How does one submit their work to a 3rd-party publisher?


Product Discussion

Wayfinders

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hi, I'm somewhat new to the community (only been around these parts for about half a year), and I've been doing quite a bit of homebrewing. One of my teachers recommended that I begin trying to submit my work to publishers, so as to get my name out there, or something of the like.

There's just one problem: I don't know how to do so.

I figured I'd post this thread in the hopes of trying to find out... not EXACTLY what I'd have to do (even though it'd help), but at least a general idea.

If it helps, the 3pp I'm most interested in working for would definitely be Little Red Goblin Games, but I'm open to work for nigh-anyone.

Thanks to anyone and everyone that might give some advice! Sincerely, S. Hall.


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Cold canvas. Just make queries. Scott Gladstein of LRGG is a fantastic guy and really easy to work with. He'll answer any questions with speed and vigor. Either PM him here (Scott_UAT I think is his avatar) or PM me and I'll send you his email.

* You could also do worse than participate in competitions - Kobold Press usually run at least a few a year. Raging Swan just ran one.

* Adventure A week take a lot of submissions I gather based on the name alone.

* Wayfinder, the Paizo Fanzine also accept submissions twice a year.

So if you want to get published, build a body of work for prospective publishers to look at and then send them a query based on what you want to write - if they like the idea sufficiently and like what they see of your work, then you are good to go.


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If it wasn't clear in my first post, I'm not suggesting just sending in what you gave written. Make the query first!!! Most third party publishers have a lot of stuff on their plates, and regardless of how stellar your work is, if it's unsolicited it just means more work they haven't figured into their time.

I would say it kinda goes like this:

Make contact.

Make a query - essentially - "Hi x-publisher. I have an article/archetype/buncha monsters, the word count is roughly x-thousand words. Are you interested in this? You can find some of my other work (here), (here) and (here). "

Wait.


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You might also enquire what their rates are, as they differ from publisher to publisher, and what your author's rights are, as those also differ from 3PP to 3PP...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's a bit of advice...

Never send anything without a Stamped Self Addressed Envelope if you want it back. Unsolicited manuscripts will otherwise land in the trash without one.

Most third party outfits are one or two people who set things up to publish their own stuff, not many of them are going to be that keen on publishing someone else's work.


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LazarX wrote:

Here's a bit of advice...

Never send anything with out a Stamped Self Addressed Envelope if you want it back. Unsolicited manuscripts will otherwise land in the trash without one.

Umm, as a freelancer I have never sent anything as other than a digital document.

LazarX wrote:
Most third party outfits are one or two people who set things up to publish their own stuff, not many of them are going to be that keen on publishing someone else's work.

I have found this not to be the case. Rite Publishing, Kobold Press, Raging Swan, Little Red Goblin Games (just published the Tome of Twisted Things with two new freelancers) Fat Goblin Games just to name a few. All of these 3PPs, however large or small have all published various freelancers.

So, perhaps start with these guys. ;)


If your stuff won't run into any legal issues, you could always try self publishing. DriveThruRPG offers decent rates, if you are interested check it out.


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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Here's a bit of advice...

Never send anything with out a Stamped Self Addressed Envelope if you want it back. Unsolicited manuscripts will otherwise land in the trash without one.

Umm, as a freelancer I have never sent anything as other than a digital document.

Seconding this. It's only really larger traditional publishers (and even then not all of them) that seem interested in hard copy nowadays. Also, personally, if someone sent me an unsolicited printed manuscript it's likely to end up in the trash (well, the recycling at least) even with a SAE as I'll likely never even look far enough through to notice the envelope past a wad of unrequested paperwork.

Even if emailing it's best to keep to a synopsis and let them request more if they want it, as publishers don't really have the time to read your work in its entirety just to see if they'll be interested. They're usuallu more interested initially in seeing if your idea jumps out and grabs them.

Also seconding the self publishing suggestion. Breaking in can be difficult - if you're responding to an open call or competition you're going to be competing with so many other people that your chances are even slimmer than usual, if you're sending in a synopsis speculatively then they're still likely to want references to examples of work. If you've self published then you've hopefully built up a following of customers already and you're more likely to get noticed by 3PPs on the look-out for freelancers.

I would however recommend getting advice (even if just through the forums here) on what is and isn't allowed if you're using the OGL.

Finally, the link I drop anyone with self-publishing thoughts:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product/17585/ePublisher-Guide?it=1&filters=0_0_0 &manufacturers_id=432 - a handy (and free!) guide to self-publishing from OneBookShelf/DTRPG/RPGNow, which while a little dated now is still valid in most of its concepts.

Contributor

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Morgan forgot to mention his own zine, Yggdrassil, which is looking for manuscripts in the future, though it's not a paying market. Still, you will have to meet the requirements to get in, just as you do with Wayfinder.

