A Week (& a bit) on the Mac App Store

11 days ago, I launched my first app, DoodleDesk, onto the Mac App Store. I had realistic expectations – I’d set my sights at a few hundred pounds profit over the year, enough to pay for a nice meal out or something. Nothing fancy. Of course, all app developers dream of App Store Success, and I was one of them, but I didn’t think I had a chance of coming anywhere near close to that.

The first few days of sales were encouraging. I did very little marketing and was selling 10-20 a day – one day I got a review on a French website and sold almost 40! I was pretty chuffed with that.

Then, on the 19th, Apple decided to put DoodleDesk on the front page of the Mac App Store in the “New & Noteworthy” section. I was absolutely amazed. My app was now surrounded by a collection of really superb applications, and was right up there for everyone to see. Incredible. At around the same time, the press release I’d put together was released, and a number of sites re-printed it. Suddenly, 10-20 a day looked a bit meagre.

I shan’t go into precise figures, but it’s certainly a lot more than I had expected. In one day over the weekend I surpassed what I’d hoped to make over the year. Because I’m quite anal about these things, I kept an eye on the app’s position in the charts. The peak values were:

  • Top Paid: #19
  • Top Grossing: #48
  • Top Paid (Productivity): #6
  • Top Grossing (Productivity): #14

At one point, DoodleDesk was higher in the Top Grossing chart than Angry Birds. Angry Birds!! As you’d expect, things are starting to tail off now the initial excitement is over, but it’s still surpassing expectations daily.

Whilst all this has been incredibly exciting, the most exciting part has been the emails and tweets I’ve had from people who are enjoying the app. I knew there were people out there who wanted something along these lines, but to hear from people who are actively using and enjoying the app has really made the whole experience. Some of the users have found fantastic use-cases for DoodleDesk – such as one man who intends to use it for tutoring his grandson over screen share. Superb. I couldn’t ask for any more.

Of course, the flip side to this is the people who aren’t enjoying your application, and I’ve had a good few of those as well. What has been frustrating for a first-timer on the App Store is how people will prefer to vent their annoyance at the app publicly by reviewing it, rather than emailing me with suggestions or constructive criticism. Similarly, only a few people have given positive reviews (though this has improved over the last day or so), although I’ve had plenty of positive messages from people personally.

Ultimately it’s not an issue – some of the negative reviews border on the ridiculous, and the app is simple enough to speak for itself. Public criticism is something I was worried about before I launched the product, but in my experience it’s far outweighed by the personal messages you receive from genuinely happy users.

What next? The difficult second album. So many ideas of my own, and many more wonderful feature requests from users. The trick will be making the app as useful as I can for everyone, whilst retaining the simplicity and ease of use. Watch this space…

Comments ( 5 )
  • Trevor says:

    My wife just downloaded the app and really likes it. One question, any plans to be able to save as a PDF instead of just the .dood? Thanks

  • Griff says:

    Hey – glad to hear you’re enjoying the app! The next release (which should be out soon) will include the ability to export to image files (JPG, GIF etc.). However, PDF isn’t in that feature set I’m afraid – though you will be able to convert the image files in PDF using Preview. Thanks!

  • Trevor says:

    Great! jpg and gifs will be perfect. Thanks for the response!

  • thylaxene says:

    Just bought it myself off the AppStore as I wanted something to leave reminders to myself for my next day of work. Perfect for that thanks! I like how it works seamlessly with Spaces, thanks for that!

    Couple of requests:

    Custom Image stamps/stickers: So I can stamp the lower corner of the screen with a custom transparent PNG (e.g. logo) for example.
    (And/Or) Custom backgrounds: Old paper, chalkboard – white on dark grey etc, BG with logo in lower corner. 😉
    Run as menubar item, no icon in dock, run at startup with specified doodle doc auto loaded.
    Pie in the sky request: Wacom Tablet support. Would be happy with minimum of detecting that pen is flipped to eraser mode. 🙂

    Great version 1.1! Looking forward to seeing what comes next!


  • thylaxene says:

    me again… just thought would be nice if for a custom background you had an option to take a copy of the current desktop background and doodle all over that. 🙂

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