Developers hoping to be Greenlighted
Ryan Creighton: I haven't devoted all my energy to Greenlight, because my focus has been on the crowdfunding campaign. I think that the closer Spellirium gets to completion - namely with its music and voiceover intact -- the more likely it is to be greenlit. I have a nagging feeling I put it on the service too early, and that now I'll have to dig out of a 3/4 "no" vote situation because the game was too incomplete to impress people in April.
Ian MacLarty: I'm really not sure. I do regret not submitting Boson X earlier as I'm sure we'd be a bit further along by now if I had. So there's that.
Ashton Raze: Honestly, I think genre is a big thing, which isn't very helpful for a lot of devs. Certain types of games seem to have an easier time than others, as well as games with certain visual styles.
If you're trying to Greenlight a game that isn't playable yet, you need a very strong visual style or a very strong hook. For us, publicity spikes are what gets us boost in Greenlight votes. The game's been out and finished for over six months, so there's not much we can do to the actual game at this point. Publicity is obviously super helpful for anyone trying to get through, too. You need people finding your Greenlight link outside of Steam.
Antonio Iglesias: We started using Greenlight quite recently and it is still difficult to see the big picture. From our prespective the initial push seems really important. We would recommend entering Greenlight when you are ready to show something people will want to play. From then you will need to get some coverage (Steam groups, press, YouTube...) to get people landing on your Greenlight page.
A good video is probably the first thing I would point at. Unsurprisingly, any kind of eye candy seems to work pretty good when looking for votes and favorites, Try to select appealing screenshots and gifs to attract eyes.
Colin Walsh: Most important is to have some way of reaching enough people to vote on your game. You can't rely on anyone but yourself to promote your Greenlight page and make sure you get the votes you need to get through. Thankfully Drifter had a pre-existing audience through its Kickstarter and my own social media efforts which helped get us started, but I've found that getting the game in front of prominent YouTube/Twitch personalities has helped give the game a needed boost.
So my advice for others is to make sure your game is at a point of development where it looks good and you're comfortable sending a build that's intended to be shown to an audience. The more people personally vouching for your game and telling others about it, the better.
Developers who have recently been Greenlighted
David Pittman: I believe three things contributed to our rapid selection. First and foremost, we were presenting a game in a nearly complete state, so readers could meaningfully evaluate what was shown. Second, we timed our Greenlight campaign to coincide with our first wave of press coverage, so initial excitement about the game converted directly into upvotes. Finally, we were pitching a first-person action game with a fairly broad appeal.
Brad Carney: There are definitely some things we could have done that would have helped, and planned to do had we remained on there longer. The first is to have really good cover art. What we had been using was basically a five minute Photoshop job of some art assets, and you could see in the metrics how it was hurting us.
Many of our ratios were very good (upvotes:downvotes, unique views:favorites, etc.), but the amount of views we were getting were terrible. If people are browsing hundreds of games on Greenlight, and your game doesn't immediately look appealing to them, they're not going to investigate further.
Another is to do whatever you can to get a major round of publicity. Greenlight is something where you still need thousands, if not tens of thousands, of votes to get through. Even if you have a sizeable following for the type of game that's on Greenlight and not already on Steam (say, 1000 people), you still need a LOT of external help to get the amount of votes you need to pass through. Whether it's releasing a highly polished beta or major new update with a trailer or whatever, you've got to do something that will earn your game some media attention.
Finally (and I think this goes without saying), make a great game. The cream will rise to the top. I think a lot of people are getting fatigued with Greenlight and just want to see some more high-quality games coming through there. The fact that people are starving for quality gives you an opportunity to rise through the ranks quickly.
Kevin Cerda: Being in touch with the people who are interested in your game is vital. You need to talk with them, using social networks or creating your own forum, but you also need to expand your community and that's not easy. Sending press notes, writing articles, answering interviews, contacting YouTubers... all this is a huge amount of work and, sadly, it takes a lot of your usual development time. You need to have someone working on this all the time, or be ready to face the consequences of leaving your normal job aside.