Build Your Brand

Top 3 Must-Reads

  1. How to Effectively Research Other Projects
  2. 10 Daily Actions to Build Your Crowd
  3. It’s Not Kickstarter’s Job to Give You Backers

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These lessons are roughly in the chronological order that you’ll need to reference them.

24 Comments on “Build Your Brand

  1. Dear Jamey,

    How are you doing? I have few questions below regarding the timing of manufacture. Can you share your experience?

    1. Usually the design place orders to manufacture after or before KS campaign?

    2. Once your KS campaign is funded, do you get money from KS immediately?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Alan, you won’t know the number of units to manufacture until after the KS campaign, so you won’t be able to place the order until then. You’ll get the money from KS about 2 weeks after the campaign ends.

  2. Hello Jamey,

    After 5 months of testing my first game design with friends and relatives using rough home made prototypes, I finally feel it’s 98% of where it should be and I have taken the step to order the first prototype print from The Game Crafter (not sure if you have used TGC for any of your prototype designs). TGC also offers an option to publish your finished game through their website shop for a 70/30 revenue share.

    I want to have my game tested by people other than my friends and relatives in order to get more feedback and in the process create some audience and hopefully some fans before I decide to launch a Kickstarter campaign in the near future.
    (Q1) – If I am planning on launching a KS campaign in the near future, allowing my game to be sold through TGC shop right now will do more harm than good toward my future campaign ?.
    (Q2) – I assume games almost always can be modified and/or improved by small things such as artwork, new cards, new game modes, etc (usually suggested by game testers). When should you trace a line and publish your game as it is, and let any game additions or changes for future revised versions?
    (Q3) – I know it is very important to crate an audience before you launch a KS campaign, but how much time do you really need to expose your finished game design before you are ready for a KS campaign? I mean, the larger your audience the better, but this could take months. How large or how small can your audience be before you are ready?

    Thank you very much for your feedback.

    1. Gregory: Thanks for your detailed question! I think it’s wise that you’re looking for blind playtesters to get more feedback. I’m not sure that selling your game through TGC is the best way to do that, though. I would recommend finding other ways to engage blind playtesters (you can still make the prototype through TGC).

      I would trace that line after the Kickstarter project ends. Even if the project is mostly ready when you launch, you’ll still get a lot of great feedback from backers. If there are certain non-negotiable areas, be clear about that (and then prepare to get feedback about them anyway!).

      Yes, there are many ways to build your audience in advance of the project–I recommend budgeting 6 months for that process. That’s what this “Build Your Brand” section is for. :)

      1. Thank you Jamey for your great feedback.

        It would be my guess you also went through this newbie stage at some point in your game designer career where you created your first game design and just want to publish it ASAP. It takes control and patience not to let those feelings prevail, right? Now, you recommend around 6 months of “growth” before launching a campaign. Other than the anxiety of getting your game out into the world, I also worry others would copy my mechanics and concepts which I feel are an important factor that make my game unique. Is this an unjustified fear, and what can I do to minimize this risk, if any?

        Also, I was wondering how one game becomes one of BGG’s “most anticipated board game” ? I mean, are these games that are going through prototype maturing process and people are talking about them and waiting for them to get published? or is this mostly for expansions for already existing games?

        1. Gregory: Absolutely! Check out the lessons I’ve learned on my projects–I learn something new every time. :)

          I wouldn’t say that any fear is unjustified–it’s okay to feel such things. But yes, it’s unjustified. :) By getting it out there, it will be associated with your name before anyone else can “steal” it an make it theirs. Also, people are way more excited about their own ideas. Last, there are SO many games out there that there are probably multiple games that already do something at least kind of similar to what you’ve done. Get it out there in the world to show off what makes your game the complete package, and when someone copies your ideas and implements them in a unique way, you’ll know you’ve really made it as a designer. :)

          There are lots of answers to the BGG question, but there isn’t a formula for this. It’s just a matter of people getting excited about something for a variety of reasons. This is another reason to get your game on BGG and showcase what makes it unique and awesome-looking–you’ll start to build that buzz and hype for it.

