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Multiple Publishers want a prototype

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 07/31/2014

I finished my first game a couple of weeks ago and began sending out submissions to various publishers last week. A couple have requested meetings at GenCon, a couple said no, but several have requested prototypes already.

I know its considered rude to send prototypes to more than one publisher at a time, so...have I completely screwed up? I assume others have been in this situation. I just don't know if I should tell the publishers I don't send the prototypes "sorry, but so and so is already looking at it".

Any input is appreciated.

Joined: 10/12/2013
I haven't yet worked with

I haven't yet worked with board game publishers, but I have worked with journals and book publishers. In the first case, they make it very clear you can only submit to one at a time, but a journal does not hunt for articles like game publishers hunt for prototypes.

In the second case, I've once had a publisher call me back about a book right after I sent it to another one. I told them "I'm sorry, I just sent it to XYZ. I'll let you know how it goes," and when I heard back from the first company, told them I'd prefer dealing with the second one.

In the end, board games are such a small industry that most companies have under ten people, and most of them are geeks like us. I'd call the one you're most interested in working with, telling them exactly that: "hey, you've asked me to send you a prototype, and I really want to work with you guys, but I've had four other companies asking for one as well, and this is my first time so I don't know what to do..."

Also, congrats!

Joined: 07/26/2008
I would be honest.

Either, choose one publisher and send them your prototype, and let the others know that unfortunately you already sent it to another publisher. Or let them all know that you've received multiple requests for prototypes at the same time. If they still want to send the prototype you will, but you want to make sure they are aware. If its someone you want to do business with they will probably be understanding.

KeeperoftheGate's picture
Joined: 06/19/2013
This is the board game

This is the board game industry. People are cool. They know you're new and poor, else you wouldn't be calling them. They also know that your game might not be their style, and it might be someone elses. I don't know of any publishers that would get up in arms about such a thing.
Besides, it's YOUR game. Do what you want with it. Do you want to work with someone who gets crotchety about who else has your game? You're not dating them, it's not like you're cheating on them.
Send away! And start with who you think you'd like most!

truekid games
truekid games's picture
Joined: 10/29/2008
In the hobby market, most

Despot9 is correct.

In the hobby market, most publishers would rather they be the only one that's looking at the prototype at any given time. They do not want to be 10 plays in, maybe including sending it off to remote playtesters, possibly having done some minor development tweaks, etc... and then be told that someone else has picked it up and that you've wasted 50 man-hours of their time because you didn't let them know that might be a possibility.

It is best to only have the proto out to one publisher at a time, and let the others know what's up. Some companies may be OK with others evaluating the proto at the same time, but everyone involved needs to know that's the case beforehand, or you'll potentially burn bridges.

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