Promoting Your Games

Obviously I haven’t made a game, but only because I cant code! Or write! Or think under pressure. Urgh… Anyway, how do people actually go about promoting their CS based games, since I only heard of COG after searching: Text Based Zombie Game, not as ads on any game website or something. So I was just wondering how the people who have made games go about promoting their games.

Basically, the way I see it you can either: Put an advertisement on a website (or on a massive billboard, if your feeling unique :smiley:) or have a sorta PR type thingy: like posting stuff on Facebook, Twitter and other social messaging services.

But I haven’t actually seen any CS games advertised outside this dark hole we call the CoG forum (It was just a joke, please don’t throw me into the pit!) So I was wondering if most authors actually try to actively advertise, or just let CoG announce it’s release and wait.

Also, do you guys/girls/ non-binary option (I’m getting the hang of this!) think that Let’s Play(s) are a good way to advertise, since more people have started posting their Let’s Play of CS based games.

Firstly, no one starts out being able to code in choicescript. It’s not a magical language some of us innately know. It’s also specifically designed to be easy for non-coders to use. The not being able to write might be more of an issue, but you seem to be doing really well writing forum posts. :slight_smile:

The wiki does have an article though.

I first came to Choice of Games via a review on JayIsGames which was a site that I used to frequent a lot.


FWIW, we have never been able to figure out how to advertise our games effectively. Money spent has not moved the needle noticeably, and certainly not enough to actually provide an ROI.

That said, @JimD did buy some AdWords for his game, and tracked the ROI. He might have some insight for you there.

Similarly, Zachary Sergi heavily promotes the Heroes Rise and upcoming Versus series via Facebook and Twitter. It’s unclear to me if there’s been an ROI there, but you can at least see what he’s doing. (And, notably, he’s been doing well enough that he’s now working on his fifth game for us.)


You could probably get a ROI doing PR over straight advertising.

Things like talking to your local comic book/gamer shop about hosting a night where you do a live play through/talk about what it takes to go from fantasy idea to full fledged reality could help you find the community you actually want to be engaged with.

I’ve had a lot of luck actually talking to libraries! I did super basic class where I used my character creation demo and let kids change the words to make alien creatures and that was a huge hit.

Doing a teen night with something a little more complex might be the best way to see actual sales of games since most of them aren’t aimed a children Hahahah. But at least where I’m from in small town USA there’s enough teenagers that go to the library over the summer to drum up a good group.

There’s a lot of middle schools that would probably be open to having local authors come in and take a day and teach a special class about coding/writing.

Summercamps for coding would probably love to have somebody with a published app as a presenter – there’s a lot of options for small group meetings that wouldn’t cost you much more than time but could yield strong interest!


Those activities can be very worthwhile, but not in terms of money. You’d make more money just finishing your game (or working on your next game).

Money isn’t everything, but don’t do stuff like this for the money. It doesn’t pay out.


Given the limited audience currently for these games, there is no sure fire way to advertise your work without spending more money than you’re likely to make. Not right out of the gate anyway. The best way is by continually making quality games that people want to play, and with each subsequent release you build up an audience. I would also recommend when promoting your game on facebook or whatever other method you choose to also recommend other CoG releases that you think that people who enjoyed your game would also enjoy. Basically, we want to try to create a closed loop system, where we build an audience for these games so that they buy not only our own games but games from others as well, whereby they become invested and are more likely to buy future releases, both yours and others.


One way of promoting is creating a Facebook fanpage for your game. Fanpages are quite powerful because of 3 reasons:

  1. There are apps on FB that allow you to add tabs to a FB page with your own web code! (The best one I’ve seen has a grey icon with a white star in it, and I belive it’s called Static HTML somethingorother, if you search HTML in in FB under apps you’ll find it) This is powerful because if you know a tad bit of html, you can have your game playing right there on FB in an iFrame, so no need for people to go out of FB to another website to play your game.

  2. Fans, this feature alone is practically worth the weight of the servers FB runs on in gold to marketers. If someone likes your page, i.e. becomes a fan, you 1, can advertise to them as a custom audience (more on that later), and 2 the posts you put on the page get priority over others in a fans’ newsfeed giving you an edge over (pardon the pun) the Edgerank (FB version of Google Pagerank) of other posts.

  3. FB fanpage advertisements. Once you hit (I believe it’s over 400 fans on a fan page, though they might have changed it to immediately after you even create a page, I’m not sure) you can start advertising on a PPC (pay per click) or PPM (pay per mile (in this case 1,000 impressions or views of your ad)) basis with FB. If you have the software tools (and there are quite a few available) you can (rather than be stuck with FB’s idea of people who have an interest in whatever category you choose to advertise in based on whatever algorithm used (which may not necessarily be correct in some cases)) what’s called ‘scrape’ or collect the FB user id’s of people who belong to certain groups or fanpages that may be in your target market. Once you have these, you can upload a .csv file of them to FB, who will then populate them, and advertise to these targeted individuals for 1/2 of what it would cost you normally advertising with FB’s pre-defined categories, not to mention would probably be more targeted, these are called FB custom audiences.