Honestly, most publishers are open to queries. If you can sell me on an idea in under 400 words, then I'm willing to hear you out. Note that I develop for Rogue Genius Games and Misfit Studios, in addition to doing projects via Christina Stiles Presents. It doesn't matter to me if you are a named author or not. Your query will have indications as to whether or not you can write. If you are very happy with what Little Red Goblin Games produces, then by all means contact Scott. He IS a great guy. Creighton Broadhurst of Raging Swan put out an open call the other day. He's also someone you might consider pinging. Mark Gedak of Purple Duck, Louis Porter of LPJ Designs, Rick Hershey of Fat Goblin Games, Steve Russell of Rite Publishing, Wolfgang Baur of Kobold Press, and so on. If you see the name in the Compatibles section, then the publisher is likely looking for freelancers--Legendary Games would be the exception, as that's an elite group of guys who have published with Paizo.

Just know, up front, that game writing isn't a get-rich-quick type of writing. You should be offered a per-word rate or a royalty. Many of us choose to offer royalty payments because we never know exactly how a pdf will do in the market. That's just the way it is.

Hope that helps.


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Heh, so I did!?! Or the fact I'm a 3PP as well - Forest Guardian Press. By all means submit to me!!!

Lindley and I actually know each other at least a little from the Multiclass Archetyes thread but I don't think peole are all that aware of the Yggdrasil/FGP hats I also wear.

Excellent advice Christina!!!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

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Lindley Court wrote:

Hi, I'm somewhat new to the community (only been around these parts for about half a year), and I've been doing quite a bit of homebrewing. One of my teachers recommended that I begin trying to submit my work to publishers, so as to get my name out there, or something of the like.

There's just one problem: I don't know how to do so.

I figured I'd post this thread in the hopes of trying to find out... not EXACTLY what I'd have to do (even though it'd help), but at least a general idea.

If it helps, the 3pp I'm most interested in working for would definitely be Little Red Goblin Games, but I'm open to work for nigh-anyone.

Thanks to anyone and everyone that might give some advice! Sincerely, S. Hall.

I wrote a blog post about this very subject. You can read it here or download it as a PDF here. I hope you find it useful!


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I can say this much, make sure when you contact a publisher that your presentation, or pitch, is short and to the point. Long enough to express the intention of what you are wanting to do without becoming bloated to the point of being overkill. I tend to try and remind people
that while your material is dear and loved to you, to a publisher seeing it fresh, they have no emotional attachment. And they already have things on their plate, with more waiting to be seen as well. The pitches that can be presented in the format that will catch interest and make a publisher want to see more is the one that will get your foot in the door, while not forcing someone to stop and spend an hour reading your sales speech, as to be honest, those are the ones that lose my interest very quickly.

4-500 words, clear and to the point. If it is a story give me a reason to want to read the story, if it is a new rule or concept sell me on needing it...if it is something a publisher is interested in putting out, they will ask for more information, a more indepth pitch, more material, samples, etc.

As stated already so many of the 3PP publishers are just a couple of people making it all happen behind the curtain, so time is valuable. Not trying to sound rude or anything, it is just the reality of things.

Good Luck!

Joshua "KTFish7" Gullion
Adventureaweek.com PDF development

P.S. And for the record, yeah, we're currently taking submissions.

Wayfinders

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh my gosh, thank you all so much for your help. I'll make sure to follow mr. OSW's suggestions (possibly submitting to him, as I've been a huge fan of FGP for a while)! I might contact a couple of the publishers ms. Stiles mentioned as well, to see where I can go with this!

So... I suppose the point I'm trying to get across is that you've all been incredibly helpful, as I've come to expect from these fora! Thanks!


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Can't agree with people like Christina, Creighton and Joshusa more.


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pdboddy wrote:
If your stuff won't run into any legal issues, you could always try self publishing. DriveThruRPG offers decent rates, if you are interested check it out.

Self-publishing is not a lark. There are reasons to do it, such as complete creative control, wanting to run a full time business, or disagreeing with existing publishers about what the customers want. However, publishing must be considered distinct from writing. By definition, publishing means doing a lot of things that take away from the process of writing.

Scarab Sages Contributor

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Purple Duck Games wrote:
Can't agree with people like Christina, Creighton and Joshusa more.

Seconded.

I'll note that Rogue Genius Games is especially open to new authors and new ideas right now, as we want to do more than just carry on the tradition of the 200+ pdfs I wrote for super Genius and inherited as a publisher for RGG.


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Hello :-)
Go ahead and shoot me an email at ScottGladstein@LittleRedGoblinGames.com and we can talk. We have a program to help new artists and designers get their feet wet and get some of their work published in the industry.

-S


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Right I should always do that. To reach Purple Duck Games, email gedakm@gmail.com

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

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All good advice in this thread. For querying Kobold Press, details here.

We are currently running a monster contest with a deadline in a week; the winner will get a paying freelance commission. Details here; this is the contest that Adam Daigle won a few years ago...


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Rite Publishing has a submission policy for Adventure Quarterly (paid), we are currently only looking for 7,000 word adventures; and Pathways (unpaid, pathways is a free ezine).

I need to update the AQ one for the kickstarter, as we are going to start needing more low level adventures soon and less mid-level.


