You have an amazing mobile game and you want the world to know it – more importantly, you want the world to play it! After much thought and consideration, you’ve decided that the best way to get eyes on your game is to approach a mobile game publisher and land a deal. A mobile game publisher can offer your studio many benefits, including access to large player networks, expertise in mobile game marketing and design, and in some cases even funding for your projects. It does take some leg work to secure a publishing deal, so read on to learn how to navigate the mobile game publishing world.
Tip #1 – Be Informed
Before you even start contacting publishers, do your research! Do a quick search online to find out how long the publisher has been in business, who is on their team, and what kind of media coverage and reviews they’ve received over the years. More importantly, find out what kind of games they publish and on what platforms – a publisher that specializes in console RPG shooters might not be the best fit for your match three iOS game. Take your search one step further and find out who you need to contact at the company – a little personalization in an email can go a long way. You might come up empty handed, but more often than not a little research on LinkedIn can go a long way. This can give you a sense of who is responsible for publishing submissions and can save you a lot of time.
Tip #2 – Be Prepared
This may sound too good to be true, but sometimes a mobile game publisher will find you. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve played a game with a lot of potential, tried to contact the developer and can’t easily find a contact email on the support website. Do everyone a favour and make yourself easy to find (at the very least, your players will love you for it). If you’re the one doing the finding, create an easy to share electronic press kit (but instead of targeting press, target publishers). Include things like a game design documents, screenshots, trailers, demos and/or past press coverage (the contents of the kit will depend on what stage of development you’re in). At a certain point, the person you’re contacting is likely going to have to loop in other stakeholders at the company. If they already have all of the info they need, the process will move a lot quicker (and as an added bonus, you might get more influential eyes on your game).
Tip #3 – Be Concise
So your hard work paid off and you booked a meeting with a mobile game publisher – congrats! Publishers are busy meeting with game developers just like you all day long, so use your time wisely and know your elevator pitch like the back of your hand. Follow their lead (as every conversation will be different), but at some point you’ll want to provide some background on your studio, a high level overview of your game, your development timelines, your vision moving forward and any plans for sequels or other games. A partnership with a publisher will hopefully exist long after the release of your first game, and all of this information will help them envision how they might be able to work with you down the line.
Tip #4 – Be Attentive
You’ve told the publisher everything you can about your game (keeping tip # 3 in mind…), and now it’s time for you to listen. The person you’re speaking to is likely going to have some follow up questions about your game, so listen carefully and try to answer as best you can. Don’t know the answer? No problem. Just be sure to follow up (by email or phone) as soon as you can after your meeting. Deal terms might even come up at this point, so make sure to go into the meeting knowing what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to agree to. You might also get some preliminary feedback about your game, so be sure to take notes you can review after the meeting.
Tip #5 – Be Resilient
If you’re extremely lucky you’ll land a deal with the publisher of your choice after your first pitch, but this isn’t always the case. If the publisher rejects your submission, don’t take it personally – there are so many reasons why they might not be able to work with you and it doesn’t mean that your game “sucks”. Keep an open mind and take their feedback into account – it’s free advice from people who know what they are doing. This doesn’t mean that you have to change anything in your game, but maybe with a few tweaks you can resubmit down the line (and you’ve started to develop a relationship with this publisher, so you’re already one step ahead). The game might not be the right fit no matter what you change, so in this case think of it as a learning experience and know that you’ll be that much more prepared the next time you talk to a publisher.
Mobile game publishers can offer many benefits to game developers, but landing a publishing deal is no easy feat. With a little hard work, preparation and determination you might just find what you’re looking for. Have you pitched a mobile game publisher? What tips would add to the list?
Photo Credit: http://blogs.amctv.com/mad-men/photo-galleries/mad-men-season-4-episode-photos/