First look for renpy or buy yourself a builder. There are around five or so free builders online, but having bought one, I can tell you that this is a great option for adding bells and whistles.
Visual novels are particularly popular in Japan, but they are catching on everywhere as the ideas are often quirky and interesting.
From a user perspective, I personally find hitting enter over and over again pretty tedious, but then I cannot understand the fascination with comics and comic based art, so I am not a great example of a fan. I am more interested in it from the perspective of structure and branching storylines.
Do not involve an artist in your early dabblings, either you will waste weeks, or in my case months, for them to even pick your first picture and make it ‘perfect’ or you will waste the same amount of their time on ideas that you do not necessarily want in your finished product. Far better to look for an approximate image online and use it as a stand in until your ideas gain some finesse.
One of the many good things I am learning from doing this, is the nature of scripting and how instructions have to be broken down to create scenes. This is why I am doing it, so I am not quite so lost in the fog of learning to script. I think it is a worthwhile thing to do.
In terms of the money you can make, there are a few kickstarter projects requesting tens of thousands of dollars for creating great artwork, and potential customers seem to be throwing money at it based upon a few visuals. If that is your bag, this is probably the best way to raise yourself some capital before you even finish the project. Hardened visual novelists put out three or four a year to make a living, so at an estimate, each one is bringing in $300 or $400 dollars a month once their marketing gets going. Certainly beats writing, which brings in nothing at all for years and then if you are very fortunate, you might scratch a living for five more before you either hit the big time or fail.
I am going for a different option, which is to see what I can do without assistance, and then punting it on Steam if I create a good enough product. Steam has two layers of prequel creation, Early access, which costs around $100 or so to put your product on there for perusal and purchase, and they have a hidden section for trialling ideas, which if you have a few graphics ready, is a good way of gauging reactions to your efforts.
As far as I can see from my brief bits of research, fans of the genre like great graphics more than a great storyline. They are comic fans, after all, so far, but I have seen extended versions, such as 80 days, which are a bit more fulfilling in terms of story, and heavy on style rather than detail in terms of graphics. I hugely enjoyed 80 days, and so I am leaning towards this stylistic method of putting out a product.
Thereafter, I will return to learning to script whilst doing a couple more. In the meantime I am working hard on the furniture line with a view to getting the photography done and the products sold off to pay for more products. Thankfully I have found a great supplier in India for my chosen weaponry in terms of originality.
I am effectively extending the current themes, Jazz, Beach and Sheep in wolf’s clothing, although I kind of have Boris in mind whilst I am doing it. You will see for yourself how this pans out in terms of a visual feast towards the end of next month, barring accidents.