How To Sell Shareware

Programmer's Guide 

1. Forward
The purpose of this guide is to provide tips on marketing and
writing programs that look and work like top-notch
professional software. Another purpose is to get programmers
to share their ideas with each other.
This guide is also going to new program authors, so some of
the points may seem obvious or elementary to experienced
The information and opinions in this guide are drawn from
several areas of the Nelson Ford's experience: as author of a
shareware program, Diskcat, which has been in distribution
since September 1983 (and many other shareware programs
since); as head of the Public (Software) Library since 1982,
during which time he has reviewed many thousands of
pd/shareware programs; as author of the column "The Public
Library" for the late SOFTALK magazine; and as software
reviewer for other publications. Information has also been
solicited from shareware authors and users via correspondence
and surveys.
Some information has also been gleaned from the Forum of the
Association of Shareware Professionals on CompuServe (GO
SHAREWARE) where this file resides.
This file has been put together and freely distributed in the
spirit of sharing. Neither Nelson or the ASP make money from
it. All input, new information and corrections are gratefully

1.1 Does Shareware Work?
Andrew Fluegelman started the formal shareware concept
(he trademarked the name Freeware for it). Andy did not
say that everyone who spent an afternoon writing a
program, uploaded it to a couple of BBSs and sat back and
waited would get rich. He said that the shareware
approach provides a way to let the users decide (rather
than the people who control the advertising prices) which
programs should succeed, based solely on the quality and
usefulness of the program. Shareware is not some magic
way to get rich from trivial or substandard, amateurish
products of limited appeal or usefulness.
Some shareware programmers who have failed prefer to
blame the shareware approach rather than themselves.
They think that millions of people are using their
programs without paying and that the shareware concept
just doesn't work.

1. Forward (Continued)
1.1 Does Shareware Work? (Continued)
To these people we always reply: If shareware doesn't
work, how are Button (PC-File), Wallace (PC-Write), and
others making over a million dollars a year at it? "These
are exceptions!" they reply. Sure they are exceptions.
Anyone making a million dollars a year at anything is an
exception. Many others are making lesser, but
respectable, incomes. Not bad for a business that anyone
can get into at virtually no up-front cost.
Yes, shareware definitely works. Like anything else, how
well it works for you depends on hard work, ability, and
even a little bit of luck. And even luck often boils
down to being prepared to take advantage of opportunities
when they coming knocking. We hope this guide will help
you get prepared.

2. Introduction
You wrote a program to fill a particular need that you had or
maybe just for the fun of it. Now you are thinking about
selling it, but you are not sure of how to go about it. Well,
what you do next depends on how seriously you want to pursue
the marketing of your program. If you are very serious, you
may find out that your work has just begun, and that the
programming was the easy part.
A Few Definitions
Author Bob Ostrander has the following definitions for
Shareware, Public Domain and Bannerware software.
There are four main types of software distribution. Each
marketing method has strong points and weak points and may not
be right for all software.
The only thing that shareware, public domain software, and
bannerware have in common is that the free distribution of all
three is encouraged. We will concentrate on shareware in this
document since the questions most asked deal with increasing
the income received from an author's work.


2. Introduction (Continued)
Retail software
Good for most high-end software like Lotus 1-2-3, dBase IV,
etc. The big bucks are undoubtedly in this mainline software
if the product is a hit. The equally big drawback to this
distribution method is the large cash outlay necessary for
advertising. Advertising budgets of over $500,000 are common
for major packages. $100,000 is more common for games and
small utilities. An advertisement in PC Magazine is about
$9,000. Your hundred grand gets you 6 months in just that one
For most people, commercial marketing is feasible only with
venture capital support or by selling your program to a major
house such as Borland, Selective Software, Accolade, or
Broderbund. Either way, you lose control and the majority of
profits will go into other pockets.

Equally as successful as commercial software, but requires no
large start-up capital. The main drawback is the slow ramp-up
of income due to the very unstructured nature of the market.
Not all software is suitable for shareware distribution. Small
utilities, for instance, are sometimes not particularly
successful. Business oriented programs are rather more so
since the corporate community is very scrupulous about paying
for software including registration fees for software used.
Many times, a program also must actually be better than the
commercially marketed counterparts in order to provide a
living for the author. This is due to the user's fears of
lack of support by the author. The old saying "Nobody ever got
fired for buying IBM" is very true. It is a risk for a
corporate PC coordinator to recommend shareware to the company
since the author might not be in business in a year. The same
is true of commercial software, but the poor systems analyst
can always blame the magazines for misleading reviews.
Public Domain software
The copyright and all control over the use of the software is
given up when software is placed in the public domain. This
is suitable for many products that will not provide income due
to the nature of the software or the nature of the potential
audience. If you are programming for a hobby or to spread
your code around to troll for job offers, this might well be

2. Introduction (Continued)
Public Domain is also the way to go for small projects that
you don't want to provide continuing support for.
In order to donate your software to the public domain you must
specifically state such in the documentation or on the screen.

