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Going to GTS 2009 to pitch games to publishers...

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InvisibleJon
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Hi All,

I'm going to the GAMA Trade Show this April. I'm going there to pitch my games to various publishers, and possibly run some demos. I've spent the past two weeks compiling a list of publishers. These are the companies that I'm going to contact in the next few days to set up "demo dates" with for GTS. (Source material: The exhibitor's list from Origins 2008) My intent is to get all of my dates for GTS set up, then spend the time from now 'till the convention making information packets and good prototypes for the games that the publishers are most interested in.

I'm turning to y'all to ask three questions:

1) If you've done pitches before (especially pitches at cons to publishers), what have you found that works well? What doesn't work?

2) Do you have any recommendations for publishers to pitch to that you'd expect to be at GTS 2009?

3) Are you going to GTS 2009?

If I can sell one game, that'll be okay. If I can sell two games, I'll be quite satisfied. If more than two games sell, I'll be ecstatic.

Any input is appreciated!

truekid games
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i've only gotten to pitch to

i've only gotten to pitch to one publisher in person... which is INFINITELY better than the several i've done by mail. even if you get rejected, at least you (hopefully) got to demo it to them, got to see their reaction and hear what they were looking for (for future reference), and if you get to demo it to them, you generally get your yes/no MUCH faster than waiting for their normal process.

I have, however, pitched to several game/comic shops in person to get them to carry things- successfully.

your #1 goal should be to get them to agree to a quick demo.
even if you've got a long game, if you can run out a turn or something -with them involved-, there's not much more you could ask for. know your rules inside out, you consulting your own rulebook is a bad idea. make it as easy on them as possible, know how you're going to lay out the demo as soon as you open the box, so it goes quick and smooth.

if they look constantly swamped by other people/customers/whatever, approach them and tell them you've got a game you'd like to show them, would it be possible to schedule a demo sometime when it's convenient for them? if they're chilling at a booth or looking bored, see if you can show it to them right away, and fall back on the scheduled appointment.

i cannot stress this enough:
Getting people to play your game, sells your game.

this is as true when trying to get the retailer to carry it, as it is when trying to sell it from the retailer's shelves. in-store demos sell more games than anything else, and i always provide stores with a demo copy for just that reason.

it's like concerts- people may show up at the U2 concert because they "love U2" and only own one of their CD's, but once they've got that "connection", that "i was there, i did this, i know", they're buying tour T-shirts and the next CD.

brisingre
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No ideas

Never done anything like this. Just posting to wish you luck!

MatthewF
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truekid games wrote:if they

truekid games wrote:
if they look constantly swamped by other people/customers/whatever, approach them and tell them you've got a game you'd like to show them, would it be possible to schedule a demo sometime when it's convenient for them? if they're chilling at a booth or looking bored, see if you can show it to them right away, and fall back on the scheduled appointment.

Yeah, the one time I went to GTS, most of the designers seemed to have scheduled demos with publishers in the evening.

guildofblades
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My advice, Don't just go to

My advice,

Don't just go to the show and assume you will be able to get any real face time with publishers at their booth. That almost never happens. Publishers are there to promote their games and present them to retailers. Unless GTS has fallen on really hard times, there is simply never enough time to talk to all the retailers the publisher would like to. Time to recieve pitches during exhibit hours simply doesn't exist.

Better is if you contact publishers before hand and try to set an after hours appointment to meet with them and pitch your game then. You are infinitly more likely to get their attention at that time.

Ryan
GOB Retail

InvisibleJon
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Good point!

InvisibleJon wrote:
My intent is to get all of my dates for GTS set up, then spend the time from now 'till the convention making information packets and good prototypes.

...and...
guildofblades wrote:
Time to receive pitches during exhibit hours simply doesn't exist.

Better is if you contact publishers before hand and try to set an after hours appointment to meet with them and pitch your game then.