The most effective way to harness these fans and custom audiences (in my opinion anywho) would be driving them to an optin page to get on your email list, or an article with an optin CTA (call to action), and then keep them engaged on your facebook page and in their email, heck, a great idea to keep them engaged would be sending them to go sign up on the forum once their on your email list, since rather than you having to keep them constantly engaged, the forum will :smile: .


well. I live in an country where interactive fiction is a underground 80’s subculture. Mostly because of translations of classics Choose your own adventures into our native language.

In fact the genre is so unknown here, that in order to promote it, you must literally manage a lecture for your audiences. Making a first contact with the media.

Lectures and visits in high-schools and academies do IS a way to promote this kind of product. at least here in my coutry…

The author of Volunteer Firefighter, @Shula, had this to say about promoting her game.

@Nahim_Kerman Do you also get paid for doing those lectures, or do you do them for free? If so how large is your audience, how many games would you expect to sell in order to make a reasonable accounting for your time? Including travel time and any transport costs.

Just that, well if you’ve a $3 game and the author’s making 50 cents a game, you’re going to have to sell how many games to cover the cost of everything? It just doesn’t feel viable for Hosted Game authors, at least not specifically to earn money.

(Not saying that that’s not valuable. I believe Choice of Games do actually do some work in that regard. Well they run panels at conventions, there’s been a few posts about choicescript being taught places too.)

There are niche gaming communities that are more receptive to this style of gaming, too. In general, I find connecting small communities can create one larger community.

MUDs (multiuser dungeons) are generally text-based MMOs without graphics and have a small, but strong community of players who don’t rely on graphics for their entertainment. You can find a few at the site TopMUDs. I’ve personally had a lot of success pitching CoG games to people I’ve met through this venue!

There’s also the fact that indie gamers tend to flock together and support each other. Sharing and promoting the work of fellow developers can sometimes lead to people discovering work they otherwise wouldn’t have through another author’s platform. I’ve seen that blossom into friendships and sometimes collaborations for people, too, which is really neat imo. :blush: Bloggers and Let’s Play youtubers have their own followings, too–and that’s a cool way work gets shared as well. I discovered Hatoful Boyfriend years ago through the fantastic Angie Gallant commentaries! And I learned about 7KPP by @Aly through CoG forums. (I noticed she also promoted Waywalkers on her blog!)

These are just idle observations. I had CoG recommended to me by a friend who enjoyed Choice of Romance, and the rest is history. :slight_smile:


@SwanMaiden This is pretty much how it has worked for me.

(Obviously, 7KPP isn’t a CoG game (anymore)) but it has a similar niche appeal.

If you put it places (or have awesome people like @alliebee put it there for you) where people who are fans of similar sort of things are, people tend to respond and it grows by word of mouth.

I think CoG in particular have a big cross-over appeal potential with people who love to read. So trying to include it to people who love books/ebooks etc. and not just gamers could work.

For games with a heavy emphasis or romance or sci-fi/fantasy for example, there are tons of blogs/communities created around those kinds of books. They also tend to have a lot of book-review sites/blogs. I bet you could get some romance blogs to try a review-copy of a game and maybe write a review about it for example.

I’m pretty sure all reading heavy games have to judge their audience. My game comes with pictures/sound etc and I still get a lot of “OMG SO MUCH READING! dies” responses from people. :slight_smile:


Well the context of an choicescript game is a bit alien to our publishing marketing.

Let me explain. Here in my country work with media and culture can be a very freaky experience.

I have never perform a lecture, or palestra as we call it. but the place i work host this kind of event. Mostly the release of a new book. or the disclosure of some multimedia project, movie or campaign.

We do not charge for the rent of our space, but there are bookstores and academies that does. The only thing we ask is for the organizers of the event is that they inform us with antecedence the duration in hours and take the costs regarding entertainers, speakers and consumables. Also the cleaning.

Our marketing is very complex. There are publishers and marketing companies specialized in this kind of event. They normally use these spaces to “taste” how is like the audience’s acceptance of determined genre or media before invest in a full release.

So much that e-books are something relatively new here. Amazon sells more graphic novel that books properly here. strange not?

There are also a thing that i suppose is solely part of our cultural context. Publishers that pay for an (renowned) author release a book on it’s seal, even knowing that their books will not sell well.

This is a kind of promotion. This author use to be quite well regarded in an certain circles. (read intellectual elites and foreigners literary markets) And a few publishers seem to use this kind of… I don’t know… Glamour? To attract conceited authors in and out of our country into their catalog.

Another aspect of our country is that we have not native authors publishing fiction.
Most of our national publishing are non-fiction, self-help and technical books.

Most of these authors seek colleges, academies and organizations related to their area of actuation to promote their books. Others are invited to do so, as their work is important in determined area of knowledge (like architecture for example)

there are also authors that make use of self publishing. literary paying for their own books. And man, i never understood that!
Seem that for some kind of people. Be a author of an book is a kind of status or form of self promoting. (and spend a lot of money with no guarantee of return)

Another important point is that our bookstores not solely sells books. They sells everything! Comics, coffee, trinkets, souvenir, kindles… everything…
So, by consequence these places attract a bit of young people.