This is a word that we coined to describe software that is
used primarily to advertise another product. A number of
major works fall into this category like the Ford driving
simulator, Business Week's Business Advantage, KnowledgePro's
Hypertext, and many others.
The author keeps the copyright to bannerware and just allows
free distribution and use of this software without requiring a
registration fee.
By the way, Freeware is a trademarked term and should not be
used interchangeably with Bannerware - but often is.

When you should consider using shareware distribution
- You don't have a bundle to sink into advertising.
- You are holding down a full-time job and are looking for
extra income. You might be surprised and be forced to go
full-time with your shareware as some authors already have.
- You have already written a program for your own use and want
to get some money for it. This is especially attractive for
small businesses that have written their own systems or have
contracted systems written for their use.
- You are writing a system for a client that might have a
wider audience. Be sure to retain the marketing rights in the
contract with your client.
- You have an excellent small utility, game, or other program
that wouldn't be suitable for commercial distribution.


2. Introduction (Continued)
2.1 Going All Out Via Retail-Only
Some programmers quit their old jobs, hire people to
write their manuals, have the manuals and disk labels
professionally printed, send copies of their program to
hundreds of user groups and shareware distributors, get
an 800 number and credit card accounts, hire staff to
take and fill orders and provide customer support, go to
trade shows such as Comdex, go on speaking tours to user
groups, advertise and publish product newsletters. They
arrange deals with distributors and dealers in the U.S.
and overseas.
Some programmers, not ready to go all out, keep their
"day job", but still get manuals and labels printed, send
out copies of their programs to lot of groups and upload
to bbs's. If demand grows, they may hire an answering
service to take orders. Some just have an answering
machine. Others only take mail orders and don't publish
a phone number at all.
2.3 Taking it Easy Via Shareware
The least successful, or at least slowest to succeed,
method is to upload your program to a few bbs's with a
request for payment from satisfied users. You don't send
out printed manuals, take phone orders, or hire any kind
of staff. This is how Fluegelman first envisioned
shareware working. When it does work, it works slowly.
Take Vernon Buerg's LIST program, for example. Buerg
originally released it in 1983, at first asking for
nothing, later asking for a voluntary payment of $15. He
relied completely on word of mouth, not trying to push it
at all. As LIST slowly gained in popularity beyond the
circle of hackers, magazines started recommending it in
articles. Today, Buerg gets a healthy income from LIST.
This is indeed a 1 in 10,000 story, however, and it paid
off only because Buerg was willing to continuing
supporting users and working on the program for years
before getting substantial payback for it.


2. Introduction (Continued)
2.4 Letting Someone Else Do It
Some programmers have formed partnerships in which the
partner handles all the marketing. That may be a viable
alternative if you don't mind splitting the earnings and
have someone whose ability, dedication and integrity you
You might also be able to find an established wholesale
or retail distributor to market your program, rather than
using the normal shareware approach. If you do, you will
probably find that the returns are very low. If a
program is good, it will sell whether you sell it or a
distributor does, but if an established distributor sells
it, you may end up getting 10 cents on the dollar, or
even less, and you may lose the rights to your program.


3. Marketing Shareware
3.1 Getting Publicity
In 1982 and 1983, the relatively few shareware programs
available were able to get exposure in the press simply
because of their uniqueness. In 1984, there was a column
on public domain ("pd") and shareware software in Softalk
magazine, but the magazine folded at the end of 1984.
After that, reviews of shareware in the computing press
were scarce for a couple of years.
Recently there has been increased coverage of shareware
in the press, but also saw an even larger increase in the
total number of shareware programs available. (At the
PsL, we screen over 500 programs a month.)
Sending your programs directly to a magazine will
probably do no good. PC Magazine and its ilk cannot
possibly assimilate even a small fraction of those 500
programs a month. Even the few who get mentioned (in
fact, even some who have been named Editor's Choice in
comparative reviews in PC Magazine) report a short burst
of activity that doesn't have that much impact in the
long run. (Look back at 1982-1985 PC Magazines and see
how many Editor's Choices are no longer around.)
Sending press releases to non-computer magazines might
get you more attention because the computer angle is more
unique to them and their readers. For example, if you
have a wonderful video tape cataloging program, send PR's
about it to all the video magazines.
Opposing View: Some authors swear by the sending of press
releases to magazines and the good that magazine reviews
do. If you have the money and if you have already taken
care of what should be your #1 priority - sending your
program out to shareware vendors and BBS's - it certainly
can't *hurt* to go after the magazines.
Dan Veaner (author of SUPER-MAINT) offers his opinion and
advice about press releases:
As someone who just finished stuffing, labeling, and
stamping 700 copies of a press release I can tell
you I think it's a good idea. In my opinion press
releases do have impact. Even if no one prints the
information there are now 700 influential people who
are beginning to have name recognition of my company
and products. The current release is for version 2
of Programmer's SUPER-MAINT.


