07 Mar

The No Strings Attached Guide to Spectacular Publishing Success

Start at the Top

Start at the TopIf you want to be a successfully published writer, all you need are four words.

Start at the Top.

You can debate what successful, published or writer means (do self-published writers count? do exposure markets count?), but I’ll define it very simply: a successfully published writer is a writer who makes money from her writing. Simple as that. So how do you achieve it?

Start at the top.

That’s it. Start at the top. Start by pitching your top market, the best paying one, the one that responds the quickest, the one which has the most readers, or favorable reviews, or chocolate chip cookies. Doesn’t matter how you define your top market. Just find it and start there.

Why? Because 1 percent of something is a million, billion times better than 100 percent of nothing.

And yet, most writers won’t submit to their top market. They’ll throw away their chance at achieving their dream before they even try. I know, I’ve been there. And I tossed away a lot of chances before buckling down and sending out to top markets. And getting published. And if I can, you can, too. Here’s how. Read More

21 Aug

Breaking In the Hard Way

Chance of publication quote

Chance of publication quote Breaking in is hard.

I have some friends who are published. Things are easier for them. I have some friends who have best-selling games. Things are even more easy for them.

We like to think that our game’s qualities matter. They do, but that’s only part of the truth. The full truth is this: “Chance of publication = Game qualities + Name”, and when you start out your Name = null.

Having a name is more than having a name. It’s knowing people in the business, it’s being known by people in the business. It’s having a fan base, no matter how small, that you can point to when you try to sell. It’s being able to sell directly to your fans. Read More

08 Apr

Submitting 103: Never Ever Do This

Submitting 103: Never do this

Submitting 103: Never do thisWelcome, dear hopefuls and hopefully soon to be published brand name designers, to the third installment of our “Pitching for Dummies” series (and I promise, it will be the last one for a while). Last week we deconstructed the following pitch and saw that, lo, it was a good one:

Dear Jane Publisher,

My name is Gregory Amedesigner and I’d like to interest you in my game Sell It, which is a Eurogame similar to GreatEuro, published by you last year but aimed at a different audience. Sell It is a semi-casual party game for 2-6 players that plays in 45 minutes.

Enclosed, please find a sale sheet and game rules as PDF attachments. A complete prototype is available upon request.

Best
G. Amedesigner

This week we’re going to do stuff to it. Evil stuff. Dangerous stuff. Stuff that will make it crawl, bleed and beg for mercy. Ready? Here goes. Read More

03 Apr

Submitting 102: 12 things to remember in your short, sweet pitch

Submitting 102: The Short, Sweet Pitch

Submitting 102: The Short, Sweet PitchLast time I used an example:

Dear Jane Publisher,

My name is Gregory Amedesigner and I’d like to interest you in my game Sell It, which is a Eurogame similar to GreatEuro, published by you last year but aimed at a different audience. Sell It is a semi-casual party game for 2-6 players that plays in 45 minutes.

Enclosed, please find a sale sheet and game rules as PDF attachments. A complete prototype is available upon request.

Best
G. Amedesigner

This week I thought I’d dissect that and say why I think that it works. If you want to know why I wrote it, and in what context, please see Submitting your game 101: Don’t waste the publisher’s time. Otherwise hold on to your hat, here goes. Read More

01 Apr

Submitting Your Game 101: Don’t Waste the Publisher’s Time

Submitting 101: Don't waste the publisher's time

Submitting 101: Don't waste the publisher's timeThis is going to be the greatest blog post you’ve ever read. No, really. I’ve shown it to my mom, best friend and dog and they all agree that it’s the greatest thing since sliced Pedigree Pal!!! Come on, read it already!

Feeling enticed yet?

There are many problems in that first paragraph but there’s a cardinal one: it’s a waste of time. Read More

19 Nov

Asmodee on a shopping spree

Six months ago French publisherAsmodée Éditions acquired US game publisher Days of Wonder (technically it’s a merger but DOW is now a fully owned subsidiary).

Now Asmodee has done it again, anouncing a merger with Fantasy Flight Games. From ICv2:

Fantasy Flight will gain greater access to Asmodee’s distribution and marketing base in Europe.  In Europe, Asmodee owns distribution companies in the UK, Germany, and the Benelux countries, in addition to its home country of France, through which it sells many games beyond its own, including those from the U.S., such as Magic: The Gathering.  It also has exclusive distribution relationships with some game companies, such as Days of Wonder for Ticket to Ride in some countries.  It is the channel to the market for the Pokemon TCG in France, the UK, Belgium, and Spain.

Link: Fantasy Flight Games Merges with Asmodee @ ICv2.com

22 Sep

When your assumptions intrude on your designs

Image: Grochim/Wikimedia Commons (CC)-(BY)-(SA)Some time ago my eldest talked about writing and stated that she already knew how to write.

“Great,” I said, “then you don’t need to go to school.”

At which point she started crying and saying that she wanted to go to school. I quickly changed my mind to:

“I meant, since you can write you’re now ready to go to school.”

That could be just a trivial tale, something cute to tell my grandchildren some day. Except that it’s more than that. It’s me doing a cardinal error: assuming that her expectations are the same as mine. Read More

26 Aug

Testing for the mainstream market

Dominic CrapuchettesSome time ago I read Derek Thompson’s MeepleTown post (part 1, part 2) where he interviews Dominic Crapuchettes about his games and breaking into mainstream. Here’s a quote:

After [listening to us pitch] Wits & Wagers Amazon , the [Target] buyer was very interested – he said, “This was probably the most unique game that has ever been pitched to me. This is something I would like to play. But here’s my problem: If I carry it, it won’t sell. Here are the only things that have sold, based on my experience: One, a Hollywood license. Two, a 2+ million dollar television advertising campaign. Three, a recognizable brand name, because it’s been built up for 3-5 years in other channels, and it’s sold at least 100,000 copies previously. Those are the only three types of games that sell at Target.”

So, does this mean that you can’t break into mainstream without being, well, mainstream? Read More

17 Jun

Professionalism = doing what you don’t want to do

I want to be a successful game designer.

That is, I want to make and sell games, in such quantity and at such a rate that I’ll be able to take the income and use it to work on creating and developing more games at least part of my work-alloted time. In order to do so I must view game design as a profession, and I must perform it in a professional manner.

That means doing it even when I don’t feel like doing it.

It’s strange, thinking that I wouldn’t want to design games. Designing, alongside writing and storytelling, are my major hobbies. I like to design, I keep thinking about it and I find thinking about new designs fun and pleasurable.

But now I’ve got to send out prototypes to publishers. I’ve playtested them, polished them and generally pestered my friends with them. I’ve pitched the games, and I’ve gotten them past that first rejection gate. Now I find that I have to write up the rules in an understandable manner. Not only so I can understand them, not only so people who have me standing besides them to ask can understand them but so people who’ve never seen me or my game can understand them.

And I’m afraid. Read More