There is Not the Line Between You and the Rest of the Industry that You Think There is
There is one thing that continues to be re-enforced for me over and over as I travel along and grow in experience in the table top industry and that thing can be summed up in a simple phrase:
There is not the line between you and the Pros that you think there is.
Strictly speaking that might not be true, you might believe that there is no line and that you’re as good as anyone out there, but I think that if that is the case you’re probably in the minority. Generally, creators in the tabletop industry are beset with a sense of imposter syndrome and the belief that somewhere out there there’s a gate keeper to being a ‘proper’ professional designer. I’ve not seen all corners of the industry, but I do think I’ve seen enough to tell you that it really isn’t true.
I think part of the sense of imposter syndrome comes from the fact that by and large game design is a self-taught process, there are a few courses, books and similar, but many of the more serious courses focus on the more lucrative field of digital game design. Even then, game design is full of self-publishing, freelance work and independent companies. There are very few markers to tell a game designer that they are ‘legitimate’ professionals. Making a full time living from game design is rare, as is winning awards, and there’s not exactly a union or governing body available, I’ve worked on the Osprey Games’ best seller, Gaslands. Gaslands is a huge hit by anyone’s standards with sales in the tens of thousands, it’s been featured on the TV show South Park and has won the UKGE People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice award. I also have two successfully funded Kickstarters to my name. Neither I nor the lead designer of Gaslands, Mike Hutchinson are full time professional game designers.
This divide, or lack of it, can come up when looking at promoting your designs. If you’re anything like me there are podcasts that you’re a fan of an have wondered about getting onto. I’m not at all forward when it comes to such self-promotion, in fact I never considered daring to ask to be featured on a podc