Kickstarter Lesson #52: Write a Blog

4 September 2013

You may have noticed that the full list of Kickstarter Lessons is chronological. It’s a step-by-step guide of how to create your Kickstarter project, starting several months before your launch date.

Today’s entry is now first on that list, even before Kickstarter Lesson #1. Today’s lesson is all about building readership and content months–if not years–before you launch your Kickstarter project.

Why You Should Start a Blog Today

I started writing a daily blog over 6 years ago. That was before Kickstarter existed. At the time, I just wanted to give myself a little kick in the butt to write every day. I didn’t have many readers back then–just a handful of friends–but knowing that people were reading what I wrote was a great motivator for me to keep writing. Flash-forward to today, when, thanks to a strict regimen of 5 new blog entries every week over the last 6 years, I now have the #1 blog about myself on the entire internet. True fact.

Here are a few key reasons why you should start a blog, especially if you want to launch a Kickstarter project someday:

  1. It will teach you how to connect with people online. There are things you won’t truly understand about connecting with an online audience until you do it in blog form. Kickstarter project pages and updates are very similar to blogs in terms of long-form content, so now is your time to hone those skills. For example, by writing a blog (and reading lots of blogs), you will learn that people find it much easier to read content when you use lots of list an keep your paragraphs as short as possible. You will also learn how to respond to comments that are less than favorable.
  2. It will help you develop a readership and maybe even a fanbase. It’s a bit of a stretch to think that you will be able to convert your readership to Kickstarter backers. Some will support you, but probably only about 5% of your regular readers. But that doesn’t mean that a readership isn’t important. They may not buy your product, but they may share it or even just offer words of encouragement and feedback. If you’re crowdfunding a product, you need to start building that crowd well in advance of the project launch.
  3. It will give you a wealth of content to share. Content is good. Content establishes an online presence, a symbol of commitment, a legitimacy. It shows transparency and wisdom, or perhaps humor and a human touch. Content gives you something to share with people and something to keep them in the loop. If you don’t give strangers a reason to stay in the loop now, how are you going to get in touch with them when you have a project to share?

Why You Haven’t Already Started a Blog

If you haven’t started a blog, you’ve probably convinced yourself that one or all of the following are true:

  • “There are so many blogs out there already–what can I possibly add that’s new?”
  • “I don’t have time to write a blog.”
  • “I have nothing interesting to say.”
  • “I’m not a good writer.”
  • “Blogs are outdated–I’m already on Twitter and Facebook.”
  • “I don’t have anything to promote yet.”

These are all excuses. Find your angle, your voice, your unique perspective. Make time, even if it’s just 30 minutes once a week. Even if you’re not a good writer, not writing isn’t going to improve your skills. And sure, you might already have a social media presences, but a blog is a completely different format. It’s more permanent. It gives people a resource to access for years to come, not just the next 5 minutes.

It’s Not About Promotion

That last point–that you don’t have anything to promote–is the wrong philosophy. Get it out of your head right now that you’re here to promote something. If you’re reading this only because you want to figure out how to sell your thing to more people and make more money, these Kickstarter Lessons aren’t for you.

However, if you’re here because you want to find a way to connect with people and add value to their lives, you’re at the right place. Important things like funding and backers will come to those who focus outwards, not inwards. And that’s the exact philosophy you should take when you start a blog.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Happy Mitten Games. They’re still looking for their first game to publish, and yet they’ve been creating amazing content in the form of blogs and podcasts since early May. Other great examples are Today in Board Games and Cardboard Edison. (There are many, many other great blogs out there, but here I’m thinking of blogs that will someday have something to promote or share–or recently had something like that–but they’re spending many months simply building up invaluable content.)

But It Is About You

There are millions of blogs out there with no more than a few entries. The most common thing I see is that someone gets an idea for a very specific type of blog, they write two entries, and then it fizzles out.

The way to prevent this from happening is to simply write what you’re excited about. It could literally be anything. Keep your audience in mind, of course–write about the topic in an accessible, conversational way–but give yourself the freedom to write about what you want to write about. That’s the only way to sustain the blog. Don’t pigeonhole yourself before you write the first entry.

That said, if you plan on launching a Kickstarter project, a starting point for the blog would be to write about your product development. If you do this, you have to be particularly careful to write about your product in a way that adds value to other people. I see way too many blogs out there that read like daily diaries about a game. It’s not interesting to read about someone else’s game development unless you make it interesting. Give me something to take away from it. The two best examples I can think of are Ruby Cow Games and Hyperbole Games. Both Michael and Grant share their games in a way that adds value to other game designers.

