Sometimes, it's easy to tell yourself that you shouldn't need to advertise, and that if you wait long enough, discovery will happen, and your work will produce results simply by being obviously better than existing alternatives [in some unique way, at least].

if you build it, you still have to let them know

(The worst part is that this dream of "if you build it, they will come" is even true for the lucky, whether that "lucky involves hard work" means knowing people who appreciate your work and can kickstart it (a blogger, a podcaster, etc) or that you have a mailing list from another, or some other means of celebrity or visibility.)

On his Release Notes podcast, Joe Cieplinski tries to twist your conception of advertising backwards. From about 8:40 into episode #195...

And B, in some cases, you're kind of doing them a disservice. People have needs... and if you have a product that actually addresses that need, you're not doing them any harm by letting them know that you exist.

He's talking about cold-emailing someone to tell them about your product or service, in this case, Joe's specifically talking about drumming up contract work. There, cold-contacting someone is essentially a requirement.

But don't let that talk you out of it applying to your situation as an indie developer, if that's what you do. Cold contact reviewers, podcasts where you could sponsor, visible people who could benefit from your app and who essentially serve to represent a market... those visible people that the lucky already know. Get to know them, and bother them. Because, done right, you're probably not bothering them.

It's okay to advertise. It doesn't [inherently] cheapen your work.

Just because you primed the pump doesn't mean the water's bad.

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