I screwed up
I have no excuse. I just didn’t enter because I figured it would be a curated event where 10 games would get picked. I don’t make the type of games that typically win festivals so I figured “what is the point?” Well, it turns out nobody was turned away and there were almost 900 games featured. 900!?! “So many! Too many!” you probably say. But this festival was actually pretty well run and there was something for everyone.
A couple of people on my marketing discord shared their numbers and by participating (and despite not getting the “featured” spot) they still managed to get between 50-100 wishlists a day. That is not bad and I would totally take that. Top tier, cool-kid games got special featuring by Valve. They were even interviewed (you can watch them here) I have heard of those games got at least 1000+ wishlists a day.
All this is to say I totally screwed up by not taking the extra 10 minutes to submit my game to the festival. Don’t let this happen to you. I looked up the list of upcoming festivals. Luckily someone has curated a list. Here it is. Now, most of the events in the next 2 months have already selected featured games. Keep going down the list and find ones that are accepting submissions.
There are also virtual speaking events. In fact, in 2 months I am going to be speaking at this one.
About the only fortunate thing about COVID is that it has forced these typical in-person events online. I have been a big skeptic of in-person events for indies. I think they are money, time, and attention sucking affairs with low reach. How many people can you even talk to in a day? Not many. Yet indies seem to be drawn to them like moths to a flame. I bet the money you would have spent on flights + tickets + lost development time would be better used as paid ads with Youtube or Facebook.
Side note: If I am ever forced to host a booth at a live event I am just going to have a concrete floor and a card table and hire one of those classically trained pitch persons like the ShamWow guy! Imagine how many wishlists you could get if you had a guy like this demoing your game
Good luck out there and if you did participate in the steam festival let me know how your game did.