First, let me introduce myself, my name is Gaetan Lanthier. I am 42+1 y.o. (I love 42). I am a Chemical Engineer and a Web Strategist. I am a proud father of 2 adorable girls and husband of a wonderful wife! A couple of years ago, I started to create card games and tabletop games with my youngest daughter. Our dream became a reality when we found a company called The Game Crafter.
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The Game Crafter (TGC)© is a print-on-demand game publishing service that allows anyone to create, publish, and sell games without going through a traditional game publisher. TGC was launched in July 2009, and was an immediate success. TGC currently offers games for sale in a dozen categories, ranging from educational to party games. People from around the world are using TGC to create and publish games for public sale, and for private use with their friends, families, or students.
But more importantly, TGC offers to their developers the opportunity to grow their own business by helping them to promote their games. Asides from an API and a convenient and easy to use online shop, they do have a program called « Designer Table Sponsorship« .
How to prepare yourself for a TGC Designer Table Event
First, you have to create a game (or more!). That’s probably the hardest part and it will probably be the subject of another post. So let say you have designed a game and published it on TGC.
Second, you have to find an event, a convention of some kind where you will be able to promote your game and TGC. Because yes, you will become an ambassador! That part is easy and fun because it gives you a story to tell to your potential customers. Participants will want to know how it works, if it is complicated (of course it isn’t!), etc. You will engage in a conversation where no other competitor will be able to. And you might convince some of them to buy games or create their own! Know that you are a part of a community where game designer and the publisher are in a win-win situation. What more can you want!
Of course, if at the same convention, other game designers are also part of the TGC Community don’t worry, it’s even better! You’ll be able to exchange and learn even more!
The event doesn’t have to be Comicon or Gencon! A local community event will do.
Then, you have to comply to TGC rules for a « Designer Table Sponsorship« . Honestly, it’s mainly common sense. The toughest one is that:
- You must submit your application no later than 45 days prior to the convention, and preferably much sooner than that.
For the rest, refer to TGC Website for the details.
How to REALLY prepare yourself for a TGC Designer Table Event
I’ll tell you my story. My wife is a polymer clay jewelry artist (she is also a Chemical Engineer and a senior scientist)! In November 2012, she attended a craft show in Montreal, Qc. My daughter and I squatted a part of her table to display our first game « Thieves of Coins« . We weren’t very well prepared but we ordered 25 copies of it! We sold 15 and made beautiful Chirstmas gifts for the whole family and friends with the remaining games!
This year, we got ourselves our own table, just beside hers. But we did more than that. We contacted TGC to get a sponsorship. Their answer was quick and very friendly. Of course they accepted because we met all their requirements. So we received a couple of weeks before the convention:
- Three TGC branded T-Shirts.
- One TGC branded table cover.
- about 100 TGC brochures.
- Ten $5 TGC gift certificates.
We also took many actions to help us promote our event:
- Order multiple copies of each games you created. Have all of them tested thoroughly before the event. That will also be the subject of another post.
- Create a Facebook Event. It’s easy to invite all your « friends ». Many won’t come but you get interesting surprises sometimes!
- Promote your Facebook Event with Facebook Ads. For 30$, I got more than 200,000 prints, 93 clics. Not bad!
- Send invitations at work to your colleagues, your boss, even the president of your company (you never know)
- Tweet about your event regularly (I may have failed that part, at least on the « regularly »)
- Prepare a price list if you have more than one game. Make sure to include Shipping and Duties (if you live outside the US like me).
- Prepare a promo sheet. It helps people to understand your game.
- Make yourself nice business cards. It helps you connect.
- Organize a draw. We organised a draw. 5$ a ticket. If we sell 4, we give away a game of 20$ value. If we sell 8, 2 games. If we sell 16, 2 games of 20$ and 1 game of 40$, etc. We don’t make any extra money but we may sell more games!
- Make some Demos. We will have our own copy of each game to show to people and even play a game or two with them.
Finally, the hardest part is the waiting. Our show will be on November 16 and 17. I can’t wait to write about it and tell you how it went! If you live nearby, you are more than welcome to come (or to visit). If you happen to know someone at Comicon Montreal, send me a private message, I’d be happy to talk with them for next year!