          Good luck!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing all this info. I am excited about starting a second career as an online business owner. I love the crowdfunding concept and am almost finished putting together my 1st Kickstarter campaign. Your information has been very helpful. Thanks again.

  4. I’m going to echo 1terryshaw — I am so thankful for your insight, and blog as a whole! It’s a fantastic resource. My friends and I are still developing our game (extensive playtesting phase!) and planning for a KS in the far future.

  5. Hello Jamey, Thanks Thanks Thanks…
    Ive been working 6 months developing a new product while building the knowledge to launch it on KS.
    Ive looked at probably 50 campaigns, followed a few, backed a few, read LOTS of KS articles and learned a lot but I was still lost and confused. A friend who managed a very successful campaign recommended your sight and man has it been heaven sent. In the first day of discovering your information I’ve already fine-tuned a few things that would have otherwise been over looked and Im excited about the adventures ahead. I’m still a little lost but the picture is much clearer today then before. best part about your wealth of information is the confirmation of things I have done correctly so far. Shew! Another thing I love about your message to everyone is.. “It aint easy”.. don’t rush.. well sometimes rush.. but put in the hours of your project. Ift is worth it then you need to give it the love it deserves.

    Thank Thanks Thanks. Now — Im off to a million more hours of work before my KS launch day.
    Sincerely Michael Marrin
    Red is Dead coming soon!

    1. Michael: That’s great to hear that you’re put so much time and planning into your project! I like this: “If it is worth it then you need to give it the love it deserves.” Well said, and good luck!

  6. Hi Jamey, I’ve just finished your book in the space of two days. What a breath of fresh air.. I was seriously getting confused with what to do first and how to go about it and your book has given me clear path forward. Lots to do but I’m really excited about building a community and getting our game out there. Thank you for taking the time to do all this, much appreciated.
    Julian

  7. Hi Jamey. Thanks to your lessons our first kickstarter was a success. Thank you very much. Before we launched we created a facebook page for the game and now we have almost 600 fans.

    Now that we are planning our next game what are your thought on these alternative actions.

    1 Should we change the current page name to our company name and post all updates on that one page for all our games.
    2. Keep the excisting page, create a new page for our company and post all future updates of the new game on the company page?

    In a perfect world I would change the name of our current page to our company name and then post all future news of our games on that page instead of creating a new page and start all over again each time. What do you think?

    I am 3-4 months away from fulfiling the first game. If I end up changing the page name, when should I do it?

    Really looking forward to your answer.

    1. Petter: Thanks for your question. If I were you, I would choose option 1 and then create a FB group (not a page) for each individual page. That model has worked out well for us.

      I think it’s fine to go ahead and change the name of the page now.

      If you do this (or something different), I’d love to hear your thoughts on the results of the change!

      1. I ended up changing the name of all my accounts to the company name. Before the change I told the followers that in a week or two the name would change so they would know what was going to happen.
        Everything worked out fine and we continue to grow :)

  8. Hi Jamie, I’m in the middle building a solid prototype for playtesting/promo, I have this idea regarding building crowd and blind playtesting for my game … I’d like to see what you think … In the city I live in, Edmonton AB, there are 5-6 tabletop cafes, I was considering approaching them (managers) and offering to pay the table fees ($5) or even half, of people who come to their cafe to play games, if they would play at least 2 games of my game and review it for me. I can then collect their reviews and emails from review forms. I was thinking I could have a max budget for each store to “comp” people and a limited time the copy is at the store.
    Have you heard of anyone doing this?
    I don’t have the resources to go to Con’s and share my game, I was thinking this might be a cool promo/crowd build and play test idea…
    Luke Seinen

    1. Luke: I think that’s a brilliant idea! Granted, you’re not going to get the exposure of a reviewer with thousands of followers, but any unbiased review is going to bring a certain about of clout and trust to your campaign. You’ll need to decide if these people are playing the game to review it or to playtest it, though, as the focus is different depending on which one you choose.

    1. Here’s what I do: I gather quotes from playtesters to use on the project page, and I make it clear that they were people who were testing an in-progress version of the game (not reviewing a final prototype). You really want to wait until the gameplay is close to 100% done before having people truly review it.

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