Articles Comments

The Douchey DM » RPG Industry BS » PSA for Publishers Part 2: How to do it right.

PSA for Publishers Part 2: How to do it right.

Note: This post (and the previous post) contain no content about table-top RPGs. While this is the usual subject matter of this blog, I’m writing these two articles as a service to RPG publishers seeking publicity, reviews and interviews. I can’t say all of this information is applicable to all new media, but it does set a good foundation for best practices. 

In Part 1, I’m guessing I came across as an asshole, but I think that was necessary. That first article was meant to chase away all the entitled douche bags. I don’t want to help them. This article is about helping publishers gain a little more success with their publicity efforts.

I have interviewed publishers or plugged or reviewed products on several occasions. Some of these are relatively prominent names who’ve granted my requests for interviews, but others have solicited me. What follows is a list of things that have worked on me in the past.

Be forthright with what you want.

If you want us to interview you, say so. If you want us to mention your Kickstarter, say so. We may or may not do it, but if you resort to deception or misdirection, we *will* let our listeners know. Don’t pose as a listener who just wants to tell me about a Kickstarter you “discovered.” We’re very suspicious of these, and unless we know the person, we almost always assume it’s the publisher or someone connected to the publisher.  

Research

If you listen to our show, you’ll know that we for the most part don’t review a lot of products, so if you’re sending us a product for review, chances are slim that it’ll get reviewed. There are exceptions, but generally speaking, people don’t listen to our show for reviews, as we don’t do them.

We DO mention new products that we find interesting or worthwhile, but we don’t linger a long time. There ARE shows that feature reviews in every episode, and there are shows that consist entirely of reviews. Going through a listing, like RPGPodcasts.com, will give you a long list of active podcasts, and you can spend some time listening to them and finding out who might be interested in what you’re selling.

If you happen to know that we’re running an L5R actual play and you’re Kickstarting a line of Samurai minis, guess what? That might get mentioned. But for this to happen, you have to know a little about us.

Also, if you’ve done a bit of research, you might save yourself some effort when you send out your personally crafted emails.

Tell Me Why *My* Listeners Would be Interested.

While podcast listeners tend to listen to multiple shows, and there is much crossover between audiences, these audiences listen to each show for different reasons. Listeners get different things out of Fear the Boot, the Tome Show, Postcards from the Dungeon, Saving the Game and Happy Jacks. If you’ve done some research, you’ll have an idea which show is your best bet.

If you just came out with a cool Pathfinder supplement, Tome Show listeners would probably enjoy hearing about it. If you’ve made an RPG adaption of a recent film, Postcard listeners might be interested. If you tell me why my listeners in particular would be interested in your pitch, and your reasoning is legit, I’m way more likely to consider it.

Consider a Go-Between

If you know someone who knows someone on the show, ask for an introduction. This isn’t because I consider myself too important to deal with you, it’s just a really smart thing to do.

Recently an RPG writer asked an RPG podcaster to “introduce” him to me via email. Had I received an email directly from this writer, it’s unlikely I would have recognized his name — even though I’d already read (and raved on the show about) one of his books.

Instead of getting this unsolicited email, I got an email from a podcaster I’ve worked with before, a podcaster who knows my show, and whose opinion I respect. When he suggests I interview this guy, I listen, as he knows my show well enough to make an informed recommendation.

Contact Someone *Besides* the Producer

Again, maybe this is an idiosyncrasy of our show, but if one of the other hosts mentions to me before the show, “hey, I have something I want to plug at the top of the show,” I’ll let them. All of the co-hosts, just like me, volunteer their time. If they want to plug something, they can do so, no questions asked.

I tend to get swamped with show-related emails. The other co-hosts do not.

Conclusion

Journalists, show producers, hosts, etc., are all gatekeepers. Whether they are paid or unpaid, in traditional or new media, they look at every attempt at publicity through the filter of “do my listeners/readers want to hear about this?” Understanding these gatekeepers and the audiences they represent can help you craft the right sort of effort for each outlet.

Written by

Stu Venable is the producer of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast and writer and editor of DoucheyDM.com. He is founder and director of the Poxy Boggards and a member of Celtic Squall. He holds a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Long Beach. He is a husband and a father. He hates puppies.

Filed under: RPG Industry BS · Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply