Skip to Content

Sending multiple submissions at the same time

15 replies [Last post]
larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008

I almost finished my publisher shopping. I intended to send all my submission at once to the publishers that fit with my game's style. But some publisher ask that you do not submit to other publisher while they are reviewing your game.

The problem is that it can sometimes take up to 4 month before accepting/rejecting a submission. So if I do it 1 publisher at a time, it will take years.

So wondered if people sent their submission one at a time or all at once. I could also exclude these restrictive publishers from the first batch and if I get rejected everywhere else, them send it to them.

theauthorm
Offline
Joined: 01/11/2012
There's a correct answer and a practical answer.

There's a correct answer and a practical answer.

First, irregardless of your approach, the process is likely to take years. Patience and Persistence are required in superhuman amounts for the publishing process. This isn't really in response to your question, it's just important to know how important it is. If a publisher doesn't take simultaneous submissions, and they like your game, and you get it picked up by someone else, it's likely to sour your relation with that publisher a little bit.

However, you have to ask yourself, if you get your game published by one publisher, are you going to be concerned with how a different publisher feels? This is actually a legitimate question. You don't want to sacrifice Days of Wonder for Paul's Discount Game Makerz (or whatever), but it might be fine for you to risk your game against Fantasy Flight. I think most designers would be happy with one or the other at the expense of both. Plus if you develop a successful track record of games, I think most companies wold overlook that you had once sent a simultaneous submission.

The practical answer, however, is that most companies will reject you, most companies will reject you without even telling you. Most companies reject everyone, from the very best to the very worst. The top designers in the world get rejected all of the time. Most of the historic "great games" were rejected out of hand and only published when the designer did it themselves. In the face of the staggering probability stacked against game designers, I think the issue of getting two acceptance letters is a rare and minor problem.

It's not pessimistic, and you should never stop trying. You have an awesome game! It jut needs to hit the right company and the right moment under the right circumstances; it's just unlikely to happen twice within a short period of time.

melx
Offline
Joined: 11/13/2008
I think that sometimes there

I think that sometimes there is also a little bit difference between sending the submissions or sending Your prototype for checking if already demanded by publisher. In second case it is not good idea to send it to the second publisher but tell them that the game is checked out by other company.

What others think?

jeffinberlin
Offline
Joined: 07/29/2008
melx wrote:I think that

melx wrote:
I think that sometimes there is also a little bit difference between sending the submissions or sending Your prototype for checking if already demanded by publisher. In second case it is not good idea to send it to the second publisher but tell them that the game is checked out by other company.

What others think?

"Submission" means "prototype", I believe.

Yes, there are publishers who want a prototype exclusively, and it is extremely difficult to wait while they test it. 4 months is actually not that long--oftentimes it can be a year. You can negotiate this just like you can with a contract. My advice, however, would be to be open and honest. The gaming hobby is a small one, and any deceptive behavior on your part might cause you problems later. Unless, of course, you only plan to publish one game in your life, or you plan to stick with one publisher.

Either way, I believe in conducting my business ethically, even if that doesn't reflect the world in which we live.

I always look at my goals with the game: if I want it published by Publisher X, who wants to test it exclusively, and has the widest distribution and best reputation for this market, then I should do it and be patient. Or I can "go fishing" with all the publishers who don't need prototypes exclusively and see if any of those "bite."

Either way, waiting is the hardest part. But it's not unprofessional to ask about the game's status every 3 months or so, and to ask about their playtesting schedule, although this can be delayed--after all, they have a lot of other business to do besides testing prototypes. Some companies, however, have specific times of year in which they test games (or certain types of games).

Good luck!

MondaysHero
Offline
Joined: 07/08/2011
Query letter

There is also nothing wrong with sending a query letter listing all of the games on one page. That way, say you have ten games and zman is your choice. If you send a query, ge may say " gosh, not ANOTHER zombie game! But that game about Battle Pickles is something I've been looking for for years! Then you know the ONE game he'll want to look at first. Plus, when it hits his desk he'll be more likely to open it right away when he sees the words battle pickles on the cover. Hrm. Battle pickles. That gives me an idea...

GiggleboxGames
GiggleboxGames's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/04/2012
Publishing

MondaysHero raises excellent points. I recall another forum thread about a book publisher desiring to enter the game market. A few of the same conventions do apply. Although less often a significant consideration in the game market, book publishers evaluate the future potential of an author. Content is important but less critical. Books can be substantially rewritten while in edit. Unless extraordinary, a single book or game typically has a finite life cycle. It may be sold for many years but usually has only one peak. Book publishers leverage the potential of the author becoming popular and introducing a stream of new works. Risk is high and profit too low to bank on a one hit wonder. Acquiring a publisher is difficult, even more so without demonstrating long-term potential.

This does tend to be less of a factor with hobby game publishers. The objective is often expanding their line instead of leveraging the potential success of individual designers. Listing all of your games will demonstrate commitment and a progression of expertise. A publisher requesting an exclusive submission doesn’t sound fair. There is no obligation on their part and doing so can be detrimental to the designer. Other games are published during the interim, very likely impacting the demand for certain themes.

Common for most industries, exclusivity is secured by contract and mutual agreement. It certainly isn’t the case that publishers exclusively review one game at a time before accepting another submission. Indicative of a highly competitive market, publishers such as these desire an edge at the expense of the designer. They could at least offer a preliminary review in a timely manner, 30-days for example, and provide a letter of intent if an exclusive detailed review is desired. Don’t discount the value of publishers that impose restrictions. Pursuing those without limitations first may prove to be a better choice.

http://www.giggleboxgames.com

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:"Submission" means

Quote:
"Submission" means "prototype", I believe.

No, I mean query letter. Sending prototype is the second step.

Maybe if 2 publisher ask for a prototype, I should inform them that another publisher asked for it first.

On BGG, most people said that I should do it one at a time.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/8810187#8810187

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
I think I'll use a

I think I'll use a combination of both methods. I have from 5 to 10 publisher that could fit well for my game. Maybe I'll send it in small groups of 2 or 3 publisher at a time in priority order.

Izraphael
Izraphael's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/29/2010
I agree (mostly) with

I agree (mostly) with theauthorm.
Imho, it also strongly depends on the involved companies size and on specific, personal contacts with people in the company.
My rallying cry is "be clear and honest".
If I have a new game, I first talk (preferably during a fair) to the publishers I personally know, if I think that my game may be interesting for their company. If one of them likes the game and tries it, I immediatly define details about showing the game to other publishers, and this is also a good way to take their pulse. If they say "please, wait a bit before showing the game to someone else", usually it's good.
There are companies that "block" everything. This is really unkind in my opinion, and often is a way to prevent competitors to receive potential good games. I think that, once they are "spotted", they should be the very last resource for a designer :)
Anyway... after checking my "favourite" contacts, I send an information pack (overview, # of players, playing time, materials, and no full rules: something quick to read) to many publishers at the same time.
With different time, they will reply or not. To the ones that want to read rules\play the game\meet me, I start to talk about everything - including the "showing the game to other publishers" question or "informing other publisher that they want to option the game" - only now.
I think that my way to relate to publishers (always remembering that I'm talking with people) it's a good compromise between the importance I attach to my time, and fairness. Obviously that's just my opinion.

pandasaurus
pandasaurus's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/12/2012
I ask that game submissions

I ask that game submissions be exclusive, but if not to explain why.

I'm small, so I'm going to be a lot more flexible than larger publishers, but I would say this. I wouldn't have an issue with you submitting your game to multiple publishers. Where I would get irked is if you gave me a prototype to test out and had done the same with another publisher.

Playtesting a game is a lot of work. You have to figure out if there is something here, and if so how much work it needs. I've got probably 6 submissions on my desk, and so far only one jumped out at me so much that I grabbed it quickly. The rest are in various stages of testing.

And if testing goes well with one, then I have to start doing serious up front marketing research and work. I can't just decide to publish a game because I think it's fun. I need to think of theme, placement, marketing push, potential sales vs cost of print and start looking at ways to either cut production cost or ad value.

Then there is the process of putting out feelers for quotes from manufacturing. I can't very well sign a game unless I have an idea of how much it would cost to print vs what I think I could sell the game for.

So, I would say you are fine submitting the game to several publishers, but if you are sending out multiple play test copies, you need to tell them and you should be open before they poor weeks worth of work into a game only to have it yanked.

Just my .02

rpghost
rpghost's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/03/2009
This exact thing happened to

This exact thing happened to me with D-Day dice... here I'm working with the guy making some plans and setting some goals and asking for some redesign and then he tells me he decided to go with Victory Games instead. I can't blame him - they did a great job, but still it was very frustrating to have had it in hand and expecting to publish it be then not to. So I'd say prototypes you should send out exclusive.

James
http://www.MinionGames.com

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
So it could be summarised as

So it could be summarised as multiple letters at a time is OK but only 1 prototype at a time. Or Inform the publisher that somebody else asked for it first.

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
I have finished ordering my

I have finished ordering my list of publisher. Like somebody suggested on BGG, Il send my letter 1 at a time each week and stop when somebody asked for a prototype.

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
I have finished ordering my

I have finished ordering my list of publisher. Like somebody suggested on BGG, Il send my letter 1 at a time each week and stop when somebody asked for a prototype.

jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
I can understand why

I can understand why publishers would prefer time to evaluate a submission in exclusivity, and as a designer, making a publisher unhappy is not going to help you long term, so you shouldn't go against their preferences without a compelling reason.

But I also think this posture is to a certain extent disrespectful to designers, and I say this as a prospective publisher myself. It seems to say to the designer that the publisher's time and energy are a more valuable commodity than the game itself. To me, the best example is Ticket to Ride; apparently several publishers were interested but Days of Wonder was the first to offer Alan Moon a contract, so they reaped the benefit of being the first in. Shouldn't publishers always expect to have to compete to get a good game into their lineup? Now, sure, we're talking about a famous designer and a game that went on to be a SdJ winner, so perhaps publishers would be more willing to be involved in a race in that situation than in one where an unproven designer has shown up with an unsolicited game. But on the other hand, why not? A good game is a good game, and a publisher who expects to be successful should be able to recognize a game that has strong sales potential; and should expect that other publishers would be able to see this as well. Until a contract is signed, there's no reason a publisher should expect exclusive access to a game for evaluation, however much they might desire it.

For this reason, I think the best arrangement could be for some sort of exclusive "evaluation" contract, where the publisher commits to completing evaluation of the game within an agreed-upon time frame, and the designer agrees not to shop the game around during that time. This is still highly favorable to the publisher, so maybe to sweeten it the publisher offers to provide substantive feedback even if the game is rejected, or the evaluation window is of a reasonable length -- maybe 6 months, instead of "whenever we get around to it". I think designers would gladly trade exclusivity for certainty as to how long the evaluation is going to take, but publishers hanging on to a game for a year or more without making much forward progress on it, without communicating much with the designer, and all the while expecting the designer to wait patiently and feel thankful for the privelege of their condescending to look at his game, is, to me, just fundamentally disrespectful to the designer and the potential value of his creation.

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Nice point and I agree with

Nice point and I agree with that. In one of the book I read (game inventor's guidebook), they said that if 2 publisher wanted your game, it should give you negotiation power. But from what I can see right now it's not the case.

Considering that I am not very good at negotiating, I might not want to get stuck in that situation. But maybe if I send a prototype, I will ask for a time limit before being allowed to submit else where. I'll try with 3-4 months first and maybe increase to 6 months if they insist.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut