When people want to make creating a career, they often wonder when they will feel they are able to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”. I thought I’d talk about that today, because it’s something that was on my mind for at least a couple of years.
Creating regularly, consistently and producing work you are proud of is hard work. It’s not made any easier by a broad lack of feedback from everyone who looks at your work. If you’re an artist, you’re a little luckier – you can get people to post a comment saying “I like it!” on a piece of artwork relatively easily. But I wouldn’t call that helpful feedback that’s going to let you know whether you’re doing the right thing. For a writer, people have to actually read what you’ve written and that’s usually too much of a time commitment for a quick browser.
It’s also hard to know that you’re doing a good job, that word is spreading or any of the other indicators just based on a trickle of sales. It’s very hard to be sure whether people actually play the games they buy: full shelves of games that people have never played is far from uncommon! Even if they did play them, did they enjoy them? From a business perspective, there’s nothing worse than this situation – you know sales are happening, so you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing wrong. Is it marketing, is it the product, is it the cover image, is it that no-one wants to pay by card on an indie website?
I think the important thing is to keep going. Keep making the best material you can every day, keep releasing new things for people to enjoy. It’s gruelling, probably the hardest thing of all for me, but it’s ultimately allowed me to glimpse that light at the end of the tunnel.
Every year, more people hear about what we’re doing and pay attention. All I can think to do is keep trying.
P.S. If you read this far and there are indie RPGs (not just talking about SoV!) you like, tell the creator. Believe me, it’s not something we hear often at all!