The marketing agencies seem these places as hotspots to their campaigns.
The events sponsored by them got since urban intervention to shows with teen bands that are currently exploding on internet (they are far more cheap than successful bands, and attract a good load of youth).

They like to aim in public that lies in literary and technology fairs, like the Rio’s Biennial book fair or International literary fair of Paraty. The main client of theses enterprises is the government that pays them a sweet load of money.

regarding fiction, here most of works published and games released were already successful in USA and Europe. So the big ones of our market translate them and release on our market. If it sells well, they generally buy for the rights of the entire works of the author.

There are also exceptions. like the young publisher “Intrinseca” whose young geeks editors were fans of John Green’s Vlog and release his works translated before the astonishing success of ‘the fault in our stars’ and’ Looking for Alaska’.

Or the case of “Sextante”. that invest in an certain Dan Brown when he was a illustrious unknown and no one in U.S. or Europe hear about a certain Da Vinci’s code

So this is a share of what i know about this Hellish piece of Publishing market we got here in my place. Hope it may be of use. :smiley:

eDIT: Oh i just remeber! sirca 2009 there were various blogers and persons of renown in the “spheres”(blogospheres, youtuberspheres, etc). That were treaten like journalist ans subcelebrities by their niches. The publishing groups and marketing boy have a keen eye on them, since they are good promoters of warever they like. (IF they like what you send for them, of course)

So out of curiosity, what is your country?

i don’t told?
Sorry, i get distracted easily.

I living in a tiny american country named Brazil.

:blush: 13 more people replied than I expected! I didn’t just ask this for the money side, it’s just that the first time I even hear of CoG was when I randomly clicked on the HG page.

Anyway, so people advertise for each game much? I was only wondering because @JimD is really popular- so all he need for his next game ZE:SH is an announcement saying the game’s released, as he already has a sort of fan database. Or is that wrong?

Well, yes and no. He has a database of FB fans (2508 of them to be exact, as of writing this anywho) on his ZE fanpage that he personally can announce to. But those 2508 don’t necessarily make up all of the people who’ve played the ZE series, and not all of them may play and buy the game, but yes he would probably have quite a few ready and poised to jump on it. I don’t know if he has any other databases, such as an email list etc., that could allow him to announce to the other people who’ve bought his games before.

Choice of Games on their end, as you are most likely aware, sends out an email blast every once in a while when they have a game that comes out, and their database is likely over 10,000 emails and (at least I assume) is roughly in the upper 50,000’s, and even that number probably isn’t all of the people who buy COG’s and HG’s.

Would be interesting if we could use Push Notifications to market games to people who’ve already downloaded COG and HG apps on their phones, now that would be extremely targeted.

I hate push notifications. They’re a guaranteed way to get me to uninstall a game. That said, I would like to see more advertisements for choice games, while actually playing choice games. Either at the beginning, or at the end of the game. A “If you liked this game try this other game” sort of thing. I think the Hosted Games do that? I know there’s a general “try choice of games” comment, but with so many games it’s difficult to know where to start, or what they’re about.

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Well for my game, I’m planning on spreading the word out on tumblr considering I have a pretty large following there already with a couple hundred followers, many of them I can consider close friends of mine. They might also be willing to help me out in spreading the word.

I might also make an official tumblr blog for it where I can put the codex, art and maybe a couple short stories that also go in with the main game. But I’m still not exactly sure if I wanna do that.

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Even a push notification with something to your advantage i.e. an incentive? One of my absolute favorite mobile app developers is Gamevil and I think they are GENIUSES in the way they use Push Notifications. For example, back when I first downloaded Zenonia (#4 I believe it was) they sent me a Push Notification something along the lines of: ‘Like and Share this post on our FB fanpage and get 200 (insert in-game currency here that you could normally only get if you payed in actual currency) instantly as a special launch promotion for Zenonia (again I do believe it was Zenonia 4)!’. What do you think I did? Not 3 minutes later, I had liked and shared a post that about 1709 people had already decided to do the same as well. And let me ask, what do you think that did to the Post’s already ‘on overdrive’ Facebook Edgerank? Precisely. It skyrocketed and created even more virality.

I’m not by any means saying COG should start implementing a Pay-To-Win mentality into newer HGs and COGs. This above ^^ is simply an example of what pushed me to action (with a Push Notification) when Gamevil called for it, and obviously, whatever Gamevil has been doing has been working pretty well for them.

If your game is available, definitely post an entry for it on IFDB with appropriate keywords. Great cover art and an alluring blurb are also helpful.

Before your game is released, when it is finished and beta-tested, you might also consider submitting it to a competition. Lynnea Glasser’s Creatures Such as We did very well in the IFComp and is highly regarded outside the CoG community. This year’s IFComp is happening soon. Also consider Spring Thing which is more of a gallery for long works than a comp.