It’s been over a year in the making, and we’ve finally arrived: this is the last article in the Start to Finish: Publish and Sell Your First Board Game series. You’ve learned how to design and develop a game, build an audience, and market your game. You’ve learned how to run a Kickstarter campaign, fulfill your promises, and even recover from failure.
After you have completely finished your game, settling all responsibilities associated with the Kickstarter campaign, that leaves one massive question: “what next?” With a successful project behind you and a head full of useful experiences, your options are wide open. You can make new games, start a business, or even simply make your game a one-off to bring in passive income.
Let’s talk about wrapping up your project. In this, I’ll briefly go over some ways you can sell your game outside of Kickstarter. This is no exhaustive guide. It’s just enough to get your wheels turning.
As I see it, there are ten broad ways you can sell your game outside of Kickstarter. There are probably a lot more that I’ve not even thought of, so I encourage you to chime in if you see something missing in the comments below!
1. Take pre-orders.
About a month ago, I published an article called How to Take Pre-Orders when Your Board Game Kickstarter Ends. That will give you an idea of how you implement a pre-order system. The benefit of taking pre-orders is pretty clear: you can continue earning money while your inventory is being manufactured and shipped to your warehouse. It helps keep the hype train going too.
Need help getting started? Look into these pre-order systems:
2. Sell your game on your own site.
This is almost identical to taking pre-orders, except you sell your game after it’s being shipped to your warehouse. With a few quick edits, you can turn your pre-order system into an instant sales system. All you have to do is tweak the wording and connect your shopping site with your fulfillment company’s systems. The specific way you do that depends on your shopping site software and your fulfillment company’s software. The important thing is that you know you’re able to automate this process!
There are a lot of ways you can do this that don’t require you to be a tech wizard. Here are some apps that you can use to set up an eCommerce store easily:
3. Sell your game on Amazon and other online shopping sites.
You can sell your game on Amazon just about as easily as you can sell your game on your own website. Even though Amazon and other shopping sites take a significant chunk of your sales as part of their commission, they can bring you lots of customers.
Don’t just limit yourself to Amazon, though. There are other great online shopping sites that you can get your game listed on, such as:
4. Sell your game at conventions.
A lot of board game companies make substantial sales at conventions such as Gen Con and Essen. Even smaller conventions are a viable option. You’ll need to research each convention you plan to attend to ensure that they are appropriate forums for selling your game. If they are, a nice-looking booth can draw quite the crowd!
A few conventions to consider include:
- Any local convention within 250 miles of you, regardless of size
- Gen Con
- PAX Unplugged
- UK Games Expo
- Dice Tower Con
- Origins Game Fair
- CMON Expo
- BGG Con
5. Get on the shelves of your local game store.
Your friendly local game store can be another way to sell your game offline. You may be able to get management to pick up a few copies and carry it in their store. Many game stores are happy to help locals get their businesses started, provided you bring a quality game to the table!
Not sure how to have this conversation? Check out this Facebook group. It is incredibly insightful for those seeking a peek into the minds of gaming store owners.
6. Create events and sell your game there.
Building a community is a great way to build an audience. One especially effective way to build a community through scheduling events that excite or intrigue people. You can give away games, host game nights, or do live-streams. There are so many possibilities here. Whether you make events online or offline, it helps raise brand awareness. That can go a long way!
7. Get on the shelves of a mass-market retailer.
I’ll be honest. I do not yet know exactly what you need to do to get your game in Target, Barnes & Noble, or other large stores that sell board games. Getting stocked in a mass-market retailer is not something you do on a whim, so you’ll need to plan this out well in advance. Just be aware that mass-market sales are another avenue by which you can sell your game.
Here are a few mass-market retailers who carry hobby board games:
- Barnes & Noble
- Best Buy
8. Build a backlog of games.
Sometimes the best way to sell your game is start a new one. Building new games brings attention to you and keeps your name in people’s minds.
9. Release expansions to your game.
If your game has substantial brand power, you might be able to release expansions and make some good money that way! This isn’t for everyone – releasing expansions and making money doing so requires a pretty strong game in the first place. If you’ve got an engaged fanbase, ask them for their ideas and see if you can make something they’d like.
10. Sell merchandise.
You don’t have to stick to selling games. You can sell posters, art books, or even e-books/novels of lore (for more story-heavy games). Think about a world bigger than just a single game.
Once you’ve completed your first game, possibilities begin to open up. This article is not a detailed guide like many of my posts. Rather, my intention here is to make you think about how many directions you can go in after you publish your first game.
Don’t be singularly focused on a single game or even the board game industry at large. Step back, survey your accomplishments, and appreciate the bigger picture. Most of the skills covered in Start to Finish: Publish and Sell Your First Board Game are transferable to other industries, and even life in general.
Pursuit of passion doesn’t always lead to success, but it does lead to a better understanding of yourself and the world around you. After fully creating a game and managing the various processes that go into doing that, you’re equipped to take on bigger challenges than you’ve faced before.
Think about what comes next. How you choose to sell your game from here on out sets you up for your next adventure.
Good luck and stay tuned for an entirely new series of blog posts starting next week 🙂