I've spent the last few days focussing on raising awareness of It's Alive! and Carpe Astra. Thursday & Friday last week were spent preparing images and text for an advert in the Greater Games Industry Catalog a US trade publication. Not sure how much good it will do but it's pretty cheap.
The next couple of days will be spent working up some web adverts for BoardGameGeek and Boardgame News. I've decided to go with the 160 x 600 add as both will support this. BoardGameGeek will allow Flash and (presumably animated) GIFs, while BoardGameNews will allow you to submit multiple ads that will appear on different pages. Both these venues are highly targeted (anyone visited either is definitely interested in games), though BGG allows regular users to pay to turn off ads, so ads there might be mainly targeted towards the more casual gamer.
Spielbox have also contacted me about advertising in their Essen preview. It's fairly cheap, but the combination of their web and print magazine will hopefully attract the Germans who will make up at least 90% of the attendance at Essen.
Designing an advert is surprisingly tricky. I need to come up with something that will attract enough interest for users to click on the ad for more information. I've no background in marketing so judging this right is pretty haphazard. Will I come up with something that piques people's interest, or just puts them off? Only one way to find out...
In other news, I think I'm going to have to get some part-time work once Carpe Astra has gone to the printers. It's Alive! has taken much longer to print than I was hoping and Carpe Astra is still a way off. Until now we've been surviving on The Wife's earnings from her job, but that's finished and she's not going to get another one until she submits her PhD in January. I fear with neither of us earning for longer than planned the savings won't last long. Working a couple of days a week shouldn't get in the way too much once Carpe Astra has gone to the printers (it'll be several months before I've enough cash on hand to do another game anyway). The extra money will hopefully eke our savings out a bit longer, until Reiver Games is up and running and The Wife is employed again.
In other depressing news, it looks like Carpe Astra is going to slip until after Essen. I should hopefully have sent it to the printers before Essen, so I'll have a few demo copies with me that feature the final rules and artwork, but I just can't get the game ready in time for the fair. Bummer.