Independent Publishers : How to Get a Games Store To Stock You

Occasionally, I get e-mails from independent publishers asking me to stock their games. Many times, I’ve replied to these publishers and more often than not, the deals have fallen through.  for a number of reasons.

It’s worth noting the average number of games I sell from any independently published board game I’ve stocked is between 0 to 1.   Occasionally, these games sell between 2 to 3 copies.  A rare few have sold more than 4 copies.  I’m much more likely to stock a game if I can add it to my usual order from a distributor than if I have to buy the game myself.  The cost of shipping these games (from you to me) impacts my margin quite significantly, so if I can allay that in any way, it makes sense to do so.

With that said, here’s a list of things that will make it more likely I’ll stock your games:

  • Be polite & professional.
  • Include all the relevant information you can, in an easy to read format.  This includes:
    • Name of your game
    • Age range & no. of players
    • Theme / Setting of the game
    • Target audience (party, wargame, eurogame, etc.)
    • MSRP of the game
    • Awards won (if any) or reviews (by a notable persona; e.g. Drake Flames, Board Games with Scott, etc.)
    • BGG listing (I’m going to look it up anyway)
    • Who your distributors are (if any)
    • Images of the game itself
    • Your contact information and website
  • Provide a decent discount.  I can’t sell a game if my discount purchasing direct from you is 15%.  Industry standard discounts from MSRP are between 45-50%
  • Be willing to ship one or more copies. Especially with independent games, I am not likely to stock more than a few in my first purchase.
  • Follow up.  Sometimes, I get so busy I don’t reply because I’ve put aside your e-mail and them promptly forgot about it.  If I haven’t told you no, there’s a shot.  Just make sure to give me at least a week though.