The events of Wednesday distracted me but I'm now trying to get my brain back to my current project. It means I have to face a big problem I've run up against. I'm really unsure what to do next. I might, in fact, be stuck.
The situation is like this. I've spent the last twelve months retraining myself in skills I haven't used in too long. I've always found programming easy but I've never got as much satisfaction in the finished product as I do from my writing or my cartoons. However, I wanted to widen my skill set and I think I've done just that. I wrote a few things for Android, taught myself to code in Unity, resulting in a couple of games. All that gave me a fairly good understanding of C#. I hit November not thinking I'd write anything else for a while but, one day, I found myself wanting some software I just didn't have. It didn't take me long to figure I should just write it myself. So I did.
The program runs under Windows and it has turned out, in my humble opinion, surprisingly well. I've looked around the web for other pieces of software and there are examples out there that do the same thing but, again IMHO, not as well. My software can do things that that other software can't.
So, I'm now thinking of putting it online for people to download and I hope a few will find it useful.
Except I'm also wondering if I can charge something for it.
And this is where I have a problem. I'm no businessman. I can do everything else on my own but I have absolutely no skills as a businessman. I can write books but I just can't sell them. I can draw cartoons but I'm useless when it comes to promotion. I can produce these apps but my limitations soon become apparent. I do not have a mercantile bone in my body. I want to give my work away for nothing but it's making me a pauper.
I figure if other people can make a little money from their software, I don't see why I can't do the same. However, I just don't know what to do next. I wasn't thinking of asking £100s for the software. Perhaps £10 - £20 a time seems quite reasonable and cheaper than its competitors. I know I could build a website. I could install a shop and link it all up. A person could buy the software, download it, use it, and I'd get money in my account. That's easy.
The big problem I face is figuring out a way of making the software available without making it easy to pirate. And that is a problem. I know software piracy can't be defeated but I really don't want it to be easier to grab my software from a torrent site than it is to buy it. I could write a basic registration key into the software but I'd need a method of automating the creation of those keys in a website. I don't want customers waiting 24 hours until I've created the key for them. I want the keys already uploaded to the server, to be issued with each sale.
There are free website 'shopfronts' out there but none, as far as I can see, that provide a free means of licensing software. 'Software keys' and 'software licenses' become one of those 'premium' features for which I'm supposed to spend £100. And one thing I do know is that I'm not throwing any money at one of these software solutions when I also know I'd be lucky to get a dozen sales from a new website inside the first few months.
In other words: I've developed a unique piece of software which might attract a niche audience but I can't figure out a way of distributing it to that niche without giving it away. And I really don't see why I should give it away. I'm really tired of giving everything I do away for free.
So, that's my problem and I'm hoping there might be somebody out there with a solution I've not thought about.