Also, make yourself a part of the blog. It shouldn’t be an online diary, but make it personal. People much prefer to read things that give them a feeling of connection to someone else than something distant and impersonal. Write it in your own voice–it shouldn’t read like technical writing. Be human, real, vulnerable, and relatable.

How to Start a Blog

It’s not hard. In fact, it’s so easy that you figure you’ll just do it later. You’ll do it after you have 10 entries perfectly planned and written, and then you’ll launch and have a million readers and Buzzfeed will feature you.

Nope. If you take that approach, you’re never going to start the blog. Don’t put the blog on a pedestal. Just do it. Start it right now. In fact, if you start it right now (or if you already have a blog that follows the philosophies I’ve outlined above), I give you full permission to include a link to your blog in the comments below. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Go to WordPress.com and start a blog. It’ll take 15 seconds (maybe a little longer if you can’t find the name you want. You can always change that later).
  2. Write the first entry. Write about something that excites you right now, today. Something that made you think or laugh or smile. Something you think is worth sharing. Don’t write some epic entry. Just write a few paragraphs and click “publish.” The great thing about a blog is that you can always go back and change the content later.

That’s it. You can spend time picking the theme and the settings later. For now

Don’t Forget to Encourage Conversation

A major part of a blog is the comments section. This is where you’ll connect with people. Don’t turn the comments off. Don’t set your discussion settings so you have to approve each comment (if you have annoying commenters who are ruining the conversation, you can always block their IP addresses later).

Also–this is the biggest mistake I see today, even with blogs I love–let people subscribe to comments. If you don’t enable that function, someone might comment on your blog, but they have to keep checking back to see if anyone replied. They’ll forget to do so pretty quickly, and then the conversation dies. In WordPress, go to Settings/Discussion and scroll down until you see “Show a ‘follow comments’ option in the comment form.” Select that box. I’m pretty sure that Blogger has something similar.

How to Learn More

A few years ago I actually wrote a short ebook on the subject of writing and sustaining a blog. It’s a free PDF download, and it’ll take about 5 minutes to read. If you’d like a more in-depth look into the world of blogging, I’d highly recommend you read this.

Also, if you decide to go the podcast route instead of a blog, you need to listen to this episode of Funding the Dream and read this post from Jeff at Happy Mitten Games.

There’s also an article/interview about starting a YouTube channel and a great article by Todd Sattersten about building a platform.

Good luck!

146 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #52: Write a Blog

    1. Dale–Interesting (and potentially problematic). Usually you should get a notification e-mail asking you to confirm that you subscribed to comments–perhaps that e-mail is going to spam? Does anyone else have this issue?

      1. To confirm, I am getting notifications, I just got one. Just checking the ‘notify’ box is not enough. You have to confirm the email as well. I figured once was enough (I’ve subscribed to comments on other post here), but you have to do it for every single post.

        1. Yeah, unfortunately you have to subscribe to each comment thread you’re interested in. It’s really not a bad thing–I write a lot of blog entries here, and you probably don’t want to get every comment from every post in your inbox. :)

  1. 100% concur. I wrote a blog for 6 years (2500+ entries) with the goal of sharing my research and thoughts and wound up with a published book.*

    But I really found some good friends who have outlasted the blog.

    I’m getting ready to launch a game blog now.

    * the book is “Protecting Games” and the blog was playnoevil.com. lost to a server crash and corrupted backup.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you lost all that content, Steven. That’s rough. GoDaddy hosts my blogs, and I’m pretty sure they provide automated backups to prevent tragedies like that.

  2. Great post! I have been writing a blog for more than a year more-or-less following this philosophy (the less part being that I often succumb to writing giant blocks of text). After all this time, I’m still struggling to find an audience, but the fact that I am building valuable content for a future audience is what keeps me going.

    So, what are your thoughts on the frequency of posting? I know you try to post daily, but spending an hour a day to write something that probably only my wife will read seems overwhelming to me, so I usually do, like, one or two posts a week.

    (Also, since it was encouraged, my blog is http://www.cephalofair.com. I try to write intelligently and conversationally about game development of all kinds, as well as other nerdy topics.)

    1. Isaac–I think it’s great that you’ve spent so much time creating outward-facing content for your blog. I checked it out, and I like what I see. I subscribed.

      I don’t think frequency matters all that much as long as you have a fairly set schedule that you stick to. Once a week on a specific day is completely fine. I write three entries a week for Stonemaier and five for my personal blog. The personal blog ones take 30 minutes, while the Stonemaier entries take at least twice as long.

