I just got back from a presentation on DIY Distribution put on by New Media BC. It was a good session. Very entertaining, and some good information. It ended up covering a pretty wide range of topics relating to distribution in various ways. The take-aways as I see them:
You MUST be willing to give stuff away for free. This is already accepted gospel in the shareware industry, with free demos abounding. Lots of devs also put up totally free web versions of their games, and that's something I'm going to be trying out with AHL. There's so much more that could be done here. Audio, making of information (concept art, original interface designs, design docs), desktop backgrounds, etc.
Play to people's narcissism. Basically pointing out how a core component of myspace and a lot of the new web stuff out there is giving people the ability to show themselves off. People love to show themselves off, and if you give them the ability to create content to do so it will be used intensively. I've done this a little bit in the user pages created for every online Luxer. It's not totally customizable, but it does show off all the awards that people have won, thus giving them an incentive to play more to beef up their page. And I have seen people linking to their user page from their blogs, which is probably the end result I should be really trying to push.
DIY means you've got to go out there, find the press people, and hammer them. I've seen this in action as well. A large portion of the Lux reviews that have been written were a direct result of me directly contacting the sites out there. In general the web is huge, there's a large chance that people are not going to find you amidst everything. It's up to you to go out and find the areas that would be interested in your stuff and give them all the information you can. Of course, spamming is a big no-no, and will get people to immediately shut you out. But if you're a real contributing member of the communities you're targeting then bring the useful info you have and it can help it spread.
I snapped some quick photos of the presenters. On the left you see Shane Neville, currently working for Nokia, but with a history selling DIY videos of BMX stunts. On the right is Brooke Burgess, the dude behind the long-form narrative comic book inspired Broken Saints. Brooke brought a frantic energy to the presentation that made it all entertaining. There's another take-away: you've got to be truly passionate to spread your ideas.
It takes a village to raise a village idiot.
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