Looks like Settlers of Catan is trading Sheep for Celluloid…Yes, that’s the best joke I have…Yes, I know that no one uses Celluloid anymore…Yes, I know I suck, work with me here.
Anyway, according to Io9.com, “producer Gail Katz (Air Force One, The Perfect Storm) announced via press release that she has obtained film and television rights to Settlers of Catan.” Since Io9 is usually on the ball with this kind of thing, I’m inclined to believe them.
Can a Ticket to Ride movie be far behind?
For those that don’t know, SoC is the big board game of these times, the new Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit. You work on building a better civilization than your using specific resources. You get these resources through trade or strategic luck (I love that turn). It’s a turn-based game with a fairly short time frame, but addicting. It’s hard to play just one game of Settlers of Catan.”
The question is: what are they going to do with it? It’s a pretty straight forward game, but there’s a back story there that can (if they’re smart) be used in a bunch of different directions. Will they make an action-adventure involving pioneers trying to start a new life? They can take on a narrative similar to Lord of the Flies, where one group goes civilized while the other descends into barbarism. They can start mid-game with the wealthy forcing their will on the poorer groups, like every other Western made (think Road Barons instead of rail). Maybe a Game of Thrones style fantasy-political thriller? They could go serious or goofy, complex or simple. There’s a lot to work with here.
Board games turned into visual media does not have a good track record. Battleship stands out as the biggest bomb, or last year’s Ouija. Clue is one of my favorite movies, but that’s primary because of the great acting and clever dialogue. The plot itself is very predictable…but fun.
Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. There’s also my new novel, The Watchmage of Old New York. It’s based on my old serial at JukePop Serials, where it was one of the most popular stories OF ALL TIME!
Ok, this is a continuation of an earlier post, where I tried to convince people that gaming is the key to building promotional skills. Interested? Intrigued? In Sheboygan for the weekend (what?)? Check out part 1 before or after you read this (or you laugh at the memes).
What? You thought a cat riding a peanut butter and jelly sammich wouldn’t end up here?
4) Have a strategy and stick with it (unless it obviously isn’t working)
I’ve seen a lot of people play Catan, and they’re just all over the place with it. A little construction here, a little development points there, etc. It doesn’t work. You have to pick one strategy (based on your situation) and go with it. Personally, I like to build settlements and go for the longest road, but do whatever works for you.
When it comes to promotion, people sometimes get overwhelmed by the options. Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Pintrest, Reddit, Personal Pleas, Free Giveaways, Paying for promotion…so many options. When there’s a buffet in front of you, it’s hard to resist trying a little of everything (believe me, I know my buffets). The problem is that doing a little of everything is like doing nothing. Find one strategy and stick with it until it’s obvious that it doesn’t work. Give it at least 6 months, maybe even a year. Building recognition takes a long time. Be patient.
Don’t beg, engage instead.
5) Don’t Try to Tear Down Others, Just Build Better
Nobody likes the dick that plays The Robber. In Catan, you can use the robber to mess other people up, but it will almost always backfire on you (the only exception is when you use it to keep the leader from pulling too far ahead).
Remember rule #1, if you act like a dick, people remember. They will be wary of you every time you play from now on. People don’t always remember the good things that you do, but they always remember the bad ones (remember the John Pigfucker joke).
It’s hard to be nice all the time. When you put yourself out in public like writers do, people will insult you, shoot you down, and just troll for no better reason than to troll. You have to stay above all of this. There are tons of stories about people or businesses that got into flame wars and it dragged them down. Just don’t get sucked in.
Instead of rolling around in the mud, just build better. Stay your course, be positive and surround yourself with a network of positive people. Maybe it’ll work, maybe not, but it’s better than sinking into the quicksand of dickitude (it’s a word now!)
And get off my lawn…dick!
I think that the suggestions I make in this blog and the previous one boils down to this: Don’t be an asshole. This is a pretty good mantra for life. Say it with me now…”Don’t. Be. An. Asshole.”
Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!
I’m a gamer. I love German-style board games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Puerto Rico, to name a few. Oh, how I love gaming, and I think that some aspects of the games can be applied to real life.
I’m by no means an expert at promoting. When it comes to writing, yeah, I have tons of practical advice. I’ve been writing professionally for 15 years (can you believe that we used to snail mail copies of short stories to magazines?) and I teach creative writing. But with promotion, I just pass on the things I’m learning, with my own psychotic twist.
He would know…
I’ve been reading a ton of stuff on marketing for my novel and serial (and upcoming novels), along with advice from my publisher. There’s a flood of books out there right now (including tons for free), and it’s near impossible to make it without a solid strategy. I’m nowhere near the “made it” level. I hardly sell at all (though I blame this on my book being too pricey…no I can’t lower the price. That’s up to the publisher.)
Anyway, the more I learn the more I see similarities to gaming strategies. I couldn’t get this idea out of my head. I’ll get more specific below, but the key is: Be good, be focused, and don’t be a dick about it.
1)It’s a long game (from the right pov). build a reputation
Settlers of Catan is not a long game, and yet it is. No one plays just one game of it, and the people you play with are probably the people you’ll play with next time and the time after. In a sense, Settlers of Catan (and all games) is a game that goes on forever. People have long memories, and your actions in one game will influence all the games afterwards.
This means that you don’t want to get into internet fights (even if someone deserves it). Enemies are forever (think about Risk: Legacy…I’m looking at you, Osvaldo). Instead, make honest friendships. I’ve met some wonderful people in the writing business, going all the way back to my years as a journalist. Don’t try to befriend people just to use them. That’s a dick move. However, when you do find that kindred spirit, hold on to them and rise up together.
It’s so true.
I get tons of twitter “follows” from other writers. I only follow the writers that I have things in common with. I engage them in conversation, I enjoy their company. Even if I fail as a promoter and no one ever reads my books, I made some good friends.
2) Trade Honestly
In all games, I try to trade for mutual benefit. I realize that it might help someone else win, but it helps me in the long run. Again, don’t think of it as one game, but one short section of a longer game. With a reputation as a fair trader, I get more people willing to trade with me.
On the other hand, if I try to cheat people, people won’t want to trade, and I’m stuck without the resources I need.
Naughty Mr. Bean
This is doubly true with promotion. It’s something that goes on forever, so if you build that reputation (see above), it will come back to you. Of course, people will try to cheat me. I’ve had a few situations where I’ve promoted another person and they haven’t reciprocated. I don’t let that sway me. I just don’t deal with them anymore.
Firepole Marketing says that if you want people to follow/be interested in you, you have to give them something first. Offer a free story if they join your mailing list, etc. But be honest about it. Firepole is great when it comes to engaging audience, and I highly recommend their website (look at me, I’m giving them free promotion! I learned something, Firepole!).
3) Build a Strong Base of Resources
In Settlers of Catan, it’s important to gather resources through settlements. This gives you the ability to expand. No strategy works without the resources to implement it. If you go for longest road, development cards, or armies too early, you’ll find yourself without a sheep to stand on (or brick, wheat…you get the idea).
Just the same in promotion, you have to build a fanbase, and the way you do that is by giving (and hoping they give back). Without that initial fanbase, all your fancy facebook boosts and events won’t mean a thing. Engage your audience. Don’t be aloof. George RR Martin blogs almost every day, even though he has millions of fans and a ton of other stuff to do. He also has a circle of fellow writers that he plugs all the time. Neil Gaiman is always tweeting and retweeting other peoples’ tweets. Will Wheaton and George Takei both revitalized their careers through social media. If these writers and actors with a huge fan base do it, maybe you should too.
This is getting to be a long article, so I will continue in Part II.
Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good.
You can also check out my latest novel The Watchmage of Old New York. It’s a reboot of the serial from Jukepop Serials, which at one point reached #2 on their popularity chart. The novel is even better!