1. Pin down every detail
    Tackle your business details and responsibilities with your team. Make sure you’re confident about launch dates, refund policies, product features, marketing direction, and promotional goals before spending your investment.
  2. Budget!
    Most indies invest a bare minimum of $3,000 to show at a convention. How will you prioritize your spending? The checklist has some ideas to get you started.
  3. Book your booth
    Every con announces, allots, and furnishes booths differently. Watch for deadlines. Consider add-ons like electricity, carpeting and Internet in your budget.
  4. Craft a Call to Action
    Decide on your main goal for the convention — whether it’s build a mailing list, promote a Kickstater, or just sell project. Then give your visitors a clear way to act on that goal before you lose their attention.
  5. Recruit assistants
    Your minions should be trustworthy, and well-versed in your product. Put their responsibilities in writing before traveling. Hammer out timetables and circulate contact information in advance to make sure everyone is on the same page when you arrive.
  6. Don’t count on basic utilities
    It might sound ridiculous, but thousands of con-goers bombarding cell towers can make things pretty crazy. Be prepared to adjust your pitch to work without internet access, cell service, or even electricity.
  7. Protect your Electronics
    Monitors weren’t meant to travel. Ship that sucker, put it in carry-on luggage, or buy one on setup day, unless you have a tiny piece-of-shit monitor you’re actively looking to destroy. Don’t trust baggage handlers with anything.
  8. Pack all the things
    Electronics require juice, protection, and output to larger screens. If you forget something, chances are good that other exhibitors forgot it too, and local supply will sell out by the time you realize it’s missing. Label your equipment and pack the minor stuff ahead of time.
  9. Mentally prepare yourself
    You can’t plan for everything. Be flexible with booth layout, anticipate a few hiccups, and hope your flight won’t be cancelled. Exhibiting is a rollercoaster — get ready to take on a tough challenge!

Game Dev Specifics

  1. Create a Game Demo
    Demos present attendees with the exciting visuals they crave. If you can’t showcase core game mechanics, collect feedback, and user-test on actual devices, then DO NOT EXHIBIT. You’ll only waste money. While your demo doesn’t require autoplay, you should play looped footage of real gameplay when it’s idle.
  2. Schedule press interviews
    Journalists are busy people. Some people get lucky and snag spontaneous interviews, but it doesn’t hurt to be proactive. Send email introductions before the con frenzy even starts. Butter up those journalists.
  3. Get the Gameplanner Ebook
    There’s an excellent 17-page guide from the Game Arts International Network on exhibiting and marketing your indie game. Read or download for free.