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Ron Weingartner - How to pitch to publishers

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Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011

A purple pawn article that's just been put up featuring Ron Weingartner, the co-author of the "Toy and game inventors handbook" - lovely advice in here from a genuine industry pro.

I must say that BGDF's Own(tm) jeffinberlin did his own series about pitching to publishers that was very well recieved as well. These two resources will aid anyone looking to put their game in a publishers hands.

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
How to Pitch to Ron

This should be called "How to Pitch Hasbro" because Ron is telling you about what his company expects.

I know several publishers and submitted to many more. There are two major differences in what they expect.

1. “The idea no longer exists on a sketchpad or the back of an envelope but in highly finished 3-D form. The inventor has what the industry calls a “looks-like, works-like, plays-like” model.”

The publishers I know want a highly polished game but not a model. As long as the game works well and the components are legible and well laid out they don’t care if its colored pencil on brown paper, yes I have seen submission that were given full consideration that were just that.

2.” While the licensee is deliberating over these factors, the inventor can do several things:
Pitch the same game to other marketers—possibly digitally or with a duplicate model,”

I have been told this is a no no unless there are special circumstances that have been agreed on which would be a rare exception. Why? These game companies spend allot of time evaluating a game before they decide to accept it, at least they do if it’s something they are interested in. You’ll get it back quickly if they aren’t. This time adds up and as you know T = $. If you pull something back after they have put all that time into it they won’t do business with you again just because you wasted their time/money. It’s not an ego thing it’s a business thing. Moderate to small game companies don’t have time/money to waste. It’s also true that the game industry is very tightly knit so if you offend a publisher they will tell others about it.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
I do see what you are saying

I do see what you are saying Darlius, especially in your 2nd point, I could see how that could work against you- at the same time I know that should I submit my game AtomPunk to a publisher, I will probably contact at least 3 - Emmanuel Aquin from DDay Dice for example approached (and/or was approached by) about 10 publishers all told.

so I think it does make sense to spread your eggs around somewhat - becuase I also know quite a lot of designers that are in the loop of "Waiting to hear back from the designers about the game I submitted a long time ago... :( ", but as said, i can see (especially as it is so tight nit) how it could work against you.

For the first point mind, I think the term "highly finished 3-D form" can be taken liberally here, the most important thing is the second part “looks-like, works-like, plays-like” - remember this is for the beenfit of "Toys and Games" not just boardgames, and as such the hopeful recipiants of your game need to have in their hands a physical object (all be it drawn by an accurate hand) that Looks like what it might look like, that plays like what it might play like, and what works like what it might work like. In boardgame terms surely this would be a "prototype" ? In which case, it need not be super-final (as we know publishers can add/change artwork and do the same with theme), just a correct representation of what it "looks like, plays like, works like"

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