Joel Eddy
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Short story: I've got a design. I've submitted it to a company. I know they haven't even looked at it yet. It's only been a week, and I'm in contact with them anyway regarding other aspects, so I know that they are super busy right now.

However... I've found out that I'm going to be going to Gencon (part of which is being paid for on this company's dime).

My dilemma is this. I have a list of five other companies that might publish a game of this nature. Four of those companies are going to be at Gencon. Seems like a missed opportunity if I don't get the game in front of at least some of them.

I know that one can expect long delays in receiving word back about their design submissions... sometimes receiving no word at all.

My question is, what is the protocol for having submissions out to multiple companies? From everything I've read and heard (podcasts etc...), it seems like it's bad form to have your design out to multiple people. For SURE, it's bad ethics to show to other people if it's considered "In Development", but this is not something I have thought of yet, nor I have I found a definitive answer to the following question...

"How many people do you submit your game to at one time?"

My thought at this point is to wait another day or two and get emails ready for each of these other companies, and then let them all know that I've submitted the game to multiple people. Is this the correct thing to do? Am I missing something?
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Marshal Anderson
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I used to write a lot of educational software and, when I was starting out, I faced exactly this problem. What I did was to wait a couple of weeks between each submission (obviously less if I got a rejection sooner) on the basis that that was a reasonable compromise - i.e. I wasn't sending it to everyone at once, but it's not reasonable to just sit on my hands for what could be many months waiting for a rejection.

However, you seem to be saying that a company has now expressed an interest, even if only to fund your trip, you do kind of owe them first refusal. Worth keeping in mind that it's often quite difficult to get people's attention at cons - they are there geared up to sell. What I used to do was go to stands and find out the actual name of the person in the company I needed to submit to - that's useful research and worth your time.

HTH

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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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Usually I send e-mails to 2-6 comapies at the same time (depending on where I think the desigen will fit).
Regarding the prototype, the limit normaly is only one publisher.
Sometimes also 2, but than both must be informed about the others interrest. Because seriousely testing the prototype is a lot of work, and it wouldn´t be fair having a publisher do this, and than if they are interrested, to tell them, someone else will get it.
 
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Richard Morris
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One at a time, other than in exceptional circumstances. I'm not sure that I would call these exceptional. Perhaps your best bet is to be straight up and honest with them. Tell them that you would like to offer to their companies if they are definitely not interested. Most companies should be able to definitely dismiss submissions, if necessary, quite quickly. But if the game is sufficiently interesting to them to want to do a deeper analysis (however it is they do that), then I think you should only have one company at that stage.
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Jim Harmon
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When you say submitted what do you mean? If you have just submitted a e-mail with the design concept without the rules or anything else then contacting others might not be out of the question. I often send my initial inquiries to several publishers at once and as you said the response vary greatly so after a couple of weeks of hearing "not interested" or nothing back I might send e-mail to the next few publishers on my list.

Now you also said they are partially paying your way to Gencon, if that has any connection to your submitted game then that might change things...

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Nate K
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I don't think it's bad form to send out multiple emails just to "test the waters" and see if there is interest in your design. The problem comes when you actually want to start sending out rules and prototypes. At that point, you should either send them out one at a time, probably staggered a few weeks as has been suggested, or else let the companies know that other publishers have expressed interest and are reviewing the game.
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Joel Eddy
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OK. Thanks for the feedback. The trip to Gencon does not have anything to do with submitting the game. I will be working the company's booth related to a game they already publish.

However, I was already planning on giving this company first crack at the game so to speak. It's just that the offer to go to Gencon pushed up the timeframe for the submission. The invite to Gencon came out of the blue about two weeks ago. The game could probably use a couple of balancing passes (what game can't?), but I figured, "Well let me get this in front of them, since we are going to see each other face to face."

But, then I thought to myself, "Well if I'm going to be at Gencon already, I might want to show it to as many people as possible." I'd have rather set up "appointments" and give the companies a couple of weeks to look at it, before showing up there to meet face to face... instead of just wandering into their booth and soliciting them when they are trying to sell stuff.

Also, (for clarity's sake) I have sent the rules and prototypes of the pieces in PDF to the first company (who's paying for Gencon). So, maybe I should just wait, and if nothing comes of Gencon, then send out the submission to the other companies after Gencon...

Again, thanks for the feedback.
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Martin Boisselle
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Make sure that the current company wants submissions that are not currently seen by other publishers.

It got me burnt once....
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Joel Eddy
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richardtempura wrote:
Make sure that the current company wants submissions that are not currently seen by other publishers.

It got me burnt once....


Ya, the "current" company has now offered to do some playtesting with me at Gencon, so I'm going to just see how that goes first

Thanks again for the feedback everyone!
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