I’ve been having fun creating missions on Empire Avenue and encouraging other players to check out some of what I’ve been up to.

I’ve also noticed however a bit of unhappiness, on the parts of mission creators, based on how players interact with the mission system. The most common complaint I’ve noticed is that a lot of players seem to take the eaves and run. I’ve noticed this too *but* here are some of my thoughts on why this does not really bother me.

Basically most of my mission campaigns have exceeded my wishes. This does not mean I always get what I wanted though. Sure I might not get the 100 likes on a page I asked for but usually I find that some players go above and beyond, and this balances things out. What I mean by this is that if I ask for likes some users also tweet about my page or share it on Facebook or Google. This is awesome. Likewise whenever I simply ask people to read something I usually get a boatload of +1s and other things.

This definitely encourages me to create more missions.

I’ve also found that direction promotion missions are seldom as successful as ‘sideways’ missions. The missions I have the most success with are the missions that ask users to look at a funny picture or read a blog about my latest adventures with my kids. These missions usually result in my getting a lot more attention than if I simply advertise a story or whatnot. I still do a mix of both of course but the ‘fun missions’ definitely have more impact.

I should also mention that mission creators should not ask for money or sales. If you send a mission out and ask 100 people to buy your book, you are probably going to see only one or two sales. While that might be disappointing I do not think it is that surprising. Some people might click the link not really understanding that you are asking them to buy it. Others might decide they will buy it but when they get to the site they change their mind.

And worse, the few people who buy are probably doing so out of guilt. Not really the way you want to establish a connection with them. Really I think what I’m hoping for is that I create enough connections through amusing missions that more people hear about me and my writing. And hopefully some of those are interested in what I write. I see the mission recipients more as the people who will spread word of mouth about my writing. Not the consumers for my writing.

What are your thoughts?


About brentknowles

Brent Knowles is a writer, programmer, and game designer. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s computer science program and worked at the role-playing game studio BioWare for ten years (Baldur’s Gate 2, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age), during most of which he was a Lead Designer/Creative Director. Now he writes full time. He has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies including The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, Shroud, Abyss and Apex, Neo-Opsis, On Spec, and Tales of the Talisman. In 2009 Brent placed first in the third quarter of the Writer’s of the Future Contest with his story ‘Digital Rights’.

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