How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

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tiya_nofurita
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How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#1 Post by tiya_nofurita » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:39 am

I honestly ask you, dear all VN developer.
I've published several VNs previously, but I feel like getting very little feedback or audience that I'd expected.
I've published on this forum and some regional forum too, but the result is not too significant.
Maybe it has to do with my target of audience too (IMO my latest VN, ERASER is not the mainstream one like dating sim or such a kind).
Please share your opinion about this, and if possible, give me some suggestion to improve the audience of my VN. I want my VN to be read by many people, and I want to receive useful feedback too.
Thank you in advance :D

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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#2 Post by MaiMai » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:48 am

Do you use any social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr? Social media is key for getting a niche product like visual novels out there.
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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#3 Post by tiya_nofurita » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:51 am

MaiMai wrote:Do you use any social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr? Social media is key for getting a niche product like visual novels out there.
Yes, I do have facebook, but it doesn't help since very few of my friends know about visual novel. Talk about niche market :lol:
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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#4 Post by Morhighan » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:10 am

tiya_nofurita wrote:
MaiMai wrote:Do you use any social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr? Social media is key for getting a niche product like visual novels out there.
Yes, I do have facebook, but it doesn't help since very few of my friends know about visual novel. Talk about niche market :lol:
I find that having a "professional" page on facebook (like a business page) hasn't helped much, but that getting on Twitter and following other VN-devs and like-minded people has gotten my game out there quite a bit. Being active on the forums is good, and so is tumblr. Also, making sure to update (not too much or too little) on all of those social media helps.
If you make free games, you can post them up on Gamejoltfor ad revenue, and I've found that's gotten me quite a bit of attention, as you can post games in progress.

Good luck!

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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#5 Post by gekiganwing » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:25 am

tiya_nofurita wrote: I've published several VNs previously, but I feel like getting very little feedback or audience that I'd expected...
Maybe it has to do with my target of audience too...
I'm definitely not an expert in marketing or promotion. That said, consider the following:

Are you using the format of a visual novel to tell a story? If so, consider the following factors:

* What sort of story are you telling?
* Genre: there are general and specific ways to categorize fiction. Read or at least skim through Wikipedia's list of genres. Think about the ones you already enjoy, and ones which you might want to try in the near future.
* Theme: What topics will be addressed in your story? What message do you want to convey about these topics?
* Mood: Overall, what do you want your readers to feel from reading your story? Depression? Hope? Worry?
* What is the estimated age of your readers?
* If there is content that is not appropriate for all audiences, then what sort of rating would your story get? For instance, what would the Indonesian Film Censorship Board likely say about it?
* What sort of art might be appropriate for your story?
* Elevator pitch: Don't say "I suck at summaries." Instead, try several times to describe your story in a few words. See if you can figure out how to include phrases that imply why it's appealing, and the sort of people who might enjoy the story.
* Distribution: if there is a specific fan community or forum that might be interested in your free visual novel, then consider releasing it in a place where they will notice it. Also, keep in mind that a few freeware creators have released their visual novels on Google Play. If this is a viable option for you, consider it.
* Distribution format: will your VN work in a web browser? Some people prefer to download a file, read, and then give feedback. Others might prefer the ability to read a visual novel in a different tab or window.

If you're not confident in your ability to create art, then consider asking for help. If you're confident in your story rather than your art, then consider paying at least one person to help you.

If you're focusing on gameplay rather than story, or if your visual novel will include a modest amount of gameplay, then that will influence its appeal. Make sure it's clear how much of the experience is reading a story, and how much of the experience is interaction.

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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#6 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:54 pm

It's worth noting that successful movies and AAA video games spend 50% of their budget on marketing and advertising. Many successful indie game makers talk about how marketing becomes a second job for them, taking many hours a week.

Are you proactive in your marketing, or are you just putting notifications in a few places and waiting for results? One effective technique can be offering free copies of your game to strategical positioned people in the community your are trying to reach. If they enjoy it, their word of mouth can gain you many new players. It's why many companies give out review copies now.

Are you planning a media campaign in the lead up to your game's release? This can be tricky to plan, but ideally you want to start at just the right time to slowly build hype over 2-3 months, all leading to the actual release of the game at the height of the hype. This can include teaser trailers, previews of the creation process, concept art, wallpapers, giving interviews, etc.

The important thing is to NOT treat marketing as an afterthought or something to do once the game is released. It needs to be a part of your plan from Day 1 and approached as diligently as you did making your game.

