Why I Got Out of Sales

2008 Oct 20

This thread on the Forge (thanks Judd!) is a pretty clear depiction of the kinds of issues one has to deal with in commercial self-publishing, issues that I very quickly grew frustrated dealing with. I felt like I was spending a lot of energy on things that were not fun to me, when what I really wanted to be doing was making games and playing games, not trying to figure out how to run a profitable and self-sustaining small business.

It’s certainly true that, when compared to freelancing for a big company, self-publishers have infinite more freedom to do what they want. However, the downside is having to do almost all of it yourself. Companies like Lulu and IPR have made it easier in many ways, but there’s still an insane amount of work that you need to do, which no one can or will do for you. The people who enjoy that work and do it well are likely to thrive in self-publishing, but there are also many people for whom dealing with business matters is like pulling teeth.

Personally, if I was going to get back into commercial publishing, it would be under the following conditions: I would produce work that I would license commercially to another publisher for a fixed fee or percentage of sales. Said work would be completed (writing, layout, art, etc.) before we even started negotiating or produced under an agreement with no time constraint (it would be finished when it was finished and they could decide at that point to license it or no). I’m not sure I’m ever going to be excited about handling the details of commercial publishing myself again.

That said, non-commercial publishing (the stuff that’s tagged on this blog as “Anti-Publishing”) is a completely different game and one I’m increasingly excited about.

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