      Check out that ebook for a few ideas on how to get your blog out there in unobtrusive ways. i think it’ll help. Good luck!

    2. Isaac – Thanks for posting a link to your blog. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed so future notable content you publish should make its way into the Today in Board Games newsletter. Thanks for sharing!

  3. *waves hi* I know you’ve already seen my blog since you’ve commented a few times there :) Letting people subscribe to comments seems like a great idea – but the option isn’t present. Are you using a plugin of some sort to get that feature?

    While you’re talking about blogs, how do you feel about mirrors? I mirror my blog on BGG, which in some ways is pretty good. It means that I can tag games that I talk about so that people who’re interested enough in those games to have subscribed to them get a notification about the relevant posts which lets me see a good mix of people and talk to them about stuff that they’re passionate about. On the other hand I find some elements on BGG harder to manage and it probably hurts the conversation to divide my readers between two groups.

    1. Greg–I’m using a pretty standard WordPress theme, no special plugins. If your theme doesn’t come with that feature, perhaps a plugin would help.

      I’m all for sharing your blog entries on other platforms, but as you noted, if you post the full entry, you divide the conversation. I would recommend picking one place for the full entry and posting the title and a small excerpt at most elsewhere.

  4. Thanks for the mention Jamey! Your article almost exactly describes why I started GameDesignerChronicles.com and TodayInBoardGames.com. I wanted to get into game design in a more professional capacity but I realized that designing a good game was only half the equation. I needed to connect with other people and add value to their lives if I wanted them to be interested in my designs.

    In the long run I think I’m enjoying the “adding value” part more than my original goal of designing good games. I’ve built tons of relationships with game designers, publishers, and players over the past few months and have been able to help some of them on their journey to achieve their dreams. It’s a great experience!

    1. Roger–It seems like you’re having fun with the blog! I’m glad you’re enjoying it so much and providing an invaluable resource in doing so.

  5. I am gonna do it! I just realized that i made blog post for a friend today about subject i care much less then my kickstarter project. Now that kicktotal is ready i think i can upgrade it to blog.

  6. So I just finished reading the entire Kick-starter Lessons archive, which took me about a week because there’s just so much great content in there. This lesson though, really struck a cord from me. So I made a blog. Never having written a blog before, you were right it was a bit hard to start, and confusing to get things comfortable and nice looking. That’s still a bit of a work in progress but more importantly it is underway. Anyway, I have a kickstarter project that I’m hoping to get launched in about 7 weeks and there is SO MUCH to do in order to prepare for it. I just wanted to thank you for all the time and effort that you put into your Kick-Starter lesson series and it has been monumentally helpful in preparing me for all I have to do and helping me focus on what is important. Now you’ve got me hooked on Richard Bliss’ Funding the Dream Podcast, so I’m off to go listen to that while I work.

    1. Aaron–Congrats on starting a blog! Feel free to share the link here if you’d like. Usually you want to start a blog a lot sooner than 7 weeks before a campaign, but it’s better than no blog at all. :) Good luck as you prepare for your campaign–it’s going to be a busy September and October for you!

      1. True that I should have started sooner. I was under the foolish impression that 1 month would be enough time to advise and build hype for my campaign, but that was an arbitrary number that I made up based on no information. Now I wish I’d done it several months before, but the best I could do was just create one as soon as I read this article. It can be found at http://spacefrontierbg.blogspot.com/ if anyone is interested. And thanks for the encouraging words Dale. I’ll make sure not to panic too much if my campaigns don’t quite accomplish everything Jamey’s did.

    2. Aaron, keep in mind Jamey is somewhat of a superman. It’s safe to say, if you can accomplish 20% of what he has done in the tutorials, you’ll still have a successful campaign. Ultimately it’s you and your product that count, these tutorials just keep you from being your own worst enemy.

  7. So after reading this blog entry I decided to start writing and blog that I have ALWAYS wanted to write. I’m going to geek-myself-out here a little bit, but it’s a blog that explains and teaches chemistry, written for the general audience or those who may be intimidated by the subject. Now that I have a few entries I have something to be proud of! (LifeIsLikeABoardGame.com – the name is from an idea I’ve had for a long time now. Sometimes I feel like real life is a lot like a board game. So I want to write personal entries about that sometime as well!)

    And I started reading Chauncey’s blog above! Keep it up Chauncey! Jamey, thanks for putting the fire under my rear and getting this ball rolling!

