Welcome! I’m Charlyn Keating.
One of the hardest questions I ever have to answer is, “What do you do?”
In my career, I’ve been a programmer, writer, photographer, TV host, video host, book author, graphic designer, instructional designer, online strategist, game designer, social media maven, technical support person, copywriter, editor, publisher, hotel reviewer, and new media consultant.
Oh, and in college, I sold jello shots at a bar in the French Quarter.
Usually I just answer the question with one of those. (OK, usually not the jello shot one.) And If I pick programmer (or anything to do with developing apps or video games), I get, “You don’t look like a programmer.”
(I’ll bet you’ve gotten that one too.)
I’ve done so many things in my career because I love a challenge. That passion led me to do something crazy a few years ago. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
A decade ago, I left my corner office in corporate America to strike out on my own. I had been designing web sites and online marketing for clients like Disney, The National D-Day Museum, Hotel Monaco, Mobil Oil and Six Flags. I was a weekly guest on the #1 morning show in the U.S., helping people find their way around the Internet. I wrote a book. Then another book.
Leaving all that to start my own business was exciting and terrifying. But it paid off: within a few years, I was really having fun. I loved the freedom of working on my own while earning a great income online. I had a dream “job.” I was traveling the world, reviewing hotels for About.com, writing books, and making extra money from web sites and e-commerce. I was at the top of my game.
That’s when I did something crazy.
I put everything on hold for two years. I stopped traveling, put my online business up for sale, took out loans, and…
…went back to school.
I enrolled in FIEA to get a Master’s degree in video games. I imagined it would be a lot like undergrad, with classes, homework, and tests. Boy, was I wrong.
The school is run like a game studio. I worked on teams to create over a dozen games, including the emotionally epic Plushy Knight. I got the chance to talk to industry experts from LucasArts, EA, and Zynga, and hear from successful indie developers like Words With Friends co-creator David Bettner. Before graduation, I released my first game on the app store, Balloonatic.
It was an amazing, stressful, and ego-destroying experience. I worked with such incredibly talented people. We all regularly had our ideas, game designs, and code ripped to pieces in front of a roomful of our peers (and sometimes, industry VIPs). It wasn’t easy. But the two years I spent totally focused on making better games was so worth it.
Most of my classmates graduated and went on to jobs in the industry, working on AAA games like Madden 14. But I wanted something different.
Every aspect of making a video game, from working out a compelling and original design, to choosing and mastering the tools, to developing art, to polish, is incredibly challenging. But to overcome all those hurdles and still have a game that’s not a commercial or even critical success is so disheartening. Like me, you may also find that app discovery is one of the biggest challenges you will face.
I realized I could use my experience in online marketing to make my apps and games a success–and help you do the same.
Now, I don’t have all the answers. But I’m going to find as many as I can. I’ll talk to industry professionals and indie success stories to find out their secret formulas. I’ll find the latest strategies and try them out so you don’t waste your time and money. I’ll take you with me every step of the way, so you can learn from my successes and mistakes. Along the way I’ll talk about all the time management, quality of life, and productivity strategies I’ve developed over a decade of working as an indie in the mobile lifestyle.
Plus you don’t have to put your life, career and ego on hold like I did. What a bargain, right?