Writer and thinker, Ian Bogost (author of Persuasive Games) calls it “vampire” or “write-only” publishing: books, especially scholarly books, that are not written to be read but are written to “have been written.” Check out Ian Bogost’s “Writing Books People Want to Read (Or, How to Stake Vampire Publishing)” over on his site. You’ll come into the middle of an ongoing discussion worth having, in my opinion. It’s about exactly the kinds of books that Gameplaywright Press strives to avoid. This is one of the reasons we are slow to produce books—if we don’t want to read it, we don’t make it.
We—gamers and loudmouths in general, Gameplaywright Press in particular—have lots of great subjects for books waiting to be written. The trick is producing that idea in a way that isn’t dry, isn’t dull, isn’t pretending to be academic just so we can say we take a subject seriously. We can take a subject seriously and also use words like fuckwit, I think. (See Things We Think About Games.)
Some of the best writing about game design and ludic thinking is happening on blogs and Twitter right now. This is fine. This is good. This is, at the very least, value neutral. It’s partway between publishing and discourse, which is just about where I want these kinds of ideas to be exchanged—a bit of formality, a bit of authorship, a bit of shop talk. Sometimes we’re offering researched data points, sometimes we’re saying, “Hey, I just got a crazy idea!” Both are useful.
I bring this up because Ian Bogost got me thinking. Also, with the summer hobby-gaming convention season almost upon us, and no new Gameplaywright Press book in sight, I thought it was important to talk a bit about the future: we’re planning at least a couple of new books (and book-like things), but we’d like to hear more from you, dear reader.
Tell us: What do you want to read? Do you prefer blogs to books? What was the last book about games you read?
Tell us more than that, if you like. We’re curious about you.