iOS. Apple. Indies. Plus Things.

Pricing Indie Apps: The Perks of a Wallflower Rule

// Written by Jordan Morgan // Jan 26th, 2024 // Read it in about 1 minutes // RE: The Indie Dev Diaries

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If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s the “coming of age” indie flick.

Paper Towns? Loved it.
Me, Earl and the Dying Girl? Absorbed me.
The Florida Project? That one wrecked me.

Which brings us to one of my favorites: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In particular, this quote:

The protagonist, a high school teenager wrestling with young puppy love, expresses his confusion over why the girl he so covets dates someone who is (wait for it)…kind of a jerk?

His english teacher drops some sage wisdom with the now classic line:

We accept the love we think we deserve.

Aside from being an excellent line, I’ve been thinking about how much this correlates to indie apps too. And so here I am wondering, are we pricing our apps according to what we simply think that they are worth? Because if we are, well - then we’re doing something iOS indies do all too much: undervaluing our work.

When I think back about Spend Stack, I fondly remember how it was positioned: It’s a $2.99 app. Though, when we price something, we are also inherently telling a story before anybody ever downloads it: “It’s worth this much.”

I don’t think we give enough weight to that line of thinking.

With Elite Hoops, I wanted to (if anything) overprice it at launch. Even though I consider it in an M.V.P. state still, I boldly said to users that they should pay me $40 a year for it, or $10 a month or $149.99 for a one-off payment.

Now, three months later, I think I underpriced myself. But, when I look at my own app - all I see are the holes. The missing features. The rough edges. The animation that, after hours of tweaking, still just doesn’t feel quite right.

Consumers, by and large, will not have the same eye as you. In a truism that we all say we know but don’t often practice - they just want something to solve their problem. And Elite Hoops does that. And so I charge a good little sum for it.

Is there nuance here? Absolutely. If your app sucks, none of this matters. But if your app is even just okay in your indie eyes, but does something useful - then don’t undercharge for it. Don’t worry about the forum comments, Reddit posts or tweets that say you’re “another subscription” or whatever else. You’ll get that even if you charged $1.00.

But, when you look at the indie scene - do I firmly believe that there are more folks underpricing their apps than overpricing them. Absolutely.

You could rely on the intricate complexities of pricing theories, or you could simply charge a little bit higher than what you think you can get away with - and then let the market truly adjust from there. So when I talk to to other indies, I always encourage them to follow “Perks of Being a Wallflower” pricing: Charge the amount that you truly think you deserve.

Until next time ✌️.


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