

Sarah Reed

Promotion is best handled by the publisher. Their social reach should be orders of magnitude greater than most individual designers. I follow a personal rule during active campaigns: I will promote a Kickstarter campaign for any of my games once at the beginning and once at the end. I respect that my friends and family do not want to be inundated with spam about my latest Kickstarter. I am more than happy to write designer diaries, be interviewed, etc. – publishers should schedule this well in advance of the campaign to avoid the rush to generate content at the last minute.

Sen-Foong Lim

I think that as a designer it is really important to promote your own work, especially when you are starting out. The strategy that has worked best for me is dedicated and personalised promotion to individuals and groups, which takes more time, but is much more effective (and costs less money) than generic mailouts to faceless thousands…

Sam Illingworth

I’ve always done it, at fairs, at home in game cafés and on my website, and always considered it a normal thing – after all, I usually enjoy it and it’s my interest as much as the publisher’s one. — Bruno Faidutti

I am actively seeking the right boundaries on this and very curious to hear what other people will say. I could easily spend a good chunk of time every day interacting with people around Wingspan, and sometimes do, between social media and interviews. And cons can eat up nearly a week at a time. Is it an effective use of my time? I don’t know. It certainly cuts into the time I spend designing new games, but I also enjoy the interaction as an end in itself.

Elizabeth Hargrave

As a daily blogger (on BGG, for more than 8 years now), I like to demonstrate who I am and where my inspirations come from in words and pictures; I put a personality (for good or ill) behind the name on a box. I go to Conventions and Shows, if I can, to play and to test and to network and to socialise. So, doing all of this, which is what I love, is never a waste of time.

Tony Boydell

Generally I defer to publishers in matters of promotion. Some want me very involved, while others have an entire process that the designer isn’t a part of. Being available to help out at booths when a game is launching is usually a win/win for designers and publishers. They get to have an extra set of hand on deck and I get to see people enjoying the game for the first time.

Alex Cutler

Whenever I sign a game with another publisher, I try to put a BoardGameGeek Designer Diary together for it. I love reading them, and it’s a lot of fun to revisit the design’s origins and tell the whole story.

Peter C. Hayward

I guess it’s a bit different for me because I work directly for the company who publish the games I design and develop, but I’m generally happy to do whatever is asked of me to promote things. Sure, there’s the ‘hey, let’s sign a few copies at a show’ thing or doing interviews (which is always nice for the ego) but I also do stuff like make our How to Play videos, and write guidelines on how folks can demo games effectively – most designers aren’t going to do that, but they’re skills I’ve got, so I may as well use them. I wouldn’t say anything is a waste of time, because anything that helps someone is useful in its own way.

Michael Fox

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