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5 Ways to Help Creators in 2020

Most writers, artists, and content creators are used to the feast-or-famine cycle of our chosen professions. This year has been particularly rough on many people, for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain. So I though I’d use today’s post to cover 5 ways to help creators in 2020, some of which cost nothing and only require a few minute of your time.

Help Creators Spread the Word

Like the creator’s posts. Share them, retweet them, and link to them as applicable. Let other people know that you enjoy the creator’s work. Help raise awareness that the creator even exists, and give people an idea of the sorts of things they create. Getting the word out is the hardest part of being a creative, and other people spreading the word can help creators a lot.

Leave a Comment

When a creator posts something, leave a positive comment. On most social media platforms, algorithms reward engagement by suggesting the post to other people. The more collective engagement a creator’s posts get, the harder the push they receive. Even on stand-alone blogs like this one, search engines will reward posts with higher engagement by ranking them higher in the results. Plus, most creators enjoy chatting with their audience.

Write a Review

If you’ve purchased something from a creator and enjoyed it, consider leaving a nice review. That social proof, the people do buy things from the creator and think they’re good, can tips the scales. Reviews help creators’ sales. Be honest, say something meaningful, but be kind. Even a short review with a 5-star rating can have a huge impact.

Send a Gift

Some people aren’t comfortable with things like tips jars or Ko-Fi. They don’t want to just give money, or find it impersonal. There are creators who use wishlists to ask for everything from art supplies to books they need for project research. It’s a meaningful way to support a struggling creator.

Help Creators: Buy Something

This is the obvious one, which is why I’ve saved it for last. Most creators will tell you where their work is available. Some, like my wife Katie, have their own online shops. Others, like me, link to places where their work is available in blog posts and social media updates. If you have put off buying something from them, and you have the means, now is the time.

5 Ways to Help Creators in 2020

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Journal

If You’re Looking for a Tabletop Roleplaying Blog…

A lot of people originally know me as the keeper of a tabletop roleplaying blog. It’s where I started on the internet. Although I was never the best at it, I was one of the first, and there was some inexplicable cachet attached to that. Although I haven’t been an active member of the community since (checks notes) 2009, it’s still the field where I make my living.

Periodically I attempt to return to form, but find that it’s just not worth it. I continue to blog here for personal self-expression. There is no expectation of an audience, which makes me appreciate the few of you that do comment and interact all the more. The RPG community has moved on to podcasts and streaming content. Blogging is all but dead. The return on investment isn’t there.

Yet I used to enjoy it. I think that given the nature of the tabletop roleplaying material I produce, a blog is a good fit. My work puts an emphasis on storytelling. The books aren’t heavily illustrated, and require people to actually read to get something out of them.

Since I’m currently revamping the business site anyway, I’ve decided to take part in this year’s RPGaDay challenge. Every day for the month of August there’s a one-word prompt. From that, participants are encouraged to write something positive about the hobby. It fits in with what I have planned for the site, so I’ve incorporated it into the site overhaul.

So if you want to see me return to the fold of RPG blogging, at least temporarily, head on over to Dancing Lights Press.

If You’re Looking for a Tabletop Roleplaying Blog…

If you enjoyed this post, you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Journal

I’m Grateful My Business Decisions Worked Out

To begin, I need to come clean. This post was almost a bit self-congratulatory, with a dash of salty “subtweet”-type gloating. Hopefully that isn’t how this comes across. Because I sincerely am trying to be better, I instead want to express that I’m grateful my business decisions worked out.

For years I’ve listened to comments that I’m doing things wrong. I don’t published expensive, full-color hardback books. My work isn’t in stores. The company doesn’t have an official presence on social media. I don’t attend conventions, trade shows, or other such gatherings. All of those things are considered part of the traditional path to success in my publishing niche.

Instead, against the advice of nearly everyone, I made a conscious decision to not be in the physical product business. Print-on-demand, yes. Carrying the expense of maintaining a physical inventory, no. Spending the majority of the budget on original artwork that in on way enhanced the book, no. Dealing with rising printing costs, shipping rates, and other variable expenses, no. Borrowing money to have the best equipment, latest software, and additional staffing, no.

I was going to do everything as minimalist and lo-fi as possible.

A lot of people laughed at me. Some still do. Through all of the bullshit that is 2020, however, my sales are holding steady. This year marked some of the best months I’ve had in the 4+ years of doing this full time. My wild ideas, crazy theories, and offbeat business practices, were designed to weather just this sort of storm. They are now panning out.

I just learned that one of the people that mocked me is in dire financial trouble. His traditionally-run business will likely go under. None of which has to do with the pandemic. He took out a lot of business loans a while back.  A couple of years ago one of his creators was hit with sexual abuse allegations. That hurt, and killed some books already in the pipeline. Last year he did not grind, releasing only one book, relying on back catalog to carry things along. Then 2020 hit.

This is not to slam that person. My choices absolutely had the potential to be the wrong ones. There have been rough months. I question whether I’d be better off on the road more frequently traveled. I am grateful that the panned out. They have helped me stay afloat and continue to grow through these dire times.

I’m Grateful My Business Decisions Worked Out

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Getting Results and Conserving Spoons

7:00 am EEST (GMT+3). This is the June 13 2020 daily proof of life post. Today is about getting results and conserving spoons. I’m up to my eyeballs in “personal life” stuff and dangerously low on energy. As such, I’m focusing on the tasks that provide the outputs I need. Everything else is getting a pin stuck in it. Some changes are going to be permanent, but I want to be less stressed and in a better frame of mind before I make any declarations. This is as much business management as it is self-care.

All of this is normal, cyclical stuff — immigration status renewal, taxes, yadda yadda yadda. But there’s still a pandemic going on, and what’s going on in America. I need to manage my physical and mental health. It doesn’t mean doing less, it just means being targeted. I need to be mindful of how I spend my spoons.

Which I why yesterday we just got the hell out of the house for a while. I packed oats and cut-up grapes, and we fed the ducks. We stopped at a store and bought drinks and prepackaged sandwiches.  There was a summertime ice cream stand open — just one, at a time of year where you usually can’t swing a show without hitting one — and got a treat.

It reminded me that the world outside of the apartment, outside the internet, outside of my own head is a very different one indeed. No non-stop arguments over what the Mad Carrot said or did. No worries about filing deadlines and paperwork and finances. Just sunshine, and quiet, and a little bit of peace.

Getting Results and Conserving Spoons

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