Hello faithful reader. The end of the year is typically a time of reflection and analysis so I only thought it fitting to end our first year of existence with a look back at 2011. It’s a chance to look fondly back at our site’s birth, what worked for us, what didn’t, and what heights and directions we’d like to head towards in 2012.
The Indie Mine was born back in late July from an impulse. I didn’t start 2011 thinking I’d launch my own website, it just sort of exploded within a very short time. It began with my other writing gig, that of a staff member at Nerd Mentality, a website run by friends and dedicated to all things geek entertainment. I’d been dabbling in playing indie games on the Xbox Live service and was floored by the quality of Zeboyd Games roleplaying titles. I even purchased my own XNA developer’s license with dreams of developing my own games, a dream that was quickly quashed when I remembered that stick figures are the extent of my artistic ability. It was then that I decided to support those developers who were able to make something they were proud to show off. I began writing a regular feature for Nerd Mentality highlighting one or two games at a time. I soon realized that my audience there was too divided in their interests to really draw them into the articles and began considering venturing out on my own. With a nudge from my fiancee, along with her coming up with the site’s name, I made the call to just go for it. Within 48 hours, I had a domain, a basic layout, and one or two articles posted and so The Indie Mine was born.
Those early days and weeks were quite the adventure. My appetite for improving the site was only tempered by the amount of time it took to figure out WordPress, acclimate to Twitter, and learn the other important lessons that come with starting your own blog/website. I jumped in headfirst and to this day I still feel the rush that comes with creating something that’s all your own. I’m still learning, I’m still being surprised, and I’m still loving it and it’s hard to ask for anything more from a personal project.
But I couldn’t do it all alone, and that’s where my staff comes in. It began with just my fiancee and I, and over time we’ve pulled in friends from all walks of life. There are two things they all have in common though – they’re all talented writers and they all have an appreciation for quality entertainment whether it comes from a major studio or from a lone, unknown talent. I’ve thanked them all numerous times over the past 5-6 months and I will continue to do so. This isn’t a business. We’re all volunteers here using our leisure time to pore through the incredible volume of entertainment produced by the artists of the world. I know that my staff will continue to deliver quality writing to help promote those artists and to direct consumers to what’s worth their time. In 2012, I hope to increase the staff size and keep us better organized to be as efficient as possible in bringing you, the reader, the articles you’ll be interested in reading.
I started The Indie Mine with the idea of promoting independent game developers. Gaming is something that’s been near and dear to me my entire life and it’s a hobby shared by millions of players and developers throughout the world. With the help of Twitter I began digging into the indie development scene by getting to know developers, journalists, and supporters and it still surprises me how much the entire scene is like a family. It’s really wonderful to see how supportive everyone is of each other. I think we all realize that that’s the only way the indie game medium is going to survive and flourish. While at first we only handled game reviews, we’ve begun conducting interviews with development studios and I’ve learned so much about the process and industry as a result. I can’t begin to express how much respect I have for these teams and individuals and it just serves as a reminder for why I started this site in the first place. A lot of these people are just like and you me, trying to live their daily lives yet still finding the time, money, and inspiration to create something on their own.
We’ve grown in other ways as well. While I started The Indie Mine with the purpose of covering games, I quickly realized there are other areas of entertainment where individuals were in need of recognition. We began a more extensive coverage of small publisher or self-published books and authors. Once again I was floored by the sheer amount of work being done by lone individuals trying to get their books out there for everyone to see. Frankly it’s way more than the current staff can handle, but it’s been really wonderful to talk to people so passionate about what they do. In 2012 I hope to begin interviewing some of these talented people and get them further involved with the site with contests and giveaways. I want to make The Indie Mine a destination that authors think of when they want their work given a fair and honest evaluation. I want readers to know that our site is a place they can turn to when they’re looking for that next great novel during a trip to the beach or a rainy day.
It doesn’t stop there though. Technically The Indie Mine also covers music and movies. In the next year I hope to give these two mediums the same treatment and dedication we’ve applied to growing our support of indie books and authors. In the end I want people to think of The Indie Mine when they think entertainment journalism and it’s my desire to see that we give all mediums balanced coverage.
I have other goals for our little site that are a bit more universal. Our readership is small, but with time and persistence I know it will grow. When it does, I hope to begin a podcast. I don’t have a particular format in mind, but I know it would give us more opportunities to reach a wider audience, and give us a different way of talking with all of those talented people we communicate with in written form. With enough readership, a site forum wouldn’t be out of the question either and would give us a nice, central place to discuss and debate the issues and topics associated with the indie scenes. Again I’m forced to temper my ambitions as I’m constantly reminded by friends and loved ones that building something great takes time and patience.
Finally I want to thank you, our readers. Though you may be few in number, we are all much the same. The same reasons my staff writes articles are the same reasons you’re here now. You believe in your own work or perhaps the work of a friend or associate. Or maybe you’re here because you simply like being entertained and can appreciate quality no matter where it’s found. No matter what brought you here, we appreciate you stopping by. I realize that The Indie Mine is but one of numerous sites out there doing what we do. No matter how many of us there are, there are still many more people out there working on a project that may never get the recognition it deserves. That is why we’ll keep doing what we do, and we hope you’ll keep coming back to bear witness. Thank you all very much, and I hope your 2012, like ours, will bring great things.
Warmest Regards,Brandon Schmidt Managing Director of The Indie Mine
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