    1. John–That’s awesome! I like the look of the blog, and I hope you’ve enjoyed writing it so far.

      If I may give you one tip, I would recommend adding more paragraph breaks. Big blocks of text are intimidating to read online. I know I don’t always follow that rule myself, but I think it’ll help you in the long run. Good luck!

  8. Thanks for the push to start a new blog Jamey! I have been reading quite a bit of content on your site for the last 3 months or so. I am looking at launching two kickstarter projects (board game and illustrated short story) in the future and your tips are ridiculously awesome. I hope you don’t mind a quick linkage to my newly created blog http://solomoncarlson.wordpress.com/

    Thanks again for all you do.

  9. I read your quick blog guide and a lot of it makes sense, even if I went against some of your rules :) Honestly it might take awhile to find my niche. I love all things nerd and love to talk about everything, but my true passion is art and gaming. It will be interesting to see how it evolves. Thanks for the subscribe and I look forward to posting some game design related stuff tomorrow.

  10. I help run a blog, and even though we started in March of ’13 (a few months before this post was published), the advice in this post is great. We are definitely moving towards becoming published designers and having a blog about board games prior to designing and working on them has really been a godsend. You learn what you like better, you understand what others like better, you examine the products you buy in a different light and that in turn affects how you think about your own games. It really is a beautifully efficient and accessible way to start the process of building a company.

    That said, you can check out AcrossTheBoardGames.net to see what we’ve done with our site. Anyone reading this who is unsure of whether it’s a good time investment or who is curious about how to get started should not hesitate to contact us via our contact form or via our Twitter account. We love the “pay it forward” attitude and we’re always trying to help others start their own gigs.

  11. As an aspiring game creator this (and all of your posts) have been incredibly enlightening. I did a Kickstart campaign for my band two years ago but I did not work on connecting with people and we relied on our existing fan base. We only raised a few thousand dollars to help offset the cost of our CD but this is a whole different ball game.

    Thank you again for all your posts

  12. Hi, Jamey – I’m about to launch my third Kickstarter and stumbled on your Viticulture project. Your drunken thank you video was so charming I plan on co-opting a version of it for mine.

    Thanks for all the time you’ve put into your kickstarter posts. Since the one I’m about to launch – for a documentary film – is the first one where I’m really trying to reach beyond my own friends and fans, I really appreciate all the valuable information.

    1. Thanks Rain, that’s very kind of you to say. I don’t know if it will help, but I do have one interview on the blog with a documentary creator. It’s near the bottom of the “KS Interviews” tab (look for “Bluebird Man”). Good luck with your campaign!

  13. Hey Jamey, thanks for sharing your advice, I found it very helpful. Even though I’m incredibly busy with product development I decided to take the plung and start a blog. Like you suggested, I’m trying to add useful content that people will find interesting rather than make an ongoing sales pitch. If you get a minute please check out this post and let me know what you think: http://www.geotorch.com/2014/09/11/what-nobody-ever-told-you-about-lumen-ratings/ Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks again!

  14. Hello Jamey,

    before I used to work in a Online Marketing agency as a designer, and it killed me watching how we would create social media content for the sole purpose of selling stuff. Everything tried to sound like the real thing but it ended being empty and soulless. We were faking the social media and networking experience.

    So till now I struggled with the fact that the things I would blog about (chinese language and culture, veganism), probably won’t be useful for promoting my kickstarter projects. But at the same time I didn’t want to “fake” my blog for the purpose of self-promotion.

    But this post kind of opened my eyes. I discovered your blog thanks to Funding the Dream podcast (which in turn I found thanks to i-cant-remember-now). So I can see your point about creating a meaningful, honest network of bloggers, and content creators, because on the internet you know where you start surfing but never where you will end.

    You definitely are doing a great job here on your blog and, at least, for me its being 100% useful.

    Thanks!

    1. Vicente: Thanks for your comment. I think so many people are still learning what you summed up here: “We were faking the social media and networking experience.”

      I’m so glad this post helped to open your eyes about what your blog (or podcast or video) is and can be. I hope you enjoy the process!

  15. After reading this article, I went and did it! Haven’t missed a daily update yet!

    Now, I would love to write an article explaining the importance of and best techniques for beta testing a product before beginning a kickstarter campaign. (Or before the end, if that first ship has sailed.)

    Would you publish such an article? All I ask in return is to drop a link to my own blog.

    https://whatmakesgamesgood.wordpress.com/

    1. Thanks for sharing your blog! That’s great that you’ve been consistent with your blog. I like the post, Good Games Avoid Work.