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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#7 Post by Tempus » Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:22 pm

Since it hasn't been explicitly stated: who you know is a very important part of marketing without a budget. If you befriend someone with a reach greater than yours they'll make your posts and tweets more valuable by sharing them. One way of doing that is to just contact them and ask them if you can help /them/. If you're an artist and they're not, maybe there's something you can do for them that doesn't require oversight (and hence doesn't add to their workload) which would get you on their radar. I've done this before, though I'd stress to only do this if you also /actually like/ the person and their work -- don't just go up to the dev with the largest follower count. Whenever I've done it I've genuinely wanted to help out. Sometimes you make a new friend too!
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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#8 Post by Lesleigh63 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:52 pm

Your first couple of games are educational and I'd expect that to attract a much smaller niche audience.
Eraser seems to be different. I know some of the artwork I saw for it in the WIP section attracted me. In your pitch or summary page, I recommend you concentrate on the story and the relationship between the characters rather than on the pharmacy information (the pharmacy information should be secondary to the story in my opinion - but that just may be me).
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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#9 Post by Milkymalk » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:33 pm

I'll be blunt here; I looked at your other thread and while the premise seems original, being bombarded with academical terms even in the screenshots made me lose interest very quickly.
You obviously know a lot about pharmacy, and a saying goes "write what you know". But you have to present it in a way that not only people with the same background would be interested. As said above, concentrate on the story when pitching, not on the subject that it takes as a background. You want to win players/readers, not pharmacy students.

Also, I somewhat prefer games with more than one person that you interact with. But that's just me, games with only one other character can still be good.
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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#10 Post by trooper6 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:06 am

I'm not bothered by technical terms, I enjoy things like that. On the other hand, the game is set in a high school with anime art...so I am not at all interested in that. Plus, I notice your screen shots include text that hasn't been proof read, which looks unprofessional.

So how do these statements help you with your question about advertising? They point me towards two thoughts.

Do you know your intended audience? I'm an arty gamer and would be interested in some academic stuff, but I am turned off by the otome high school anime of it. Milkymalk above doesn't seem bothered by the otome high school anime of it all but is turned off by some of the academic stuff. Which audience members do you want? Because you would market to me differently than you would to Malkymalk. So you should do some real thought into who the game is for.

Are you doing a marketing push too early? Your game has a gorgeous GUI but there are writing issues in the screen shots, form your WIP page, you are not very far along in the game. Marketing early when it is very much not polished can be counterproductive, in that it can give a bad impression of your game and turn people off.
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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#11 Post by leon » Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:25 pm

If you haven't done so already, I would suggest you check out the OELVN Community Wiki about Websites and Advertising.

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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#12 Post by Ben Ayoo » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:12 pm

I downloaded the pharmacy game long ago and played but still yet to finish it. At that time the quote about poison caught my eye. I didn't read the story information and just made a crazy, connection pharmacy and poisoning someone story. :P
As said above, concentrate on the story when pitching, not on the subject that it takes as a background. You want to win players/readers, not pharmacy students.
For me tour de pharmacy felt it did what the title stated, a tour around the pharmacy. It hit right on the mark so to me the way it diverted to the subject of pharmacy just felt right. There were no errors in the writing and it fairly held my interest. I also liked the girl sprite art and mouth expressions.

Touring a pharmacy at my age doesn't keep me excited much, while I was at high school it would have. (If you make touring a morgue and show the dead bodies it would hold my interest very much. A sizeable number of people are into watching dead and gory things. :D )

For now I will checkout ERASER and finish it first before tour de pharmacy.

Keeping your VN different will make me download them. I never touch dating sim cause I played so much flash version before I even knew what VN were. So you should probably keep doing them different.

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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#13 Post by verysunshine » Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:57 pm

That Websites and Advertising link is ridiculously helpful. I was trying to set up my own list of people to contact, but the people I found either had no contact info (review blogs), or were so popular it would be difficult to get through to them (Press Heart to Continue). What kinds of people should I contact?

Build the basics first, then add all the fun bits.

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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#14 Post by tiya_nofurita » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:51 am

wow, after quite some time I've received so many input, thank you all folks :D i'm in no condition to reply one by one but I'll definitely consider your opinion. Might reply in depth later, school is killing me :x
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Re: How To Make Your Visual Novel Get More Audience

#15 Post by tiya_nofurita » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:28 am

Since I have quite free time now so I shall reply your opinion in more detail.

@Morhighan : Thanks for the input also :D I'll try it.
@gekiganwing : You really pinpoint some aspects that I didn't consider previously. Thank you very much. Since this is single project (meaning I'll do almost all aspects : story, art and programming) I think I can't max out all my ability but I'll try to balance it.
@LateWhiteRabbit : What an interesting insight....yeah I always treat marketing as an afterthought or something to do once the game is released...I admit this is my fault to blame, but what's important now is trying to get more audience since the very start, no? I shall do my best :D I have published my demo on Google Play and received quite helpful amounts of feedback, almost all positive and they're hoping to see the full version. I hope this is a good sign. Android market sure skyrocketed this days, and definitely one of target market I should highly consider.
@Tempus : Thanks for the help, I have some kind of VN-building community in my country and they're planning to release monthly magazine too, and by participating it I've received useful feedback. (although not much....VN topic is not anyone ever heard of).
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