TrickWithAKnife wrote:Marketing is just as important as any other skill.
Maybe more so. It doesn't matter what you've done or who you've appealed to with your game if no one knows it exists. Especially in a digital market where you are competing with hundreds or thousands of titles, you can't just assume your game is going to be so good it'll draw its own attention. Even a niche game or genre needs to advertise itself to that niche!
Marketing is about getting eyes on your product - and then letting the subject matter or game itself determine who sticks around and tries it out. That's why what the games are called is so important - if the term is boring or not descriptive, people aren't going to notice your game or look twice. The term needs to convey the "brand" and personality of the community, and it needs to be memorable.
The term "visual novel" actually fails from a business and marketing standpoint of dos-and-don'ts. You want to be evocative - not super literal. The word itself turns off a huge segment of gamers that don't like to read - only they DO read - they read mountains of text in RPGs and shooter games and handhelds. But they'd never pick up a book, and you just hit them with the word "novel" which is also a very static and sedate word. But most of these same players would love a lot of VNs if convinced to try them. And the thing is, you may not get the opportunity to have a conversation with them to convince them. The name itself - what the game or genre is called, has to "hook" them.
Most of the gamers I've known who aren't anime fans (talking of real life acquaintances) have only ever had 1 of 2 opinions upon hearing the term "visual novel". Either, "Oh, that pedophile crap from Japan?" if they are tangentially familiar with the term, or "A computer novel with pictures that you have to click through?! One sentence at a time?! That sounds horrendous." The term makes them imagine reading a book v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-ly.
And one of these SAME people spent an afternoon enthusing to me about a game he was playing on his phone where you were a king and you got different scenarios from people you met and you could make choices to affect the outcome of battles and court intrigues. All of which you read about in paragraphs with static accompanying pictures. He was playing what was functionally a VISUAL NOVEL, but I believe that particular game had labeled itself a "strategy simulator". An active term that implied player interaction and things happening. It had quite a bit less gameplay than Papillon's "Long Live the Queen".
The worst thing isn't potential new fans not knowing what "visual novel" means. It's potential new fans not WANTING to know what "visual novel" means, because it sounds like homework.