Hard-learned business lessons from an iPhone/iPad app developer

” … paid-up-front app sales are not a sustainable way to make money on the App Store.”

A Candid Look at Unread's First Year

Jared Sinclair worked hard on the Unread RSS reader, got high-profile positive reviews, and yet his take-home pay for the first year was a mere $1,750/mo.

I think there are lessons here for indie-published writers as well.

My self-published short fiction flopped spectacularly from a sales perspective. I think it was because I failed to market them. I’ll know better next time, and spend a significant amount of time writing blog posts and lining up reviews before I publish.

11 thoughts on “Hard-learned business lessons from an iPhone/iPad app developer

  1. SocialDog

    Ken Estes: He may be correct, but some of his assumptions seem to be off.

    They assumes APP store drives sales. App Store sucks.

    When I look for a specific solution I google for it. And when I dropped in “iphone rss newsreader” their app did not turn up. You think SEO is snake oil. This might be a counter-example.

    Click on “The Best Newsreader for iPhone” from Likehacker (circa 2011) and your get “Reader”. If somebody already has “the best” newsreader they’re less inclined to switch. The point being, his app doesn’t have a lead to the market. He’s entering a competitive market with already established leaders.

    Click on “The 10 Best Newsreaders” (no date given) and they doesn’t show up either.

    They’re lost in the noise. Maybe they’ve figured that out and the article is a result.

    There are other things I want to buy. Some of them I learn about from related YouTube videos. There’s a musician named Torley that reviews new products. Some things I would have never thought existed were demonstrated. When I get some extra money I’ll probably pick one of them up.

    Rule 1. App Store Sucks.
    Rule 2. Let search engines do the heavy lifting. via facebook.com

  2. SocialDog

    Paul Miller: Wow! I try to buy all my apps that I use (or think I might use) on a continuous basis because I want the apps to stay updated and I want to support the creators. But I have often wondered how a one time purchase of a buck or two with lifetime updates over multiple devices is a sustainable business model, especially as the market reaches maturity and saturation. Right now all of the hotness seems to be about in-app purchases, but this seems to be mainly around gaming. And the, perhaps inevitable, rash of “free” crippleware that requires constant in app purchases to function at a reasonable level seems like a short term solution that will ultimately die in rage of a consumer backlash. via plus.google.com


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