A time-limited self-promotion

Around the start of this year I was laid off from my studio job, and by the start of February I had decided – possibly in a fit of madness – to become a full-time independent game developer. So far it’s been going well, but recently I’ve begun to think more about self-promotion. It’s no secret that the market for games is incredibly crowded and it’s difficult to get an individual game noticed, so a sensible approach would be to start putting myself and my work out there from an early point and begin building a proper online presence.

Unfortunately, I find this quite difficult.

Although some former colleagues of mine may be surprised to hear it, I’m naturally a very introverted person; the idea of publicly discussing my life and my work fills me with a sense of anxiety which is tough to overcome. I figure that millions of people blog all the time so it shouldn’t be a big deal, but the fear of criticism or ridicule can be overwhelming for me. I often worry that I’m not as knowledgeable as I should be, that I lack original ideas, or that I’m just plain wrong about things, so my instinct is to avoid saying anything that will confirm it to others. As is the case with many fears, the best way for me to deal with these ones is probably to simply confront them directly, so I’d better get on with putting myself out there.

With this blog being the obvious place to begin with that, I’ll try to get into the habit of posting on here with some frequency. Writing has a low barrier-to-entry, and blog posts are generally my preferred way of learning about other games and their developers so it seems like a natural starting point. Maintaining a thread on a game development community like TIGSource might also be a good idea eventually, but I think I’d like to hold off on that until my project reaches a point where I feel more comfortable with showing it off.

Keeping a video devlog on YouTube is another avenue I’ve given thought to but until I’m ready to show my game the videos would probably just consist of me talking directly to the camera. Although that format may work well for the likes of Tom Francis, without an existing audience I doubt I’ll find many people interested in watching me talk for that long without providing any additional content. To add to that, speaking off-the-cuff doesn’t quite come naturally to me, meaning that producing videos will undoubtedly involve some writing and editing, and probably become more time-consuming than just writing a blog post.

Streaming development live on Twitch is a concept which I’ve only encountered in recent years, with some great examples available from the likes of William Chyr and Brendon Chung. My expectation is that it shouldn’t cost too much time to switch on the webcam and microphone for a couple of hours each day, and by discussing the work I would stand to gain the benefits of ‘rubber duck debugging’ – the process by which explaining a problem or teaching a concept to somebody else helps you to improve your own understanding of it – without having to feel silly about talking to an inanimate object. There is an obvious downside however: the prospect of letting people watch me as I code is incredibly intimidating! Many programmers I know completely lose the ability to type once somebody is watching over their shoulder and I’m no different, but I would still love to give this a try someday if I can build up the confidence for it.

If there’s a method of self-promotion you think I’ve forgotten, why not leave a comment on my webzone below? What’s that? You say I’ve still not added support for comments to my blog? Sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of a lack of comments support. Also I’m entering a tunnel and you’re breaking up—chhhchhffffzzzz