As an indie game designer and self-publisher with one board game in the market, I have been wrestling with the big “What’s Next” question for the past year. While I still consistently design and prototype games, I questioned the potential to progress forward with such a small operation. Instead of focusing on the personal struggles of this decision, I’ll outline the objective factors I considered when becoming the publisher of other’s works.
Objective Factors Becoming the Publisher:
- Committing to things I’m not good at or don’t find enough time to prioritize. I’ve found out this is a longer list than I thought. This means either getting good at them or finding help from someone or something that is. Introducing a game to the market and pursuing continued growth are very different things, and publishing multiple projects means less time for each. Prioritization will need to occur not just at the project level, but also the marketing and sales channel levels.
- Being able to make tougher decisions. Working on your “baby” project is great because you can be laser focused. As a publisher, there will be competing children looking for attention. New projects will come with new risks, and they could affect existing projects and cash flow of the small operation.
- Staying up to date with the market. This means playing more games and supporting more projects on Kickstarter. The market has definitely evolved since my first project and staying on top of themes, art styles, and gameplay mechanics will be critical to success.
- Building and protecting reputation. Over the last year, I have come across a lot of opportunities with Brewin’ USA where some have come through and some have fizzled. I have done my best to be respectful, but I also will draw from these experiences when evaluating a future opportunity. What will continue to be critical to me as a small indie will be following through with my network. Outside of the network, a publisher is subject to the waves of the internet and can build respect or possibly even negative sentiment.
- Working with others. This might be the biggest difference when deciding to be a publisher. This is mostly a good thing but could present conflicting interests if tough decisions above need to be made.
All in all, I am becoming the publisher of designs I did not initiate. I’m still a little torn with this change, but I’m excited about coloring in the lines drawn by other people.
If you’ve navigated these waters, leave a comment about what you wish you knew going into it. If you’re just now wrestling with this decision, let me know if you have any questions.