Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Newbie P.O.V.: Advertising Your OSR Product

I am not claiming to be an expert in this field just something I've gone through the past few weeks with my own experince and having been a small business owner from before.  This is just one newb's point of view.
So you're done with your manuscript, you've navigated the process of getting a publisher account and uploading your PDF to RPGNow.  Now what?  It's time to beat feet and let people know about it.  Most of us have blogs to post our product on, but for some of us that is a small audience.  RPGNow has several ways to help get the word out about your product.  After all, they don't make money unless you do.

The first is to send out comp copies.  You can send them out to all their featured reviewers.  One click sends them out to all.  Doesn't mean they will read your offering, but it helps get some reviews on your product started.  Tenkar's Tavern is one of the reviewers so if you're doing an old school product there is at least one that is in the OSR.  In addition to sending comp copies to reviewers you can send out 150 copies to who you want.  You can create your own mailing groups to send these out or just do it individually.  Find some people who would like to review your product and get it to them.  Endorsements are good and may tip the balance of someone who is sitting on the fence of whether to buy it or not.

Another way to promote you product is through RPGNow's page impressions purchased with Publisher Promotional Points (PPP).  PPPs are earned, not bought (or at least I don't think you can buy them).  For each month you have a publisher account you get 10 PPPs.  If you signed an exclusive contract to RPGNow you get an additional 10 PPPs per month.  Then you get 1 PPP per $10 of product you sell.  You take these PPPs and purchase blocks of 2500 page impressions.  You have to choose which site you which to advertise (because RPGNow is one of several connected web markets that are connected).  Since mine was a fantasy RPG product I chose RPGNow and RPGDrive-Thru.

There are two types of page impressions you can purchase.  First is the home page impressions.  So when you or I log on to RPG your product will be featured.  Currently on RPGNow is costs 153 PPPs to purchase this.  I don't have anything near that and probably won't for a while.  And let me tell you those 2500 page impressions sounds like a lot, but they only last a couple days.  The other way you can advertise is the category page impressions.  So if someone chooses fantasy category than your product has a chance of popping up.  This is much cheaper to purchase costing only 18 PPPs. 

I bought the category page impressions.  One block for DriveThruRPG and two blocks from RPGNow.  They have a stat feature that lets you know how many impressions were used and how many times were clicked on it.  My stats are out of 2500 impression on DriveThru 3 people clicked on it.  This is why I didn't bother buying a second block.  Thought it would be better to save for homepage impressions.  On RPGNow I've used 4370 out of 5000 impressions and 18 people have click on it.  A little better, but it means only .41% clicked on it.  I think I'll save for homepage impressions, but it will be difficult to save that many PPPs right now.  Maybe when I get more products out there accumulating sales will I be able to do that.  So as you can see it's not an easy gig.

Probably the best way to get your product out there is send some comp copies out to your friends who will be kind to you in some reviews and send them out to others whose opinions you respect and hopefully have a good enough following to drive some business your way.  In this case if they dislike your product the worst thing you can do is argue with the reviewer.  It doesn't look good and you only end up looking like an ass.  Not everyone is going to like your product and that's cool.  But if enough people are saying the same things of what they dislike you should probably go back to work on it and fix the problem.  Always thank the reviewer either way.  They took their time to go read through your product when they didn't have to.  So even if they thought your product was crap, hopefully they will give details why and you thank them and hope they like the next one better.

I've been fortunate to have been blogging for a while now and got to know a lot of good people on the internet.  So far everyone has been supportive and it's been an exciting time.  Especially when you hear someone used your adventure or supplement and they loved it.  Like I've said in an earlier post, my expectations for my adventures are relatively low, but I plan on to churn out more and have fun with it.  I don't pay my gas bill with my profits.  I'll just get another bag of chips.


  1. FYI: your Atom feed is often messed-up. Possibly you're copying and pasting from MS Word? This is all I see in Google Reader:

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    <--[endif-->&lt!--[if gte mso 9]>

  2. THANKS for these behind-the-scenes insights into this process -- fascinating! This has been the most eye-opening and useful series of posts I've read in awhile. Thanks for sharing!

  3. All really useful points there. When I started out last year I struggled to find information. With Oubliette I found the two things that generated the biggest jump in sales were: 1)A Grognardia review and 2)Getting on to the top 15 products board on rpgnow. Although the second one is a bit chicken or the egg.

    To get a Hot Copper Pick a product needs to sell around 70 copies and to get a Silver about 130. I haven't cracked the formula they use for chart positioning but an element of it is month to date sales.

  4. If you need I would be happy to mention what you're doing on my blog if that would help (maybe not) and maybe others would do the same, it doesn't cost me anything to do it.
    Good insight into the business though.

  5. Paul > That's exactly what I am doing. Thanks for the heads up. I didn't realize it messed up the feed.

    Carter > I'm glad you find these helpful. It has been a fun and interesting process. There are a lot of others out there with a ton more experience, but I am sorta journaling my journey on here.

    Editor > Yeah Grognardia is sorta like Oprah of the OSR world. I should contact him see if he would do a review. And thanks for the copper, silver stuff, I didn't understand the amount needed. Thanks for input. Oh, btw you magazines are great. Really enjoy them.

    Lurker > Absolutely. Any little bump is greatly appreciated. I'll be sending you an email today.

  6. last summer i had a post inquiring about rpgnow sales and such, got some interesting responses. i'll have to find the link.

    RPGNow is more Old School friendly based upon what I've seen in their top 15 sales rank then DriveThruRPG.

    i try to cover most OSR releases as they come out. Some publishers don't do reviewer comps. Some I know I have no interest in, so I don't take the comp. Others I leave to review later (and don't comp until I'm ready to read / review) as I have a large amount of stuff I'd like to check out, but limited time.

    All that being said, OSR stuff tends to go to the top of the list of things to read / review

  7. here's the link: http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2010/08/sales-rankings-on-rpgnow-and.html

  8. Tenkar, thanks so much for the link. I just read it and there is some good stuff there thanks you.

  9. I really like Raggi's approach to advertising his game. Blog the hell out of it during development.

  10. Tim, you currently hold #1 in sales ranking at RPGNow... congrats! :)