5 August 2021: I’m Not In This For Awards

My aim is to make Dancing Lights Press into the best lo-fi publisher that I can make it. I want people to respect the company for what it is. The books need to be as good as I can possibly make them, while maintaining the practical and philosophical restraints that I’m working with. I don’t need to be crowned King of All Game Design and sit on a throne made of full-color hardcover books. I’m not in this for awards. I just want to help people creative amazing things, and make a modest living.

However, this deeply offends people for some reason. “Shouldn’t you want every book you publish to be award-worthy?” Well, no. A lot of our books are toolkits, meant to help you with your creativity. They’re useful, and not meant to be not flashy. It’s why there’s no Pulitzer category for “best auto repair manual”. The things you need to do to win awards run contrary to the purpose of the book.

It’s all part of this limiting and borderline toxic mindset, that all tabletop roleplaying books need to be fully-illustrated, full-color hardcovers with huge page counts. We equate equality with quantity, and measure value not by utility but production value. A lot of the things that win awards are brilliant game designs, yes, but a lot of other books win because they are beautiful objects. That wouldn’t be a problem if the category they won was “most beautiful object”, yet it rarely is.