Saturday, November 12, 2011

Things NOT to Say When Pitching to a Publisher

Your game idea has been lovingly and painstakingly transformed into a playable prototype, and you've received enough encouraging feedback from your playtesters that you are ready to present it to publishers.  There are quite a few blogs and books out there describing the way you should act and the things you should say.  Here are a few things you should avoid saying if you'd ever like to see your name on a cardboard box:

Pitching a game to Hanno Girke in Nuremberg.  How did it go?  
Let me answer this way:  have you seen my name on a Lookout Games box yet?

1. My family loves playing this.

2. This game could finally add some class to your company's line.

3. It plays like Snakes & Ladders on fact, I was on drugs when I designed it.

4. This game is about...wait...let me look at the rules sheet again...

5. I haven't really had much time to playtest this.

6. This game is so original, I had it patented.

7. I love your "Game X," by the way...wait--"Game X" is from a different publisher?  Oops.

8. This is much better than that awful "Game Y"...wait--"Game Y" is your game?  Oops.

9. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours to play.

10. This is sort of like Monopoly.

11. It only has 50 pages of rules and about 300 game pieces.

12. I'm not sure about this rule do you think it should work?

13. Please...DON'T touch the prototype!

14.  I know you've only done children's games in the past, but don't you think it's time to branch out into the Zombie role playing genre?

15. I only sign contracts in which I have "final cut."  Oh--and no green M&M's at my box-autograph sessions.

16.  This game will make us all rich!

17. I know this looks like a simple roll and move affair, but it's the event cards that really make the game!

18. I can email you the files for you to make your own prototype for testing.

19. What?  You aren't interested?  Are you nuts?

20.  I'm serious...this could win Spiel des Jahres...or, at least, a Mensa Mind Games award...

Feel free to add your favorites, both real and imagined.  And "happy pitching" to you..

EDIT: by the way, I'm not a publisher, but I've made my share of pitches and also heard many from first-time game designers wanting me to play their prototypes.  Unfortunately, I've actually heard some of the items on this list (#1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16).  Someday, I'll write about my "misadventures in playtesting."


Anonymous said...

Nice writeup Jeffrey - good to hear from someone who has propper experience of pitching and hearing pitches :)
Could you link us to some of the blogs you suggested with Good things to say? I for one don't know any!

Thanks very much buddy,

FunkyBlue said...

Awesome. Now, how many of these have actually been used with a publisher?