Well DreadBall is rolling along nicely and all my other freelance work is under control. So what next?
I’ve mentioned self-publishing once or twice in passing, and this is something I’ve been considering for a long while. Now I’m all done considering and am busy trying to implement it.
What I mean by self-publishing is selling my game designs directly as PDFs, with an option for Print On Demand (POD) sites like Lulu to sort people out with hard copies if they want them.
This approach has a number of advantages both for me and for people who might want to play my games. For me it means:
- That I can publish what I like. I’ve got loads of games kicking about in various states of completeness, many of which have been abandoned because getting them published in a traditional format takes so much time, effort (and money) and I’d rather be doing something else. If I can publish them on Quirkworthy as PDFs then the problems are reduced to (a) can I get the game to work and (b) technical ones of organising the layout and art.
- I can publish games much faster. Traditional publishing is a slow process. Once I’ve had a bit of practice at this self-publishing lark I can see it being a very slick and brisk system. Also, the more I do, the more new ideas I have. Occasionally I worry that I won’t think of anything good after the current project, but it never turns out like that. Working through projects and getting them out of my head and into the world frees up thinking space for new things. That’s a good feeling. In practice I have always had way more ideas than I could get into print.
- I get to keep the IP. Creating Intellectual Property (IP) is one of the things I do, and it is irksome to see it taken in directions I don’t agree with. This doesn’t happen a lot as people tend to trust my judgement much of the time, but it can get compromised for various reasons. As freelance work basically involves selling the rights of what you create to your client there is nothing you can do about this. However, it would be nice to be able to say no at times and to have some more control about what happens to it and (more usually the issue) how it is developed.
- I will hopefully make a little cash. This is boring, but has to be done. The less of my brain that has to consider tedious rubbish like paying bills, the happier I am. Game design is difficult to make money at, doubly so without a large amount of initial investment and a fondness for running businesses (neither of which I have). I like designing and writing stuff, not dealing with stock levels and accounts. Self publishing allows me the maximum time doing what I like and am best at, and the least time possible dealing with stuff I find dull and tedious.
So all told it looks like a grand idea for me. What does it mean for you guys?
- You get more cool games to play. I’ll assume that you like at least one of my games if you’re reading this. As I have similar design sensibilities across my games, the chances are you’d like some or all of my other games too. Me publishing more games means more potential fun for you. Oh, and new shiny toys for gamers is always good 🙂
- You get games and supplements faster. Some of these new things will be tabletop games with miniatures, and I’m not intending to make model ranges for them. That’s a big time sink I would be better off avoiding on the whole. Instead I’m talking to a number of companies who already produce the appropriate models. By working in partnership with them I can focus on the bit I do and leave them to do the rest. This means that what I do gets done faster as there’s less of everything else to get in the way. Hence, supplements will appear quickly – something gamers often complain does not happen.
- Stuff will be better supported. It takes me a while to get round everything (as there’s only one of me), but I do try to support the games I design. I think that’s only right. The better this concept does financially, the more time I can spend working on it, including the support for each game. A kind of positive feedback loop.
So I think it should work for you too. Of course, we’ll have to see how it goes when it’s live, but I think it looks good on paper.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, this does not mean that I am abandoning any of my freelance projects. Not at all. I’m still working on all the ones you have heard about and several others that haven’t ben announced yet. I’ll just be using this new route to get a whole raft of cool game ideas out into the big wide world rather than have them languish unpublished in my notebooks.
I’ll come back to this and what exactly I have in mind for the first wave tomorrow.