A few days ago I read a very interesting blog post about self-publishing games by Doug Levandowski, linked by a friend on Facebook.  The main thrust of the post is that publishing games as a hobby quickly becomes rather more than a hobby and ends up being more like an actual job, something that the writer finds a lot less enjoyable than creating games.
I'm pretty sure this is still an accurate depiction of a publisher's office.
(Image public domain, source: commons.wikimedia.org)

I must say that I can sympathise with that.  If I was to publish any of my own games myself, I think I would have to:
  • Either pay someone or get dramatically better at both artwork and graphic design (very different skills) than I actually am.
  • Find someone to help with editing the rules that I write.
  • Figure out how I am going to get all this stuff manufactured.
  • Liaise with manufacturers in order to actually get the games made.
  • Figure out shipping from the manufacturer and warehousing.
  • Arrange fulfillment, distribution, etc.
  • Do heaps of marketing.
  • Somehow find the funds to make all this happen.
    • Maybe running a Kickstarter project, and that's a whole heap of Interesting Times right there.
  • Customer support.
  • Bookkeeping and other financial stuff.
And that all takes up a lot of time that I could be doing things like, I don't know, eating, sleeping, or goofing around making new games.

I don't envisage myself becoming a publisher any time soon as all those things look like they would be better done by someone else.  The way I am going, if and when I manage to start getting games to a presentable state, I think pitching to existing publishers looks to be the most sensible path.

Doug goes on to talk about reasons designers might choose to self-publish their work, arguing that if publishers aren't interested in your game, it just isn't good enough.  This, of course, has fired off some debate about niche games, and publishers making mistakes, which lead to Doug providing a clarification that, if your game is good, you should be able to find some publisher out there if you look long and hard enough, unless it just can't be produced profitably.

I don't think any of this is worth me worrying about right now, but I find it all interesting discussion.

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