How to reach out to Video Game Publishers
So, you’ve made your first game and you are almost nearing release, you haven’t spent much time thinking about marketing and the social aspect of getting your game out into the hands of players. At this point one may consider finding a publisher who can help them increase their total distribution and assist with the polishing of any final assets or work that needs to be done for the game to launch.
Publishers, by nature do not usually publicly post a contact email, or other way to get a hold of them apart from usually a submission form on their website. It is very important that you always see the direct emails first, and then post to these publishers through there on the website forms as a second option.
It will be vital to reach out to as many publishers and media outlets as you physically can’t, in a lot of ways it is a numbers game, and the more places you get your idea and vision shown the more people will take notice and begin to speak about your project.
Getting the first word in.
Initial contact emails can be very simple, explaining who you are what you do and what your current project is. It is important to not be superfluous in the email, and to only provide information directly related to the game, this include screenshots videos teasers and promotional material, so that the recipient of the email does not have to do any hard dating, and would be able to write about your game from the very first email.
Now, they probably won’t write about your game from your first initial contact, this is why it isn’t very important to keep a relationship with these media contacts and you keep them up to date as to the game's progress. Remember a game with good traction and a good social following is not only good for you, it is good for them. Explain how players will derive of value from your game and how the publisher will derive a value from applying their resources to your project.
It may be unlikely, to get your experimental game greenlight by a publisher, but don’t take that as your game being bad in any sense of the way. The primary directive of a publisher/investor is ultimately to increase their return on investment, if you can prove that you were game has what it takes to make it to the big leagues and to provide good value for both you and the publisher, their decision to find or provide resources towards your games should be a no brainer.
There are many companies that specialize in Indie Video Game Publishing, such as NōD Indie Game Publishing in Dallas TX, who also provides a physical working area, project pitches, and funding.
You can blog or post on social media about your game but you must make sure that you are actively reaching out and sharing your ideas with other people who could be interested and would do the same and Sharon, this is somewhere a publisher excelled. They have the media and the financial resources to bring your A-game in front of potentially millions of players, it can be done teen at first, but you must remember that publishers are people too, looking for value, and looking to create value.
Reach out to many Sources at once.
As compiled by TeeGee on TIGsource, some resources/services available to help distribute your press releases:
http://www.gamespress.com/ - a free PR distribution service. It's free to submit news, so there's no reason to not use it every time you release something. The effects aren't as good as when using a paid service, but still, some outlets will pick up your game.
http://www.softpressrelease.com - the most expensive and theoretically the best PR service. In practice, the difference between this and cheaper services is not that big (though, it's still there). We used it for the bigger news on our casual games. The effect was slightly better than when using other websites, but I'm not convinced it was worth it - sending a game-related PR is $140, so a bit pricey. Still, I only sent news on casual games through them, it might be just that their contacts are more hardcore/general gaming oriented.
Their system is also not very convenient as releases aren't handled automatically - sometimes you have to wait for their employee to contact you and so on.
http://www.mitorahgames.com/Submit-Game-Press-Release.html - Mitorah games is a small indie company offering to send PRs through their contact list. I send the news on the MAGI update through them and the results were great. I had almost no traffic and two days after the release I've got a concerned letter from my webhost that I suddenly started using too much bandwidth (20GB per day in demo downloads).
However, it might be just that their contacts were perfectly suited for my needs - MAGI is a strategy/rpg and these guys specialize in this kind of games. Still, I recommend them. Even if just to support fellow indies trying to make some buck by offering the efforts of their hard work.
The price is very competitive at $60-$85, though there's no automated system there - you have to get in contact with Tero and exchange few emails.
http://prmac.com/ - if you plan to release for Mac, I totally recommend these guys. Their system is very convenient and handy, the release costs only around $15 and your news is always picked very fast by all the major Mac outlets. They also have excellent customer support and really try to make sure you are satisfied.