From VNDev Wiki

Marketing is the act of creating, communicating, and delivering a product to another person. Marketing is something that happens during all steps of the development process, from when a developer decides what kind of visual novel they want to create to when they pick a social media to post on.

When marketing a visual novel, the first thing the developer needs to do is understand demographics and target audiences. The target audience for their visual novel will decide a lot of how they should approach marketing.


There are several ways developers go about marketing their visual novels. Some marketing avenues for marketing visual novels include:

Social media

Developers will post about their games onto various social media platforms, interact with other developers, participate in events, and more.

Common social media sites for this include (but aren't limited to):

  • Twitter
  • Tiktok
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
  • Discord servers

Press & Streamers

There are lots of gaming journalists and streamers who actively play and review visual novels, though most aren't exclusively visual novels. Developers reach out to these people, usually via email or direct messages on social media, and ask them to review their visual novel.

These emails will typically contain:

  • Game log line
  • Introduction (who the developer is and why they're reaching out)
  • Longer summary of the visual novel
  • Steam keys (if applicable)
  • Press kit
  • Social media links

And ongoing list of journalists and streamers who play visual novels can be found here.


Developers who intend on releasing more than one visual novel sometimes start a newsletter where players can sign up and get updates for future titles. Developers typically grow these newsletter lists by linking them on social media, having them accessible in their game demos and full games, adding them to their websites and store pages, and more.

Newsletters are a popular choice for studios as they're a convenient way of reaching players without worrying about social media algorithms. Furthermore, players directly sign up for newsletters, meaning they're typically more invested in a developer's games than players who follow them on social media.


Visual novel jams and Steam Festivals are popular ways for developers to share their games to wider audiences.


New strategies and tactics for marketing visual novels are being developed every year. Here are a few strategies developers currently use.


Being consistent is an important aspect of marketing. Developers should post updates somewhat consistently. Going long stretches of time without any posts leads to decreased retention and people losing interest in projects.

Ways to stay consistent include:

  • keeping a backlog of content to post so as to not run out of posts
  • setting aside a day to draft new posts and schedule posts
  • keeping a calendar of important events and reminders


Indie creators are typically solo developers or very small teams creating games for the love of it. Sharing some of this enthusiasm and not trying to look like a large corporation is appealing to players, as it gives them a connection with developers. Being genuine in marketing can help developers reach out to players.


Branding is the process of picking certain aesthetics, graphic designs, copy, and more to build a cohesive story about a game or studio. Branding can be most readily seen in a game's graphic design, but it also encompasses how developers pitch their games.

For instance, otome game key visuals and promotional art typically focuses on the male love interest(s). Comparing how other developers brand their games inline with genre and audience expectations is an important part of researching branding.

Common Misconceptions

As marketing is such a broad field, there are several misconceptions about it both for visual novels and in general.

Marketing is the same as advertising.

  • Marketing encompasses advertising, but is not wholly represented by it. Marketing includes other fields such as graphic design, copy, social media, and much more.
  • Marketing is better described as a means of communicating a product to others. It's the culmination of methods and ways for how people communicate.

Marketing is something you can wait on.

  • Newer developers tend to push marketing off until the last stages of development, but this is impossible. Marketing encompasses several aspects of the game itself such as the aesthetics, art style, story genres, and more.
  • Waiting to begin publicly marketing visual novels is not advised, as it gives developers less time to refine their pitch.

Social media is all you need for marketing.

  • Social media is fickle and not something developers can control. Rather, a marketing plan should be created that gives a much broader scope of marketing a game than just social media, such as newsletters, reaching out to press, and more.

Marketing Terms

Additional Marketing Resources

Marketing Guides