Why choose just one?!
I contacted a few folks and asked them this question:
What is the single tip you’d give tabletop designers?
Here are the answers.
My biggest tip would be to look for best practices in presenting games by examining how other games are designed, structured, and presented to readers.
“Show me what you got!” – Simple answer is, if you want to get into the industry is to do something. Even if it’ll never see print in the long run, do something you’d enjoy – whether it’s an adventure, a new class, something cool. Write it up and present it in the most professional way possible. That way, if you approach a publisher and they say “What have you done?” or ask for examples, you can show that (a) you can write professionally and clearly, and (b) understand the game. Not saying it’s for everyone, but it’s how I got started!
Start playtesting. Don’t start when it’s done, almost done, nearly presentable, or even “when it’s ready.” Start now, with your tiny scrap of an idea. See what happens when you toss it around. You might find that your world or mechanic or whatever does amazing things you would never have guessed! Or you might find out it collapses immediately, in which case you’re free to fix it or walk away and be free, your heart empty for further inspiration. And what a great feeling that is!
Thanks, folks! Jason, Dave and Alex are amazing people who do great work. Here are the details.