Logo Successful Shareware

by Rick Holzgrafe of
Semicolon Software

3. Patience

Maybe your first release will take off and make you a million bucks. Most don't, and that leads to our next P: Patience.

Your first release probably won't be a raving success. That's okay; it's true for the professionals too. The secret here is not to give up. You'll learn things from your first release: why people didn't buy it, what they didn't like about it, what features you should have added, what user interfaces were clumsy, what functions ran too slowly. In your second release you'll fix all of those, and your sales will increase. And you'll do the same thing again: listen to your customers and your non-customers, and make release 3 a real killer.

Consider Microsoft Windows. Version 1.0 was a dog. It was used by few, and laughed at by many. But Microsoft didn't give up; they brought out Windows 2.0. It still wasn't a big success, but it sold better and was better thought of than the first release. Real success didn't come until Windows 3.0 -- and they still haven't stopped improving it.

My own Solitaire Till Dawn is another example. Version 1.0 was, in my humble opinion, the best solitaire package then available for the Mac. But it sold only two or three copies per month, and was soon overshadowed by a commercial competitor that was much better. When I brought out version 2.0, it was a big improvement over 1.0 and compared pretty well with the competition, at a lower price. Sales went up by a factor of ten almost immediately. Every major release after that has produced another noticeable increase in sales, and as of this writing the Mac OS X version (re-written from scratch to include all the coolness I've thought of in over ten years of development) is one of Kagi's "Hot Sellers." And believe me, I won't stop here!


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