      I do already have a post on that subject (The Taste Test)–I try to keep it more general since this blog is about crowdfunding in general, not board games. Thank you, though!

      1. Beta testing and early access are worlds apart.

        Beta testing is when you take your product, give it to someone, and when they ask what it is, you say “answering questions would defeat the point of this test”.

        An example I would give is of a board game with printed rules, but the concept applies to anything.

        How do they open the box? Does it damage the product? Are they aware of the correct way to hold the product? Can they get it to function as intended? Do any of the labels confuse them? Do they notice everything in the paperwork?

        And so on. I’ve easily got at least 600 words of content on the topic, and it seems you haven’t covered this one yet.

        I promise to word it towards kickstarter people of all kinds.

    1. Sheldon: I think it depends a bit on what you want your brand to be. I have a personal blog that’s completely separate from this blog because they’re two separate brands. If there’s a strong overlap between your board game brand and your software brand, you could consolidate them onto one blog.

        1. Sheldon: Congrats on starting on a blog, and thanks for sharing it here. I like the formatting of the blog so far–you emphasize key phrases in bold (and sometimes italics), and you use lists, which are easy to read online. For the most part you keep your paragraphs short, but I think they could be even shorter in some places. One-sentence paragraphs are fine to punctuate a key point.

          I have one suggestion/observation at this point:

          I wish the entries were a bit more concrete and even personal. Currently they’re a pretty dry read, very technical. I think they could be much more readable if you shared your personality through these posts a bit more. You did this the best in the entry about how you built a company in 72 hours (though the paragraphs in that entry are so long they’re almost unreadable). Share your passion in these posts–convey why the topics are exciting to you.

          The posts are largely theoretical, and I reached the end of each one wondering what I can do with the information presented. How can these theories be applied in real life? How have they already been applied in real life, and what are the results?

          That’s my two cents. Good luck and have fun as the blog evolves.

  16. Hi Jamey, I’m about to start a weekly blog. When choosing your weekly subjects, do you order them in any specific way… like try to bridge your latest post with your previous one or try to gauge what might be hot topics?

    1. Jay: That’s a good question. It’s a mix of different things. I try to balance out certain types of entries–like, I won’t post more than one guest entry a week. If there’s a hot topic, I generally try to address it. But the key for me is that I like to write about stuff that is interesting, fascinating, and exciting to me. I keep a running list of topics and choose the ones that most appeal to me.

  17. I’ve got to say Jamey, this is a great blog post. Your frank, open style is awesome, and has helped me with my own blog quite a lot! I’ve been working on it sporadically for a few years, but have started to gain some consistency (ever the key point) over the past year, with much better feedback, which is nice. Cheers again, and I will keep looking forward to your awesome posts (while I trawl through the cool 180+ lessons!).

  18. Hi Jamey, I´m working on the design of a board game. I already have a blog of reviews, well known in Spain. My question is: Shall I create a new and specific blog for my project or shall I use my review´s one. Many thanks, love your posts

  19. Wow I am so glad I ran into your blog about the kickstarter tips. I have been working on a game for a few years, and have finally decided to branch out and get it published. Your tips are going to save me a ton of time (if time could be weighed).

    My blog is http://themorrisstandard.com/

    Do you think I could run my board game updates/ company through this blog or should I start a completely new one?

    1. Clinton: Thanks for your comment! I’m glad this blog can be helpful to you.

      Is your game thematically matched with your existing blog? If so, you could continue using it. If not, you might want to create something new for it.

  20. Hi Jamey, someone on Google+ directed me to your Kickstarter information and it is full of very interesting and useful stuff. I started a blog/website earlier this year to talk about the rpg which I plan to be kickstarting early next year. My entries have slowed in the last couple of months because of other stuff I’ve been working on for the game, but I wonder whether or not my articles fall into the ‘useful for other people’ category.

    If you were willing to take a brief look at http://www.starguildrpg.com I’d be very interested to hear your comments.

    Anyway, thanks for this amazing resource you are maintaining here.

    1. Alex: I took a look at a few entries on your blog. I think they add value to people who are very specifically interested in Starguild, but for everyone else, it reads like a private design diary. What are you hoping your journey will add to other RPG designers or fans of RPGs in general who don’t yet care about Starguild? Would you like conversations to spring up about your entries, and how are you facilitating that through the way you write?

      When you figure out the answers to those questions, try writing a few entries with them in mind to see how it goes. Good luck!

      1. Thanks Jamey, vey good points. My most recent entry on the 8th October has attempted to address this by generalising an issue I’ve found with game development into a form that may be useful for others.

