In part 1, I shared how I tell newer designers when submitting games or requesting convention appointments to expect no response to half your submissions, to expect a polite quick no to the remaining half, no follow up with the half remaining after that, etc., etc. And I offered to share some real numbers.
I started contacting publishers in May 2018 to request appointments to pitch three different prototypes (although my primary focus was on two of the three) at Origins 2018 in June.
Armed with the Cardboard Edison Publisher Compendium, a list of Origins exhibitors, and my own web and BGG research, I sent sell sheets to 29 different publishers requesting pitch appointments. For those with a web submission process, I followed that process, for the rest it was via email.
16 of the 29 never responded or acknowledged the contact.
Of the 13 that responded, 6 gave immediate polite "looks interesting, but not what we are looking for right now".
2 of the 13 responding publishers said they would take a look at the sell sheets, and that was the last I heard from them.
5 of the 13 who responded eventually scheduled appointments with me for Origins I requested appointments from 29 different publishers, and 24 said 'No". More importantly, 5 said "Yes" !
Ah, but wait. 2 of the 5 were interested in a prototype they had already played at Unpub8 earlier that spring, and wanted follow-ups at Origins to see how some requested changes worked out. Those 2 were not cold contacts, they were ringers. So redo the math, and you have 27 unsolicited appointment requests that gave me 24 "No" responses, and 3 "Yes" responses. Just for an appointment to pitch.
So I prepared, I rehearsed, so that I would be ready when pitch time came.
Once Origins came, I used those 5 scheduled appointments and 2 impromptu pitches to pitch 3 different games to 7 different publishers. Some of the pitches were for multiple games. There were some gracious declines on the spot. There were some gracious declines the week following Origins.
For the pitches themselves, I think the final math (accounting for 2 pitches to some publishers) works out to 10 pitches given. 9 gracious "no"'s (often in the form of great game, but not what we are looking for). And 1 "yes" that resulted in a signed contract 12 days later. The "yes" started as a web submission, I had no previous contact or relationship with the publisher who signed my game shortly after Origins.
For other designers with great solid prototypes, I encourage you to persist. Expect to hear "no". I am in awe of any designer who never hears that word. I heard a lot of "no" in the weeks leading to Origins and in the days afterwards. It is often a part of the journey on your way to "yes". Persist.