I’ve been reading around a lot about the importance of building up a reputation for your brand. It’s not enough to just release your visual novel to the world, take a step back, and go “okay, let the readers come.” It’s like there has to be more of a push forward. No resting on your laurels. Not that I have any laurels to speak of yet. I’ve only got one game released. I have finally taken my biggest step towards becoming a recognized visual novel developer.
I’m not pushing for an extreme amount of recognition with this game, however. Tell Her a Story was an exercise, and an exercise that I will be eternally grateful for. I stepped outside of my comfort zone in many ways. I drew everything. You might wonder, “hey, you’re a writer who’s not planning on becoming a better illustrator, what’s the point of that?” The point was that I gained skills in art direction. I learned about it in a hands-on way. I read somewhere that a project lead should have a bit of knowledge in every…hm…”field,” I guess. Now, I have more of a grasp and understanding of what goes into being an artist (or at least, the frustrations of being a beginner).
I can appreciate everyone else’s talents so much more just by stepping outside of my role for a month. The experience was very enlightening. It also made me secretly wish, deep down, that I could truly become a one-person visual novel making machine. It would take me years to get my art skills to a level that I’d be happy with. Years to learn composition. Years to become a fanciful coder. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Typical excuse, I know, but I’d rather spend my time becoming better at my chosen craft. Not to say I won’t ever pick up a pencil from time to time. No. I’m just trying to say something that I don’t have the words for right now.
I went from having a few people read my work for proofreading/testing purposes (In This Dream of Ours and maybe my LemmaTV module) to having 40+ people download my first released-to-the-world project. And I’m happy. Even with such a small number of people having downloaded it…that’s okay. I’ve started to build more of a reputation. It’s funny that THaS turned out to be my first “HELLO WORLD, I AM A VISUAL NOVEL MAKER, AND I EXIST” release, but, yeah. I’m happy all the same. ITDoO will be the one I’d want to more actively promote. It’s my more serious one, and the one that more accurately speaks of me as a storyteller.
Speaking of storytelling, I wrote for Cloud in SusanTheCat’s game Kitten Crusade. Yep. Another way of getting the kaleidofish name out there. It’s a lot of fun to play. I’m thinking that for next year’s NaNoReNo, I’m going to play more of a helper role. I won’t dedicate myself to my own one-month project. Instead, I’ll offer to edit others, or write some scenes that they need to finish up their story. As soon as I saw that she wanted some help, I pounced on it (pun intended). There’s something fun about helping people like that, which was another reason why I wrote a module for LemmaTV. It wasn’t just about getting Kouji’s name out there (he’s the main character in ITDoO), it was also about being part of a team and helping them to have more channels to choose from.
I started this post off by talking about reputation. I don’t think that’s the right term that I was going for. Whatever I meant to say, I’m getting one step closer every day to reaching my dream. In a year or two from now, I’m going to look back on this post and laugh – in a good way. Because, here’s the beginning of my journey from “who’s that?” to something else.
I’m taking a short break before I dive back into writing for ITDoO and that mysterious question mark visual novel (see my Projects page). After this weekend, I will be all about finishing In This Dream of Ours, and releasing it either at the end of this month or during May. It depends when the NaNoReNo craze ends, because I don’t want it to disappear into oblivion amongst everyone else’s releases. Unlike THaS, I will push for ITDoO to be recognized elsewhere, even though it’s way out of the mainstream “typical” visual novel. I don’t make typical projects, and I don’t plan to, either.
Anywho! Talk to you all later.