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Dreamscarred Press is always open to pitches, either email me directly at stormhierta@gmail.com or Jeremy at dreamscarredpress@gmail.com


We have published a few new designers as well.
Just about to break into adventures. We do classes, feats, and Prestige Classes mostly.
Always looking for new designers. Amoragame@gmail.com

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Paizo's also starting up their annual RPG Superstar contest soon (I was thinking it might be today, but looks like not quite yet), which is a lot of fun.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Hmmm this thread is making me think about trying to get something published. All I have done that comes to mind is a Pyramid article in 1999. The funny thing is that I just submitted some house rules I was using in my home game.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

The guidelines for submitting to Kobold Press are linked from the top of the KoboldPress.com site.

Submissions welcome.

Grand Lodge

SeeleyOne wrote:
Hmmm this thread is making me think about trying to get something published.

No thinking. Just do.

Sovereign Court

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So, submitting to Wayfinder is a great way for initial publication (and yes, I am biased). Granted, as the number of submissions has increased with each issue, the competition for the limited slots gets tighter, but you still have a good chance for publication if you material is good. Additionally, every other issue is a print publication (which will be the next issue ... the official announcement for theme will be coming out in January I think), so getting into print is a definite possibility.

Shadow Lodge

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We've used four of the RPG Superstar contestants in our products thus far, and several others who simply pitched a great idea. I'd say that if you are interested in freelancing, find a company that produces the sort of product you are looking at creating, and send them a solid pitch.

Be prepared to show some finished examples of your work. They don't necessarily have to relate to what you are hoping to produce, but showing finished work of any variety will lend confidence to the publisher. We wouldn't want to committ resources to anything and then have a writer flake. Everyone wants to write RPG material right?

Also, having the ability to take feedback is instrumental. Also, always be courteous and professional. You would be surprised how much the third-party publishers talk amongst one another.

We are always happy to take submissions, as long as they match our brand. Feel free to reach out to me at necro@tpkgames.com. I've found writing game materials to be very satisfying, and I'm sure you can to.


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Something worth saying here is that when submitting something, you need to be quick with your replies and open to new possibilities. Atleast one of those who submitted to us started out with one idea but by talking to us got a chance to do another (one he favored).


So, for any publishers still following this thread, do you have any advice for a new artists? I have a friend who expressed her interest on breaking into the business, but many companies lack specific guidelines for artist submissions. (And at least one of you lacks a company website!)

Contributor

Generally, send the publisher a link to an online portfolio.


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This thread makes me happy.
Not because I have any plans to submit my work to a publisher (I don't-- almost all of my homebrew is specifically tailored to the individual players in my group and therefore not really suited for publication).
But it makes me happy to see established designers responding to a thread like this.

Liberty's Edge

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
So, for any publishers still following this thread, do you have any advice for a new artists? I have a friend who expressed her interest on breaking into the business, but many companies lack specific guidelines for artist submissions. (And at least one of you lacks a company website!)

Typically, if a company does not have an art director or contact info specifically for artist queries, your best bet is to get in touch with whomever is the main contact and ask.

A potential freelance artist should be prepared to show samples of professional-level work, typically via an online portfolio of some sort.

Most art directors are willing to take a look and get back to you - if your work fits the company's needs, they might give you a shot!


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@Ambrosia Slaad
Marc summed it up pretty well.
I'd say make sure you portfolio highlights your best work. Personally, I look for displays of an understanding of perspective, anatomy, value and dynamic poses. Also, always be upfront about the price per piece you are expecting.

A lot of times it comes down to what our art budget is and what artists we have in that range. For example, I'd love to hire Jack Holiday for every one of our books but he is more expensive than the shoestring budgets we have for most books (and he is prices are very fair).

Finally, I spend about 50% of my email time trying to get in contact with freelance artists. COMMUNICATION is such a key thing that most artists don't keep up on. Even if you don't have much to report, contact the person you are working with once or twice a week and just tell them what's up.


@Ambrosia Slaad I would have to concur that sending a link to a portfolio is the best bet. Iron Hills Games currently is working with two artists, one who has some pieces in a few issues of Wayfinder (who contacted us via our Facebook page) and the other who's brother posted on the boards and I went and checked the link he supplied in the post.

One thing I will add. When I get contacted directly, in addition to a link to one's portfolio, I personally do like to know what I would be looking at price wise for B&W as well as color illustration (typically for 1/4 page, 1/2 page and full page).


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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

So, for any publishers still following this thread, do you have any advice for a new artists? I have a friend who expressed her interest on breaking into the business, but many companies lack specific guidelines for artist submissions. (And at least one of you lacks a company website!)

Christina Stiles wrote:
Generally, send the publisher a link to an online portfolio.

For an artist I expect this. If you don't have an online portfolio (even if you do send me samples), I normally don't take you as serious. Sounds crazy, but it is true. With writers it is the opposite: Send me samples of your work, but don't direct me to a website to read your work, that is not going to happen.


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This thread should get a sticky to always be at the top of this section of the forum. Lots of good info here, and the subject comes up often.

Shadow Lodge

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^ +1 ^


Not quite a sticky...


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For the artist question:

1. Portfolio is a necessity. Display your width and depth (ie varied types and level of detail).
2. A sense of what you'd like to get paid (and if that is immovable).
3. Previous publishing experience (if any).

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