Unread developer provides a look at the harsh realities of indie app development

Jared Sinclair, the developer behind RSS reader app Unread, has provided a detailed account of Unread's first year of existance. It's a sobering look at the state of indie app development and the market for pay up front apps. Sinclair goes in-depth about the stress of creating Unread, and the toll it took on his life. And all of the effort put into the app has not translated into sustainable revenue, according to the post on Sinclair's blog:

Despite all of these circumstances, Unread still only earned $42K in sales ($21K after taxes and expenses) and is on a course that doesn't promise much growth. I conclude from all this that anyone who wants to make a satisfying living as an independent app developer should seriously consider only building apps based on sustainable revenue models. I suspect this means through consumable in-app purchases, like those in Candy Crush Saga or Clash of Clans, or through recurring subscription charges, like those in WhatsApp. Furthermore, I have grave doubts that any solo developer would have the capacity to ship and maintain either kind of business working alone. She would probably have to consolidate her business with other indie developers in the same position. The marketing budgets of the major competitors makes me doubt that even a consolidation strategy is tenable.

This is not, unfortunately, an uncommon tale. Independent software development is a hard road, especially for pay-up-front apps. Do you buy apps, and how do you feel about the future of paid apps? Let us know below in the comments.

Source: Jared Sinclair