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Subject: Self-publish vs Pro-publish vs Geek-publish? rss

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Derek H
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Given the very remote possibility that I may actually get a game to the point where it is playable ... and maybe even enjoyable ... by a wider audience, I was wondering what route to follow.

For most designers, I assume that they would like to see their games published by a professional game company - clearly that is the "first prize". A number of others have seemingly preferred the self-publish route. The downside to this is the large capital cost involved.

Given that making a game available for "print and play" via the web is the quickest and cheapest route, what are the downsides to this approach? Does it limit one's future options - e.g. if a game company saw the design and liked it, would they be put off by the fact that it would already have been made available for free? Would one's rights of ownership still be intact?

Any ideas or insights would be welcome!

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Pete Belli
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If you are willing to do the extra work and if you want creative control of your game, perhaps you should publish it yourself...

 
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Byron Grimes
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I've got my first game to prototype, and am hoping to get going on serious playtesting soon. But, once I'm satisfied with that, I'm pretty sure I'm going to "geek-publish". I don't have the capital to self publish, and I'm also a big fan of the creative commons movement, so I think I'll upload the files and let it go. Perhaps after a while, I could produce a self- published version, but I think the ideas behind the release are: 1. get my game out there 2. begin to build a reputation.

Creative commons is the easiest way to start on both of those. Cory Doctorow has a very solid reputation as a mid-tier scifi author, but his books are also released as creative commons. His publisher keeps sending the books back to print, because people can check them out online, but few want to finish the book that way. Anyway, there's my two cents.
 
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Peter Struijf
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I self-published "Kraków 1325AD" last year and risked most of our family savings on the project. I managed to find a good printer and the game was made at a level of quality I had not held possible in advance.

Certainly, I would have loved to have 10,000 copies printed by an established boardgame publisher. However, this is a) very unlikely if you are without any reputation and b) usually involves significant adjustment of your game/ideas by the publisher - which is fair enough of course.

However, once I had taken the plunge to self-publish, I have not looked back. Making "Kraków 1325 AD" exactly the way I wanted to and starting a small business to market it has been a fantastic experience I will never forget.

Financially, breaking even is the goal and it is still a long way off. But it's a holiday of a lifetime.

Give it a go, if you can afford it, I would say.
 
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