So, I've handed in my notice, I've four weeks (minus a few days holiday) left at work - then what?
First up, I need to get my company off to a good start. To help this I've a few meetings to line up over the next few weeks.
- Bank Manager - I need to keep my manager on side. My eighteen months free banking has just ended, but they apparently have a 'electronic' tariff which could save me some money. I also need to tell him my plans and see what advice he has.
- Small Business Advisor - I need to talk to someone about VAT-registering (which I know other publishers have done), and advice about how best to market my games.
- Manufacturer - I want to move into professionally manufactured games, but I know almost nothing about it. How do I reduce the cost? What little things make a big difference to the cost? What software should I use to prepare the artwork? Hopefully a meeting with a manufacturer will answer some of these qustions.
I'm now fairly convinced my next game will be Codename: Network, but it's still changing fairly rapidly as the designer and I try out new ideas. I need to spend a decent amount of time improving it, stabilise the rules, get a signed contract with the designer and then start on the artwork and publicity. I'm thinking of a pre-order drive, offering fans a chance to get the game early (and cheap) and by cutting out the middle-man making more money myself than I would if I sold to a shop. I also need to get shops interested in ordering the game in bulk. How to do that? I'm not really sure yet. One way is to contact the shops directly, another is to get gamers who want the game to contact their local shop (this already happened for It's Alive!), a third method is to get a distributor to stock the game and then run a solicitation advert in their trade magazine. I've no idea yet which one will work best.
It's an exciting time, but even with eighteen months experience in the industry, the change of situation, and hence business model will incur a steep learning curve.