Developers often talk about this issue. How do I convince someone that my game is a game they should play? What makes it different or unique from all of the rest? Is it cheap enough to get more players but expensive enough that they take its contents seriously?
Those are good questions, but I have no answers for them yet. Very general "marketing" style sells feel very tacked on (though it is a necessary part). What I propose is that the concept of "earning your players' time" comes from asking these questions MUCH earlier on in the process: the making of the game itself.
I get nervous when I rely too much on my "gut feel" style of development because it may not encourage you to improve the game's Time-to-Sublime ratio. One of the best strategies to accomplishing this is putting your game in front of living, breathing people. Thinking about that ticking clock that is the player's engagement should be a high priority, especially after they've committed to your ideas by downloading and/or purchasing your game!