If you’re making RPGs as a hobbyist, with no expectation of making significant income from it, what are the upsides of spending any more time, effort, or expense on print or PDF publication (versus, say, just posting unpolished stuff to your blog)? I realize it’s a very personal question with no one-size-fits-all answer, but I feel like I could benefit from hearing other perspectives, and I suspect I’m not the only one around here wondering about this kind of thing.
To offer a bit more context about where this question comes from: I love making games, and I’ve enjoyed it more and been more productive since realizing it’s “just” a hobby for me. This leaves me feeling a bit confused about what the end goal is of all my hobbyist design work, though. Back when I assumed I would sell my games, it seemed self-evident that I’d spend considerable time and/or money on artwork (at the very least). As I near the end of a couple hobbyist projects, though, I’m suddenly wondering if I’d be better off just sticking stuff on my website, or the occasional “pay what you want” digital file on Drivethru and/or Itch.io.
Now, I love the idea of turning (some of) my games into actual books just because I love books, I enjoy book design, and I’d increase the odds of other people enjoying my games (which would make me feel good!) if I made more physically attractive and professional-looking games. But I am also well aware of how much work goes into publishing a book, and my leisure time is extremely limited since becoming a parent. Digital and POD publishing reduce potential headaches considerably, but I still can’t help but wonder if I’m going to suck all the fun out of my hobby by turning it into a job I really don’t need.
So, if you’re publishing games as a hobbyist, I’d love to know: How do you publish? Digital-only? POD? Crowdfunding? Why do you do it the way you do, and do you wish you were doing it differently? How do you decide when a game is “done”? Thanks in advance for anything you’re able to share!