We’ve only sold a few hundred apps at $2.99
This is the blog post where I reveal my sales for my Gary’s Place children’s story app. Even though we have gotten a handful of 4-5 star reviews – we’ve only sold a few hundred apps at $2.99 each in the past two months. This is no doubt disappointing for many of you who are planning on making an app and retiring, and I won’t pretend it’s not a little disappointing for me too but it’s only part of the story. Okay more than a little, but…
Since 2010 I’ve sold over 60,000 e-books.
I’ve sold tens of thousands (60k to be exact, well, to be close to exact) of my ebooks starting back in 2010, and that, I concluded was mostly due to market timing – aka “luck”. Now that we’ve had about 4 good years of story app and e-book creation, the marketplace has obviously gotten a little noisy or crowded. But, most of the noise is coming from e-books and low quality story apps.
I still believe that an audience can be cultivated over time with a great story and good art. My long term game plan is to keep working on the series of Gary apps and Rick and Aaron are equally committed. Each new app released points back to the earlier ones and thus each new app becomes a marketing piece for the early ones and the early ones will hopefully intrigue consumers to purchase the new ones. The total project should gain traction over time. (I hope)
Why would an Artist take such risks with their time and effort?
Over the past 6 months I’ve received questions such as: Will you be able to make enough money? Aren’t you worried that your self publishing will be looked at as a downgrade in the publishing world? Seems like a tough road are you sure this is a good decision? Many people aren’t recouping their time and costs what will you do differently? The marketing seems like the hardest part – are you ready to spend twice as much time marketing your apps? What’s wrong with you? Are you mad?
These are all good questions, all but the last two, but none of them address the most important aspect of creating art such as: Are you having fun with it? Are you creating the art you want to make? Do you think children and parents will respond to what you’re doing? Are you committed to doing this for several years? If it doesn’t make any money will the enjoyment be enough compensation? The answer to all these important is YES!
We artists need to ask ourselves the right questions.
I don’t think most people ask the right questions of themselves in regard to their art. They’ll question my decision to venture down this road while they themselves have been working for years trying to get picked by a publisher – that sounds like a tough road too. They’ll question how much money I’m making with my apps while they aren’t making much or any money with their artistic ventures. One question I’m never asked is: What are you doing different to engage parents and children? I think people don’t ask this one because they are afraid that they can’t create something remarkable. I’m afraid of that too and we do spend a lot of time discussing it and working on it!
It’s not a successful climb unless you enjoy the journey. ~Dan Benson
I can’t think of many successful companies or products that came from following a proven method. Most success stories share a lot of personal struggles and negative criticism. Apple came from a couple of guys following their dreams of tinkering with computers the professionals insisted that thought nobody would want a personal computer. Stan Lee kept Marvel comics going when everyone told him there was no market for comics. If U2 hadn’t won a $500 contest and had the guts to risk it all on their art, they wouldn’t have been able to record their first demo tape. The stories of artists working on their dream projects and finding success with them years down the road is endless. Yes I hope to be one of them. I’m a dreamer. I work to be able to afford to work on speculative projects.
Should an artist even be talking about money?
But what am I talking about money for? I’m in this for the sheer joy that it is to find time to tinker with a new medium that allows me to express creative ideas in so many new ways! That’s the gold! I just wish you could spend that at the grocery store. lol.
But perhaps this kind of speculative project is in my comfort zone because I’ve had a few successes with my own projects in the past. Starting a freelance illustration business was supposed to be nearly impossible. Making my ebooks was a total unknown in 2010 but has generated a tidy profit. Making and selling illustration video tutorials on my website that lead to starting Folio Academy with Wayne, which has been a wonderful addition to my income. That has lead to starting SVS online teaching with Jake Parker which is also been an amazing project. Each one of these projects has been born out of a labor of love. I love creating art and teaching.
Trust me, you don’t want it to be easy.
There is no such thing as great talent without great will-power. ~Honore’ de Balzac
So can money corrupt your art? I think so – if you base your artistic decisions on money you may never explore the projects that your audience will love the most. If you play it safe your art will be more predictable. If you follow the “proven” method you’ll find yourself competing with many who can do what you can…that seems risky to me. You are unique. You have an artistic fingerprint that nobody else can generate. I’m not willing to make all of my artistic decisions based on financial compensation. But I have to consider it in order to maintain my art ventures.
If this thing we call art was easy it wouldn’t be of much value. If it were easy to make lots of money as an author or illustrator it wouldn’t be special. Trust me – you don’t want it to be easy.
I will keep you posted on Gary’s sales.
We should be releasing Gary’s Worms sometime towards the end of March! I’ll continue to give updates on sales throughout the year because I do think that it’s valuable information if not to understand the potential both for risk and reward. I’m a realist. I know you have to eat to live but artists also need to create to live. The trick is to make sacrifices to afford the time to create in your down time.
Make no mistake – Gary’s Place has cost me much more than time. I’ve turned down numerous freelance projects to afford the time to work on Gary…and now that this blog post is finished I’m going to dig in!
See the process in the previous step by step how to make a story app blogs.