App Store Desolation and the Desperate Developer
Since I paid my money and stepped up to developing, I have released only three apps. The first and second, although fun, were as much a teaching tool for myself as they were to market on the App store. I didn’t expect much, and my expectations were not disappointed. With my third app, Think Faster I thought I had a new, fun idea and that building it would be a challenge for my early development career, but at least of interest, possibly even making a few bucks along the way. I had to great dreams, just maybe a spike in the flat zero app sales chart for flavor. Alas, I was once again disappointed.
It’s been a few weeks, and a much-needed vacation, since that release, and now I am trying to look back and evaluate not only what I need to do better, but what went wrong in general. The second subject of my thoughts is where do I go next? Do I build on Think Faster, or chalk it up as another lesson in app development and move on. Of course, you have to have something to move on to.
If you build it, they will come – that may have been true in the early days of the App store, where choices were limited and each new release had it’s moment in the sun at some level, but if it ever was true (and I don’t know) it is definitely dead now. My app released on a Wednesday, just before the store refresh. It sat in it’s numeric/date/time place of ‘New’ releases for it’s types for a day or two, then slowly disappeared, swept up by other new apps. Now, that is exactly as it should be. Everyone deserves their moment to make or break. My app wasn’t some big complicated puzzler, action game or needed utility, just a simple, fun game. I wouldn’t have ever expected a featured highlight from Apple on it, by any means, unless it someone tickled someones fancy there, and with the wide variety of truly excellent apps, that’s pretty unlikely. The hope, as I see it, for new developers is to be able to have that moment at the front of the screen catch peoples attention and generate positive reviews and sales to keep it somewhere interesting. That didn’t happen for me.
I think the system is fair and just. I have no complaints. What I feel I need to start to understand is MARKETING as much as MAKING. There have been some suggestions, and I’ve read avidly each article to come along that covers these topics. I need to live and breath those concepts. Stepping out of my shell isn’t easy. I am a private, relatively quiet person that tries not to throw input into a subject when I feel like I am not capable of adding to it. I have no chance of traveling to a conference, of meeting people and communicating that way. I have Twitter and Facebook and email, and now this web site. It’s a start.
The real question is: what now? I have no regrets, some disappointment of course, but no blame to lay or failure that I can’t handle. I’ve thought of new ideas for Think Faster, but I’m just not sure throwing large amounts of time after something that is not going anywhere now is worth it. I have a couple of hazy ideas, but one of my great failures as a person is that if I don’t see how I can do something BETTER than others, I have a hard time doing it. Another Timer, To-Do List, Calendar? Not likely.
The desolation is in my own mind, not the App store after all.