Designer Diary: DTRPG Categories

This strategy will work if all you want to do is make stuff. You don’t want to do marketing, you don’t want to do social media, or worry about an email marketing list.

Mind you it will work better if you do marketing, have social media accounts and an email marketing list.

Everything on DTRPG is organized into categories. Every title can be in several categories as long as they fit. You can have something in Adventures->Low Level and in Other OSR Games, both being a valid description of your title.

Spamming categories, adding your title to categories that are not applicable is a bad thing to do. It is doubly bad, because should you decide to use category featured messages, you will be throwing them away on categories where the viewers will have little or no interest in your product.

So, you want to be in the most relevant categories for your title.

This strategy is about writing to fit the category. Find where the games you love to play exists. and then find the deepest category in that part of the category system. For example, Dungeon World lives underneath Apocalypse World Engine. Once you have found the lowest level, what you need to do is start to write to fit that category. I would suggest looking at how often titles are released, and trying and preparing enough material to get every other new title to be one of yours. This will give you a decent amount of screen space on the Newest banner.

Assuming you sell some of the first release you will have at least a few customers on your DTRPG email list. You can then tell these people about your second title, and repeat with each title. This should get more sales for each title in turn.

You can also set up footers. This way someone landing on one title will get a chance to see all your titles.

I would also suggest that you think back to site-wide sales that you have seen, such as the end of August Cthulhu sale, and try and create a title that features Cthulhu Mythos. This means that your can tick your regular categories and the Horror->Cthulhu Mythos. You will be focusing on the one category and at the same time trying to make sure you have a chance of betting swept up into as many site-wide sales as possible.

Each new release should drive sales to all your previous releases, so you are building a slow-motion snowball. Each new release will also add a few more customers to your mailing list, giving you more chance of selling more on ‘new release day’. The more sales you get on the day you release something, the greater the chance of you hitting the Hottest banners.

So, hopefully, you have a good showing on the Newest, and Hottest banners in your category.

The goal is to end up as one of the named publishers in your category. The deeper into the category system you are working, the less competition there is for the coveted 15 named publishers.

Once you have that position, you can then try and move to an adjacent category, if that works for your products, or to the next higher category. What you are doing is becoming a big fish in a small pool, then a big fish in many small pools, and then trying to be a big fish in a bigger pool.

The name publishers are selected based on value of sales over time, so all your work in the lower categories will contribute to your standing in the higher categories. It is just that the net of publishers will be bigger, making it harder to get listed.

But, this is just a factor of time. If you keep laser focused on building your presence in the one branch of the category system and you will get there.

…and best of all, at no point do you have to appear in a live stream, tiktok or youtube.

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