I have just finished a game I had been developing last month, but whilst making the game I was pestered by the fact that I had no way of getting it to the public eye. I didn't want to pitch it to a publisher, as being tied to a publisher is the absolute last resort for me. So with little in the ways of funds for advertisement and supplementary materials, coupled with the fact that I am a fledgling to the industry to the highest degree and thus have nothing in the way of backing or accolades or any reputation at all. How does someone such as me get his work out there, and keep it as a work of his own merit and design? Am I just going to have to put my pride aside and join the veterans, or is there some way, any way at all, to make my way through? I really appreciate the help of anybody who answers.
Best way to market your own game? Talk to a company who publishes games. Pretend they're just a partner who takes a share just like anyone, and make a lot more money than you would have publishing on your own.
We sold about 50k copies of our IOS game last year. Really good game, 5 stars in almost all country specific app stores. Would have done way better with the $10000 marketing budget these types of games generally get from a publisher. 100% of a few bucks isn't as exciting as 50-70% of thousands. Lesson learned the hard way. Just a note, publishers won't touch your game, in my experience anyway, if it's been released.
For the sake of answering your question, we sent the game out to about 100 game review sites in a few different countries. Had some videos posted up on youtube, did a "like me on facebook" contest, gave the right people a free copy to get them to play it, and broke even.
Maybe go for the latter option just to appreciate the value of someone who knows how to market. They don't program games because they suck at it, I don't market games because I suck at it.
Have you considered something like Steam?
If you could modify your game to suit their requirements, they could provide you with a solid base and you could focus more on the development itself without worrying about the business details (although business details are something to worry about).
Recently, a colleague and myself decided to develop a game and considered publishing it with Steam. We haven't done it yet, but it's a possibility for a small game studio/company such as our own, other small and big game studios/companies are doing it also, and it's something to start with.
An example of a bigger studio/company would be Runic Games with a game called Torchlight, but their developers are very experienced.
You could also check out GOG, I think they also provide this service.
Update (to meet the needs for the discussion in the comments):
[Edit] There appears to be some confusion about what I mean by "marketing." When I say a good game will market itself, I mean a good game is likely to get featured in blogs and in app stores. That is to say, the user has to spend $0 on advertising. [End Edit]
The simplest way:
Make a good game.
A good game (or any good product) will market itself. "Good" is a very nebulous word. But from my view a "good" game has two requirements:
1) It is unique (you can clone another game, but you should bring significant improvements or new features to it).
2) It is fun. Fun is in the eye of the beholder, but generally, if your game is fun, at least a certain niche of people will enjoy it. A fun game is also functional, without frustrating bugs or design flaws.
A boring clone will fail. A fun clone probably won't stand out in the market, unless it is really well made and marketed (or free). A boring, unique game might stand out, but probably not for the right reasons. A unique, fun game will entice its users to spread the word, and news/review sites will be eager to talk about your anomaly.
Obviously, there is grey area on the line between good and bad, but your first few games will either be unfinished or not that great, because becoming a good artist, programmer, and game designer is not an overnight endeavor. There are very few cases where successful titles were the first thing to come out of a developer's efforts. Rovio was around for 7 or 8 years before Angry Birds was made. Notch was 30 before he made Minecraft, and had worked on many other games prior. The list goes on...
what kind of game did you make? If it's HTML5, web, iOS or Android, you might consider putting it up on marketJS. We created the site ourselves because we couldn't find any publishers initially.