So, you've written your own murder mystery party. You've played it with your friends and they all loved it. You've read it through and you think it's slick and witty and you'd like to sell it. So what do you do next?
There are three aspects to this question that you need to think about:
The great advantage that you have when you run your own murder mystery party is that you know how it works.
You know what's supposed to happen and when - and if things go slightly awry then it's easy for you to fix.
It won't be as easy for someone else to fix, so you will need to make sure that everything is crystal clear.
My experience of writing murder mystery games is that while I might think that what I've written is clear, someone else can find a completely different meaning.
(There are lots of reasons for this, but let's just take that as a given.)
So if nothing else you need to make sure that you test your game - not only with your close friends, but you should also see if you can find someone else to run it for their friends.
And if you can find someone to run it who has never run a murder mystery party (or anything else like it) before, then that's even better.
Feedback can be tricky.
Good questions to ask are: "What did you enjoy about the party?" "What didn't you enjoy about the party?" and "How would you improve the party?"
Don't get too discouraged if you get negative feedback - instead fix the problem and turn it into positive feedback!
So, my tips are:
There are several murder mystery game publishers and I know that most are prepared to consider submissions by other authors.
The most important thing to remember when trying to sell your game to an established publisher is that they have their own house style and you will find yourself in an uphill struggle if you try to sell them something different.
(As an aside, when I'm working with authors at Freeform Games I find it deeply unprofessional if they ignore the house style and our Writer's Guidelines. I have no doubt that other publishers and editors feel the same.)
I recommend that you don't send your game immediately to the publishers.
Instead, write to them first and ask for a copy of their writer's guidelines.
You should explain who you are and that you've written a murder mystery game.
You should provide outline details, explain why you feel the game is suitable for their range.
If you have any previous writing experience, I suggest you mention that as well.
If you do send your game to a publisher without any previous announcement or discussion, don't be surprised if it's returned unread - you need to follow their submissions process (if they have one).
Tips for selling your game to existing publishers
It may be that your game is so unique and original that nobody else has anything quite like it - and you want to go it alone.
(Alternatively, it may be that you simply don't fancy sharing the profits with someone else.)
The advantages of selling your own game are that you are your own boss and editor (so you don't have to worry about house style - in fact, you can invent your own house style) and that for each copy you sell you will probably slightly more.
The disadvantages of selling your own game is that Internet marketing is a skill unto itself.
You may find that while you really wanted to write murder mystery games, you end up spending more time on website design, coding and promotion.
Existing publishers already have their own loyal customers and web presence and are better positioned to promote a new game.
If I was going it alone, here's what I would do:
Reunion with Death - a lockdown murder mystery for 6-9 players played using online video chat. Click here for more details.
Here's my suggested quick route through the site:
Step 1 - Go to Choosing a Game to choose the game that suits your party best.
Step 2 - Review the Tips for Hosts for helpful advice.
Step 3 - If you want to keep up to date with the latest murder mystery game news, click on my What's New page.
Step 4 - Once you've had your party - tell me how it went! Click here to tell me your murder mystery party story.
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