This came to mind while I was researching for my recent “Indie RPG Awards” article.
Let me give one bit of advice to our indie RPG people out there. Let’s pretend someone hears about your game and would like information on it. Well, some of you make it very difficult. If you don’t have any “product page” besides the sale page on RPGnow or whatnot, you’re doing it wrong. Let’s take Ave Molech. Morbid Games has a Web site, but once you get on it and try to find out information about Ave Molech, you’re screwed. The best you can do is find a link to an online store that has a two-sentence blurb on it. HTML’s free, boys, if you have a whole frickin’ Web site already take the time to put up a couple pages about your product, its world, etc. Same goes for Valent Games re: The Princess Game.
Even if your game is free you need to do this. It still takes a minor commitment from a person to download a big ass PDF and look through it. So even though the Dead’s site does a good job of just getting you to the game, it can turn off a casual browser. How about a couple paragraphs on what this is and why I might care? When I first was going down the Indie RPG list, I came very close to not clicking on it. “Another survival horror game, whatever,” I thought. Luckily the “Death and relationships” tagline got me just enough that I did dl it, and it’s really neat. But you’re shaving off your audience bit by bit if you don’t give them enough information to know whether they want your game or not. If they aren’t sure, you’re not going to close them.
You’re indie already, and getting an audience is hard. Don’t deliberately make it harder. With the Web, it’s pretty darn easy to get a message out there. If all you really want to market to is the other two dozen indie wonks at the FORGE, then fine, but I would hope most proud authors would like to see more people experience their fine work.