        I may have to consider introducing WordPress blog software to the site so that I can allow comments too (either that or set up a Facebook page where I do stuff too?)

        So your comments are appreciated. Ta!

  21. Hi Jamey,

    I might have hit the wrong button – hopefully I didn’t shut off the internet accidentally! Anyway, I attempted to reply – via a gushing post on my new-thanks-to-you blog! Since that might have gone haywire, here’s the gush:

    Great coaching Jamey! I would add 2 more reasons to the “Why You Haven’t Already Started” list:

    1. You’ve never started a blog before and have no concrete idea how!

    As you say “millions…out there”! A newbie [a friend of a friend told me – it’s not like I’m a newbie by any means! Tut, tut and pshaw to that!…. okay, it’s me; I’m the example], said newbie can easily be overwhelmed just by the ‘which blog tool is best’ issue! A blog, like intestinal bacteria, can stick with you a long time!

    ///ok, ok, my intestinal bacteria is telling me you’ll say WordPress – but does anyone else have a differing opinion?///

    2. What if I set a title and tone that comes to no longer represent my point of view?

    Sure, today I may be all butterflies and unicorns but next year [or maybe in the next half hour; we’ll see what the coffee does] what if I’m all about head lice and boars? People, like socks, are likely to change every now and then; a newbie [not me, for reals] might be concerned that they unintentionally start off on the wrong foot – and then shoot themselves in said foot!!!!

    ///When I read your blog it seems you started off in one direction and have stayed on course throughout. Great job. Super helpful. Super hard to duplicate?///

    C. You’ll have to pop over to the new blog for this one ;p
    https://thebarclaymotive.wordpress.com/

    I’d really like your followers to chime in on this – along with you. Especially the shy, reserved, newbish ones that I KNOW are observing from a safe distance [ala Marlin Perkins, “I’ll watch from the relative safety of the helicopter while Jim wrestles with the anaconda in the swamp.”].

    Michael – Bear Games

    ///////////////
    There you have it. Sorry if I broke the world wide web, but my intentions were good. And, on the plus side, it might be good for everyone to get outside for a bit ;p

  22. Thanks Michael! I can certainly understand the fear of embarking on something new, and this blog entry is all about realizing that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Sure, maybe you’ll write a post on WordPress and no one reads it and you never do it again…but that’s okay. You’ve lost maybe an hour of your life doing that. Congrats on overcoming that fear by starting your own blog!

  23. Hey Michael,
    Good comment actually. :) So for a newbie you’ve done a good job to start! haha. I see you’ve started your blog too (and is that indeed wordpress?).
    I too owe Jamey a debt of gratitude for his incredible blog. And you’re right, it’s remarkable that he has started the blog with one train of thought, and maintained it for years, with constant, steady and reliably good content that whole time. Man, consistency reaps some rewards, does it not!
    That being said, if your opinion changes, I think that’s also part of the fun and interest. Unless of course you totally change topics. If you started off blogging about pollution and board games, then decided to start talking about world history, you’d probably lose part of your audience if you didn’t tie them together fairly well. But if, in board game design, you changed your mind sometimes, that’s all to the good. In fact, Jamey has often shown his changes in design, procedure and production in his games. He even wrote a blog post once called something like, “I was wrong and I can prove it.” If that isn’t a good title I just don’t know what is.
    So as Jamey says, maybe you’ll lose an hour of your life to a blog… or maybe it will evolve into something cool. You just never know until you start.

  24. Thanks Jamey and Oliver for the textual encouragement; it’s always nice.

    “If you started off blogging about pollution and board games”… Right? Odd squared!

    Designing a game is something my brain can do, and pretty much on my own [input from others is indeed golden, however!]. Building a full scale prototype of The Barclay Motive…not so much. The latest iteration is still too small even for an adult bike, let alone a passenger car. The hope is that success with games can equate to success with the vehicle. Having a large role in providing happy fun times + clean air for everyone? I certainly wouldn’t hate that!

    But you can see the odd angles it makes for. Maybe I should instead think of it as unique?! Unique sounds nicer than odd, weird, just plain loony ;p

    And regardless of what happens down the road, I find many of the gaming community – and quite honestly, the bunch who frequent Jamey’s blog – to be a super nice bunch. The kind of folks I’d enjoy hanging out with – and creating something new and cool with, as well.

