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How realistic is it to get published?

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Sucao
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Joined: 05/08/2010

Hey guys,

Let's just say that someone has a very good game with a working prototype finished. However, they don't have any contacts in the publishing world. How realistic would it be for them to get published if they were starting to network from scratch and basically cold call companies?

I think I have some games that can definitely make the cut. But not sure if it is even realistic to go for it since I don't know anyone in the publishing world.

Any advice?

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Jay Cormier has written a

Jay Cormier has written a good series of blog posts on this very subject on his blog Inspiration to Publication. Having just become a published designer for the first time himself, I think you may find his series interesting.

Hope that helps!

Markus Hagenauer
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Joined: 12/04/2009
The chance to get published

The chance to get published does not only depend on the quality of the game.
It depends on target audience, production cost, the publishers longterm plans, fitting theme (good for marketing) and licence, uniqueness and much more. And of course you need the luck to show it to the right person in the right moment.
But if you want to hear a number, i´d say the average is below 1%.
But this should not stop you from giving it a try.

mdkiehl
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1% to 100%

As others said, it can be hard to get published... but at least it might be easier to publish a game in today's growing game market than to publish a book (1/1000 to publish a book?). The game market really is changing in the US and more companies are cropping up.

Many people are also self-publishing. This might also become easier in time, just as self publishing books becomes huge with new technologies. So I think it really becomes an issue of how you want to publish, and how willing you are to learn about the manufacturing end, and the business end of things.

I think another option is for people to get together, to found new companies for publishing. There are dozens of designers in this forum alone, who could work together and enter the market as a team rather than as individuals.

Regards,
Matthew Kiehl

http://mdkiehl.wordpress.com

Sucao
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Joined: 05/08/2010
Thanks!

Thanks guys! Wasn't sure what I was looking at. Totally understandable that it's really hard to put a number or guess on publication. So thanks for doing that hard work.

EricInWisconsin
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Joined: 02/20/2011
100%?

Just remember, if you print it yourself and do all the leg-work, you've got a 100% chance of being published!

If you can take the time and have a budget for booth costs, get out to the conventions or find someone you trust who can get your game out there. Once you've sold some, the companies will be more responsive.

Kirioni
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Joined: 09/20/2009
Just like any dream

If you would have asked me three years ago I would say it was near impossible, but 3 years later I say it if very possible, especially if you go the Self-Publishing route (not the get rich route which is a different dream altogether). You have found this forum, so that is a huge step, on here you can connect with artists, play-testers, designers, the whole lot of them, and get advice, hard, real, not the kind friends give who want you to be happy, but the kind that people give who want you to be successful. So jump in, take full advantage of the lessons others have to teach. Above all learn when to believe and stick to an idea, and when to let it go. The rest, the hard work, if you are passionate will come together with effort and time.

MichaelM
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EricInWisconsin wrote:Just

EricInWisconsin wrote:
Just remember, if you print it yourself and do all the leg-work, you've got a 100% chance of being published!

If you can take the time and have a budget for booth costs, get out to the conventions or find someone you trust who can get your game out there. Once you've sold some, the companies will be more responsive.

If you go this route, then you should try to keep track and get permission from everybody you sell to to be able to send them email. That way you can build up a small army of sellers of your game for whomever might publish the games (including yourself).

Dimo
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Joined: 01/05/2009
In the UK I wonder just who

In the UK I wonder just who is buying games as I've seen shops disappearing all over the place, also games companies tend to produce in-house. The market is probably healthier in mainland Europe and the US but let's face it, game design is unlikely to make us much of a living.

t0tem
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Joined: 04/21/2011
Pah!Games that are varying

Pah!

Games that are varying degrees of crap need low production costs, right timing, a marketable theme and a stupid but cash-strong target audience, just like all culture that sucks need the same.
Just because 90% of the published games out there are alot worse than your unpublished is no reason to come crying.
If your game is good enough it will get published, if not then it's not that good after all.

EDIT: Oh, and I'm not sticking my chin out. God knows I'm not the next Richard Garfield, I design for fun. Just saying, some got it, most don't.

rpghost
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Joined: 03/03/2009
Is there going to be a glut?

I agree it's probably a lot easier these days to get published. It has a lot to do with the high demand for board games and the fact that a lot of small publishers have entered the arena. This kind of makes for a glut of board games though - which isn't so good for the consumer.

Anyway, for example my company Minion Games has published 4 games in the last year and a half that are from BGG or the Protospiel.org event. Small time designers all of them.

I agree a lot has to do with timing and showing the right kind/style of game to the right company. Sending me your role-and-move party game is going to be wasting my time for example.

Getting published by the big boys (mainstream guys) is probably harder then ever though. They mostly require agents and most of the agents just suck your money up to put you on a list of possible games to show these larger companies.

If you don't love the design and prototype parts as a hobby, I'd just not bother. If you enjoy this for the fun of it, it really shouldn't matter if you ever get published. Even those published may see only a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Nothing you can live off of.

Best of luck!
James Mathe
http://www.MinionGames.com

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Persistence beats quality. Art beats mechanics.

t0tem wrote:
If your game is good enough it will get published, if not then it's not that good after all.
A polite counter-position:

A persistent designer (who continues to shop his or her game around to publishers, even after receiving rejection after rejection) with a mediocre game is much more likely to get published than a designer who is easily discouraged who has a good game. Both designers are infinitely more likely to get published than a designer who does not shop his or her game around, een if it is the most brilliant game ever created.

My point? Whether your game is published or not is not a reliable measure of its quality. Persistence beats quality.

t0tem
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Joined: 04/21/2011
Yar persistance is probably a

Yar persistance is probably a virtue, but I am not a business man I am a designer and I can only work from my point of view; if I have made something I am very happy with I don't really care what the theme of the day is or if you need manga artwork to make it sell.

And as an avid player of games I can only speak for myself and the people I play with but we never make excuses for games that are sub par because the theme or artwork appealed to us (though it certainly can make me buy a game, fool that I am).

Traz
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Joined: 04/06/2009
really?

Mike said -
...[you should try to keep track and get permission from everybody you sell to to be able to send them email. That way you can build up a small army of sellers of your game for whomever might publish the games (including yourself).]

Hmmmm.... Hadn't thought of that. I've sold a number of my games, but I haven't kept track of all my customers. I'll have to reverse that trend.

As to getting published.... don't even think of going to The Big Boys until you've self-published yourself. This is not as difficult as it seems. Here's what I've been doing-

A- design your game
B- find a way to get it printed [not as difficult with POD printers today as it used to be - VERY good quality stuff available at reasonable rates now]
C- take your games to a local Convention and offer to run a table demoing your stuff [they are always looking for volunteers to put on events]
D- sell your stuff at the flea markets at the same Convention

Works like a charm!

Step E- helps to put it up on BGG [I'm slow on this, but I'm working hard on catching up].

Someday [hopefully] one of your sales will result in your game coming to the attention of The Big Boys and they will knock on your door. Or they won't. But you DO get the satisfaction of putting your game personally into the hands of someone you know will enjoy it.

It's a great feeling.

My next step? Putting up a website. Working on it.... ;-)

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