The Board Game Design Course

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Game Design

How to find the perfect publisher for your game

Finding a publisher for your game can be hard. Every one of them is looking for something fresh and innovative but they all have their own audience as well.

You want to make sure you’re only pitching your game to publishers who may actually be interested in your game. There’s no sense in pitching your party game to a war game publisher or your heavy Euro game to a children’s game publisher.

Finding the right potential match for your game requires some work. And this all starts with research.

Enter the Tabletop Publishers Dossier.

What is the Tabletop Publisher Dossier?

The dossier is a comprehensive list of over 500 publishers, including the types of games they publish, convention presence (where you can meet with them in person), and contact information.

I recently had the opportunity to review this resource and I wanted to share what it offers and my thoughts on whether you may find it helpful.

Rather than scour the web yourself looking for publishers, the dossier allows you to go over a long list of potential publishers, including the ability to filter to get the results you’re looking for.

Going to Gen Con and want to find publishers to pitch your gateway-level game to? You can select this or any other conventions that publishers will be attending and narrow down the list to just those looking for your type of game.

With just a few clicks, you’ll have your results in seconds.

Chris Backe, who owns this resource, keeps it updated regularly and even includes notes for each publisher on things like their mission statement, what kinds of games they are looking for or if there is anything, in particular, they want to see included in your pitch.

This resource also includes a useful pitching template that you can use and modify for your own pitches.

How helpful is the Dossier?

I just started using the dossier recently and it has definitely helped me to identify some new publishers that I haven’t reached out to previously.

I keep my own spreadsheet with a list of my games as columns along the top and a list of publishers as rows down the left-hand side. This allows me to keep track of which games I’ve pitched to which publishers (and ones I plan to reach out to), along with their responses. This really helps keep me organized and avoids re-sending a pitch to any publishers on my list.

Many of the publishers on my list have come from the Cardboard Edison Compendium, which is another helpful resource, along with publishers I have met at events and those I have found with my own research or through discussions with other designers.

The things that I like about the dossier that makes it stand out compared to the Compendium are:

  • Comprehensiveness (over 500 publishers vs 320)
  • It is updated regularly by the owner of the resource rather than relying on publishers to keep their records up-to-date
  • It shows which conventions publishers will be attending (which is super helpful for planning meetings)
  • The owner adds additional notes and personal touches

Reviewing and using the dossier has already allowed me to identify and add some new publishers to my list. I look forward to using this further in the future to plan out meetings at cons I may be attending this year.

Why now is a great time to be pitching to publishers

February, March, and April are early in the year, well before most of the big conventions when publishers are busy getting ready to launch new games.

So, there is a real opportunity here. This makes for a great time to reach out to them before things get really busy.

It also allows publishers to have a look at your game and inquire about your availability to give them a demo at an upcoming con such as Origins or GenCon. I always find it’s best to pitch games to publishers in person when possible. This allows them to see how your game plays in real life, as well as to get to know you a bit better and put a face to a name. Even if this game doesn’t turn out to be a good fit for them, you now have a contact there, and they may even invite you to pitch future games to them.

I know that I have benefitted from this method and have made some great connections over the years as a result. Some of those publishers have even shared valuable insights with me that I’ve been able to include in my books or have been a guest at one of my Virtual Summits. There’s a real and tangible upside to making these connections.

So, now is as good a time as any to be researching publishers and reaching out to them to introduce them to your game.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not affiliated with Tabletop Publishers and will not receive any commissions for this review. I was given free access to the Dossier so that I could use this resource for myself and share my thoughts on its usefulness. I hope you find this review helpful!

Have any questions about the Dossier?

Please hit the comment button below and let me know!

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