Welcome to this very new series of blog posts! In EXPOSED: The Game Behind The Scenes, we will be discussing several aspects of the processes that a publisher goes through until they actually bring a game to the shelves. In this first post, we discuss about pitching. That’s how your adventure as a designer in the board game world starts. And it is a long and painful one. When you start this adventure you need to be adequately prepared.
You have spent lots of time over your table designing this game, become a master of photoshop, playtested with a lot of friends and you feel that the time has come to go to the next step. You feel you have created a great game and it is time others get to see it too. So you decide to pitch your game. There are several ways to go about this, but the first step will (or should) always be the same. Research who you contact.
The Do’s and Don’ts
Start contacting all the publishers with no screening. Don’t send a party game to a publisher that makes heavy Euros. Don’t send a publisher a copy/ replica of another game in their line, expecting that they will publish it.
Try to define who is a good match. Study what each publisher brings to the market and pick someone whose range of products could include yours.
You have successfully found a handful of publishers that you could show your game! What now?
Just pop up at your favourite publisher’s booth, during a convention, without an appointment. They are most possibly very busy with other appointments plus running the booth. That barely leaves them enough time to grab a bite, let alone fit in their schedule a pitching appointment that they haven’t prepared for.
Send an email beforehand. Whether you want to arrange an appointment at a convention, or you just want to touch base, an email is your friend.
Ok so you have to send an email. Good! Where do you start?
Send your pitch and description of your game through a contact form or to a generic support email. It’s highly likely it will go unnoticed.
Try to find out some key info first, like, is the publisher you are addressing accepting submissions? Do they have a specific email/ person that you should contact? Maybe they have prerequisites and a certain process you should follow? Study what the publisher website says on the topic and act accordingly.
Now you have all the information needed. You know where to send an email, you have found what the publisher requests. What should that email include?
Tell any publisher how your game is the next Magic the Gathering and will crush all card games in the market. Don’t treat your game as your baby, publishers will know from the email.
Send a kind email that clearly states your purpose. If you found specific instructions you should follow on the publisher website, follow them.
And here are some general tips about what could be in this email:
- A nice pitch line: You are asked to sell the game, so find 1-2 sentences that will grab attention.
- A sell sheet: A balance between text and visuals is always a winner.
- A video: Some publishers prefer to watch a video. This could be especially handy this year, that conventions are cancelled. Noone is expecting to see an HBO quality video here, so just relax and present your game briefly. 7-8 mins would be ideal.
- A rulebook: You can always share the rulebook, which will explain the game more in depth.
That’s it for this week! We’ll be back with some more insights on our next Exposed series blog post!