For your first game, I would suggest self-publishing. If you get enough publicity and attention, you can do very well. It is viable to contact a publisher, though, if your game looks good and has good playing/replay value.
Some effective ways to market, if you self-publish:
- Write articles for gaming sites, such as indiedb.com, gamedev.net, etc
- Submit demos of your game to gaming sites
- Talk about it in your daily life. You would be surprised how much can be accomplished by word of mouth. (Just don't be too obnoxious.)
- Make a (Mobile-friendly) website
- Send copies to influential Web Personalities, such as Quill18, Rock Paper Shotgun, or others on YouTube ( or anywhere that could get you exposure)
- Post a video of the game (or two, you can make one as a trailer sort of thing, and one showing some of the features, with a voice overlay)
I would advise contacting one of two publishers, if you want to have them publish your game. Either contact Chillingo, a division of Electronic Arts (EA) that publishes Indie games for iOS, Android, and other platforms, or to try to get your game on Steam. Negotiate for a fairly good deal, if you can, and be able to make the publisher LIKE you. That usually helps.
Self-publishing vs using a Publisher:
Since this is your first game, presumably developed in your free time, some of these coming items will not apply yet, such as covering development costs. Later in your career, if you intend to keep on creating games as an indie studio, more of these things will.
Pros of Self-Publishing:
- 100% of the revenue goes to you, for whatever you need
- You own all rights to the game
- You retain full control over ALL aspects of your game
Cons of Self-Publishing
- Marketing your game is MUCH harder
- You will pay all costs for publishing, if any
- If the game isn't successful, you are responsible
- It is easier for you to lose money (esp if you need to cover major development costs)
Pros of Publisher deals:
- Usually the game makes more revenue than if self-published
- Advertising will be done more effectively by the publisher
Cons of Publisher deals:
- Publishers usually take most of the profits
- As an indie developer, publishers will not usually cover development costs
- You almost always do not keep ownership of the game
- A contract is usually required (Make sure that the publisher is not pulling one over on you, have a lawyer read it, it is OK to spend a bit of money here.)
Good luck! Hope this helps!