    Michael – Bear Games
    And now TheBarclayMotive at wordpress

  25. Hehe, yes unique does sound a whole lot nicer than weird!
    But remember that even Steve Jobs said that (to paraphrase), you have to be nuts to do what we do. Who else would work so hard for something that seems so ridiculously impossible?
    There’s a fine line between “nuts” and “visionary.”
    I think it’s all in the manner of presentation and your drive to succeed (see what I did there?). Seriously, your persistence and carry-through on the project is the major point. With that in place, you’ll just keep learning until you ARE successful.

  26. Hi Raymond,

    Wow! That is one heck of a lot of good content you’ve got there! Looks like I’ve got some serious reading to do. Jamey – watch your back ;p

  27. I’ve now added a series of blog posts which are specifically more outward focused, all about my experiences in getting ready for a Kickstarter. Thanks again for all your inspirational stuff!

  28. Hi Jamey,

    What do you think of BoardGameGeek as a platform for a blog? It makes it easy to link games, users, threads, reviews and so on. Plus, we’re already at a good place to share our thoughts with others players and designers. I’m not sure if I should use it or not…

    For instance, it could also be good to post a thread exclusively for games under development as a ”Work in Progress” thread.This, way we could keep our blog for general topics (design, game development summary, review…)

    I can think of two negative points:
    1- You cannot chose the layout and theme of the blog.
    2- To comment, people must be BGG’s users.

    Any thoughts?

  29. Maxime: That’s a good question. I think BGG blogs are good, though not completely optimal. In addition to the negatives you mentioned, I’d add the following:

    1. BGG blogs aren’t as easy to find as non-BGG blogs. At least, that’s my perception. Google does include BGG threads and blogs in their search results, but I think the casual searcher/browser (on Google) associates them with BGG, not you and the brand you’re trying to build.

    2. I think the end goal of this type of content is to give people a home base to find all things related to you, your company, and your project. Having a presence on BGG is nice, and you can certainly accumulate engaged subscribers there, but I don’t think it replaces a website (even a website built around a blog).

    That said, I think the key is to actually do something–anything. So if you’re ready to start a blog on BGG today, do it. It’s better than not doing anything. :)

  30. I received Maxime’s comment in my email and popped over to say pretty much what Jamey said #2 [he’s awfully fast!] – AND – that BGG is a bit offputting in its ‘organization’. Useful? You betcha. Welcoming? Not so much. And wouldn’t you want readers to feel as welcome as possible?

  31. Hi Jamey, Just to say thanks for setting up this awesome guide. We are looking into developing a board game project with possible other side projects and the blog idea is a great suggestion, now duly started @: apollination.wordpress.com

    If anyone has any comments/improvements then please let us know, We’re at pretty new to this and learning all the time…

  32. Thanks for sharing your blog, and congrats on starting it! You’re off to a good start, though it’ll probably take you a while to find your voice. The biggest recommendation I can make is to break down big topics into smaller chunks. Instead of writing a really long entry about procrastination, write a series of shorter blog posts about procrastination. If you’ve found that you’ve already written a long entry, just cut and paste easy section of it into new entries to publish over the next few days/weeks.

    Also, your current settings for hyperlinks doesn’t make it clear that certain words have hyperlinks (they look like regular text until the mouse hovers over them). I’d recommend changing those settings to make it clearer.

  33. Ah awesome, thanks for the feedback. I’ll definitely make those changes. And yeah you are right, definitely still “finding my voice”, harder than I expected actually but really good practice

  34. Hi Jamey, I’ve just finished reading your Crowdfunding strategy book, bloody brilliant thank you. I have a project I was planning on launching early March but thanks to your advice, I am going to stall it while I build a following/audience. As it happens I already have a blog, http://www.theaussiebushman.com that talks about me and my husband’s crazy off-road adventures and the CF product I am passionately designing is perfectly positioned within the outdoor recreational gear niche. BUT, what I don’t get, is how or when or if I eventually reveal I am doing a CF campaign. Does my Blog kind of become my parent brand, like Stonemaier Games is to you, where your individual game products come in under SM Games?

  35. Julie: Thanks for checking out my book! :) It takes courage not to launch until you’re ready, so I commend you for waiting until everything is in place. It sounds like your blog is well aligned with the project, so I think it could work well as a parent brand (kind of like what I do with this website). You’ve probably seen on this blog how I mention my projects–usually as examples–but I’m not here to sell anything, which can turn people off. Rather, if you’ve built up a loyal readership, you have the opportunity to make them feel special by giving them the first peek at all or part of your project. They’ll be excited that they get the inside scoop.

