We went to the Indiana State Fair a few weeks back, and while in the Commercial Building (roofing companies, cookware, and gimmicky products as far as the eye can see), my wife was accosted by quite possibly the pushiest mattress salesman in existence. Fortunately, my daughter ran away (bless her heart), and my wife had an excuse to flee.
This guy pushed all the wrong buttons. He was overbearing, didn’t give you space to breathe, and didn’t seem as concerned with what you wanted as with what he was selling. I disliked him almost instantly, and wouldn’t have bought a mattress from him if the alternative was purchasing a urine-soaked cot from an affable hobo.
I started to think about how this sort of “hard sell” online can turn me off of a RPG product almost as instantly. It’s great to love your product or be a super fan of a product, but when you’re recommending it blindly, regardless of what I really want, how am I supposed to trust you?
Similarly, if you’re a publisher, there’s a time to be proud of your product, and a time to listen to what I want (yes, you can do both). Listening before talking up your product can help you highlight what I’m after, and possibly save us both some time if it turns out not to be what I want.
And if your product isn’t for me and I politely communicate that fact, don’t turn into a jackass. If you’re polite and pleasant, I just may have a friend or friends that the product will work for.
It’s no coincidence that many of the RPG publishers whose work I enjoy and admire don’t come off as hucksters, spin-men, or shills. You want a sale, give me room to breathe, time to ask questions, and keep an ear open for what I’m looking for.