A Mercurial App Store

I shared these thoughts yesterday via my weekly newsletter (are you signed up?) and I wanted to share them here as well and give a little more context that might prove helpful.

Get work done.

Get work done.

This past week has been incredibly rough for me. I’ll put it plainly: After having come off a pretty darn awesome marketing campaign via Apple the high hit a really deep low in the last week.

This wasn’t just an emotional kick in the face but one that was backed by an entire disintegration of my standing within the App Store. Apple has been reworking their entire process and strategy of featuring apps (which is good) but in the process wiped out the #1 money-maker for me, which was a section called “Apps for Writers“.

As you can see here this featured section, which was prominent via the start page of the App Store (and most stores globally) provided incredible visibility that drove daily conversions for me in a way that I could never buy.


It was a boon, to say the least, and something that kept the daily sales figures humming along quite nicely. If you ask my wife, and she’ll tell you straight-up, I literally cried when I discovered that I was listed – it had been one of my “pie in the sky” dreams and when I saw it there it was a very emotional moment. I didn’t share that then, but I will now.

With this major marketing and sales channel removed the last week has hit the lowest point of the sales in the app’s history. Instead of selling a healthy double-digits every single day I’ve been hitting low singles. That really, really hurts.

Because it causes me to question what I’m doing and the time I’m spending with the app. It causes me to question everything. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit – I’m just being real with you as an indie developer.

It’s hard enough to keep things going and work on new versions and if you add the difficultly of maintaining financial momentum, traction-building, and overall sales to the mix it can knock you silly really quick.

It was a blessing to have it and now that it’s gone I have to reconfigure my strategy (or simply come up with something else). It’s not Apple’s fault nor is it mine but it’s just a reminder of the somewhat mercurial nature of the App Store and how building, testing, and executing different traction channels is so important for the small time firm or indie developer.

The lesson is quite simple: Don’t throw all your eggs in one basket and believe that it’s going to last forever – it just never works like that (and if it did then we’d all be app millionaires).

I am finding solace in some really long-term thinking that has helped me find a place of peace. I have said it 1,000 times to myself and to others but it’s a struggle regardless to live up to the truth: It’s a fucking marathon, not a sprint. This is life and the moment I think I should be treated different is the moment I fail.

But I won’t quit. I hope you don’t either. Let’s keep each other strong. Emails like this really help too, by the way:


Thanks team. I really do appreciate it. I really, really do.