I thought I was all clever with setting up appointments before the show, but I totally didn't think about *when* those appointments would be. (*smacks palm to forehead*) Of course they'd be after the show! I've been to the show several times and should have recalled this. Like you said, when the exhibitor rooms are open, the publishers are crazy-mad-busy; it's *their* time to pitch to wholesalers and retailers.

Note to self: Arrange appointments when the exhibitor rooms are closed.

Hmph. It's one long pitch-fest. (Am I really ready for this? It's so exhausting!)

Taavet
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Become Nocturnal!

So my thought, and maybe I'll do it when I do eventually get around to going to a convention, is why attend the event?

Just get a hotel room, pre-schedule appiontments, do whatever during convention hours (sleep, ect), then after convention host game pitching events for the publishers to attend. That way you don't have to pay for the convention, you have many of the publishers available in the same area, and it can be a good opportunity for them to relax after hours while still getting some business done!!

Sounds like a WIN/WIN/WIN to me!!!

Oh, and good luck!

InvisibleJon
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A valid approach, but I'm choosing a different path...

Taavet wrote:
So my thought, and maybe I'll do it when I do eventually get around to going to a convention, is why attend the event?

Just get a hotel room, pre-schedule appiontments, do whatever during convention hours (sleep, ect), then after convention host game pitching events for the publishers to attend. That way you don't have to pay for the convention, you have many of the publishers available in the same area, and it can be a good opportunity for them to relax after hours while still getting some business done!!

Sounds like a WIN/WIN/WIN to me!!!

Valid question, and it's an approach that may work. My concerns are:

* Of all the expenses, attending the convention is one of the smaller ones, with the flight out and the hotel room being the primary expenses.
* Being seen on the GTS convention floor affixes you in the minds of the people there as an industry professional. Just being seen is important. My attendance at past GTSes was very useful in that regard.
* You get to meet people, even if you're not doing demos. Since you can't roam the convention without a badge, your access to people may be quite limited. I suspect it'll be useful to be able to enter the convention and confirm later meetings face-to-face.

...aaaand, I already bought the convention badge =).

Taavet wrote:
Oh, and good luck!

Thank you very much. I'm optimistic.

Taavet
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Attendance

Yea, I would probably attend as well.

It's just that cheap/efficient side of me that would want to cut expenses as much as possible.

Being in business, especially if just starting out, it is vital to make as many contacts and get personal as well as product recognition. So i would definately advise you or anyone else planning to pitch things to go all out. The thought just crossed my mind and I figured I would mention it. Could also turn into a league of Designers sharing expenses, each taking a turn attending the convention on different days/times so that they could all mutually benefit.

Attending the convention and looking at the Publisher booths will also give good insight into what kind of products they want to offer, how they do business as well as other things which would be essential to know for anyone hoping to sell their design to them.

MatthewF
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In addition to all of Jon's

In addition to all of Jon's good reasons, there's also the wacky notion of supporting the show. It wouldn't exist if people didn't pay to get in. Just seems like leeching off of all of their membership fees to me, if you don't pay to get in.

InvisibleJon
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Commie!

MatthewF wrote:
...there's also the wacky notion of supporting the show.
Communist!

Seriously, though. That is a great reason. It comes so naturally to me that I didn't think to say it. (Comes from owning and running my own game store for several years. Remember to pay where you play!) I'm a big fan of voting with my money. (That's why I haven't shopped at Wal-Mart for over 7 years now.) The GTS is a valuable resource for people in our position, and I'd like to see it continue.

gameprinter
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Reread all of InvisibleJon's posts

+1 to all InvisibleJon's posts.

-GTS is very retailer-centric. (Sometimes, to the detriment of the show, I think. But then, I'm not a retailer...)
-It's hard to get face time.
- Being seen as a "playa" is sometimes just as important long term as anything else. Be there or be square, as it were.

That said, I'd rather try to sell my designs at GAMA than at NY Toy Fair. Toy Fair is a lot of sound and fury, but all the action is at the top.

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