  36. Brilliant thank you Jamey, your advice is very specific and most welcome. And I’m impressed you responded so quickly to an Aussie girl on the other side of the world, I guess that’s that personal connection you’ve been talking of throughout your book and lessons. I’m actually relieved to be delaying my CF launch, my gut has already been telling me I have not invested enough time into building an excited audience, I just needed permission to ignore my self-inflicted deadline! Thanks again, I’m off to write a post… Regards, Julie

  37. Hi Jamey,

    I think I speak for many commenters here in that your advice is certainly worthwhile taking heed of. As it turns out – you are not the first who advocates writing a blog – but you are the first with Game design as a theme. So I’ve already started one. However I’m definately going to take your advice (and that of your ebook) and try to do as best I can.

    The aim of course is to get a following so that I have an audience to get games kickstarted – but as you and the other blogger (Niall Harbison) have said – the primary reason for the blog should be to help and inform others, not to self publisize. That comes as a secondary benefit of helping others. I think the second most valuable piece of information you gave was to be yourself – most people can talk about themselves (some would argue too much! :) ) and it adds personality and a genuine quality to the blog.

    Well I’ve started one up. It’s in its infancy and can only hope to be as good as yours. But at least I’ve started….

    Keep up the good work

    Paul

  38. Paul: Thanks for your comment, and congrats on starting a blog! Your first few entries look great–you’re able to stay focused and succinct, which I think will really help you in the long run. Good luck!

  39. Hi Jamie! Thanks for all the amazing content and thoughtful advice. Not sure if we’re ready for a crowdfunding campaign, but we’ve been working on our game for a bit and I’ve done my duty and started blogging. It’s at our site: genrecardgame.com. Thanks again!

    1. Mateusz: Congrats on starting a blog! You only have 2 entries so far, so it’s tough to say much, but I’d recommend this: Use each entry to tell a story. The intent of that story might be to teach, to entertain, to start a conversation, etc, but the story is what will make the blog interesting. This is in contrast to your first entry, which just tells people what to do without any concrete examples. Does that make sense? You’re doing a good job with lists, though!

  40. You know, I think I might start a blog. It seems neat and simple enough to maintain, especially for the benefit you get out of doing it. I was never really into blogging before this–I never really read any blogs on a regular basis, and I never even thought of starting one myself. But now, working on a Kickstarter project with a friend of mine (we’re both teens itching to become the next tabletop stars), I’ve come across this blog. Thanks, Jamey, for opening my eyes to the many opportunities that the world of blogging (and more) has to offer.

  41. Hi Jamey,
    Id like to personally thank you for sharing so much of your hard earned knowledge on here for us aspiring creators. It’s truly appreciated!
    In honour of your advice I wrote a blog:
    http://www.thundervaults.com/single-post/2016/12/01/1-So-youve-created-a-worldWhat-next

    I had heard of the value of a blog before reading your article, but had always shrugged it off as something I couldn’t do. But after reading this I felt capable and had the drive within me to just do it!
    And I really enjoyed it!

    Thanks again Jamey.

    James

  42. Some years ago a game idea came to my mind. This is the time when I’m sure i will publish it on KS, so I started this long journey. I read your blog, what is really a huge help! Starting a blog was far from me. But no excuses :) So 1 hour ago I was reading this article during my way from work to home. And now I already have a blog and my first content:) Fantastic. It is a bit frightening (blog and to reach that my game will be launched on KS). I’m alone, have a full time job, and I’m not a native english speaker. So it will be challenging, but I’m sure it will be fun and very interesting too. I’m not in hurry, my goal is to create and share a very excellent game.
    Thank you for your articles and guideline!

  43. Thank you for the inspiration for starting a blog. I resolved to post M/W/F at 9am so I can help keep a schedule and have a bit of structure to things.

    I am still a bit unfocused on what I blog about. Mainly it’s just whatever I happen to be thinking about that day. Do you have any guidance for finding focus or does that organically happen as you go along?

    Also, my link as you mentioned in your post:

    https://lostdowntherabbithole.com/

    Thanks again.

    1. Orren: Thanks for your note. I applaud you for continuing to blog consistently even if you haven’t found a specific focus. For my personal blog, I write about a ton of random stuff, with the focus being on starting a conversation (rather than focusing on a specific topic). So I wonder if maybe you can look at your overarching goal of the blog since it seems like you’re excited to write about a lot of different topics.

      1. Thank you. I’ve been trying to do as you suggested and talk about things that might be useful for the readers. I have an eclectic mix of interests, but hopefully some people might find some of the posts interesting or useful.

        Thanks again for everything.

Leave a Comment

© 2017 Stonemaier Games