3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.1 Getting Publicity (Continued)
Dan Veaner Advice (Continued)
When I sent a release of version 1.2, it was picked
up directly by three journals: InfoWorld,
Programmer's Insight, and Tech Specialist. I also
got calls from two smaller journals who had seen the
article in Infoworld, asking for a copy of the
As for buying a list of press people, you can have
one for free as an ASP member. Look for the great
list Paul Mayer put together in Lib 10
(PRESS.ZIP)." [This file is updated by the ASP's
Executive Director as changes are reported.]
Writing a good press release is the hardest part. I
spent almost a month working on my current one (it's
not easy to make a Make program sound
interesting!!). If you feel you are terrible at
this sort of thing you should get help. Here's
basically what you should do:"
Format: At the top type "Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE" centered on the page. On the next few lines
type contact information:
From: EmmaSoft
Contact: Daniel Veaner (607) 533-4685
Date: June 6, 1991
Next type your "headline," centered.
Now type the body of your release, double spaced.
Try to keep the whole thing down to two pages or
less. If there are more than one page type "(more)"
right-justified at the bottom of each page but the
last page, on its own line. At the top of each page
(after page one) type part of the headline with
"continued" in parens. Ex: "(Shareware Make Utility!
Continued)" At the very end of the release, also on
its own line, type "# # #" which means "the end of
the release."
The first paragraph is the most important. Make it
the most interesting, and assume that most people
will read the first paragraph, then toss the whole
thing. If you can get them in the first paragraph
you've got 'em.

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.1 Getting Publicity (Continued)
Dan Veaner Advice (Continued)
I use mailing labels because I'm a one man office,
but it's better to print the address right on the
envelope if you can.One thing I did was to look at
short newspaper articles and magazines with "new
product" blurbs. Write your release as if it were
an article. Put in interesting little facts (for
example, in my current release I mentioned
SUPER-MAINT was used in its own development). Keep
it as simple for the lay reader as possible, and if
there is something technical explain it briefly.
Finally, when you mail press releases make the
mailing as personal as possible. Spend the extra
money to put a first class stamp on the envelope.

3.2 Sending Out Your Program
Rather than waste time and money sending your program to
magazines where it will probably be ignored or at best,
generate a short-term benefit, spend the time and money
sending your disk to distributors and user groups and
uploading to major BBS's, such as CompuServe.
Make sure your program is stable for a while before doing
all this, because you don't want to have to suffer the
expense (and embarrassment) of having to send them all
out again in a few weeks to fix a bug. You can often get
a lot of good user feedback by distributing the early
versions of your program to just a few places. After the
feedback has resulted in an improved, bug-free, stable
program, then start sending out to as many places as you
can afford.
You can get the names and addresses of user groups and
numbers of bbs's from some magazines such as Computer
Shopper. You can get names of distributors from ads and
articles in magazines, but if you see an ad that pretends
to be actually selling the software and doesn't explain
what shareware is, you should give consideration to
whether you want them misrepresenting your program to the
public in that way.
The Association of Shareware Professionals now screens
and licenses shareware distributors. The ASP makes these
lists freely available.

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.2 Sending Out Your Program (Continued)
ASP offers a CD-ROM service to ASP members that can make
it cheaper and easier to get your program out to ASP
vendors User Groups and BBS's.
Should you send to user groups? Several years ago one
shareware author said:
"For a considerable period of time I tracked
registrations to their source and User Groups fell
into the very lowest registration rate category
(virtually none!). They frequently ignore
distribution restrictions and hardly ever indicate
the true nature of Shareware. We have heard from
several other authors who have found the same
The User Groups have changed considerably over the years
since the above was said. Other authors such as Jim
Button, Marshall Magee, Bob Wallace and Bob Ostrander
think that User Groups are very influential and very good
places to send your shareware. The ASP even has a User
Group category of membership and feel that through
education, many User Groups have become a vital part of
the shareware distribution channel.

3.3 Sending Out Updates
After your first major, widespread release, you should
probably aim for a major update about every six months to
a year. Any more than that and people will get fed up
with having to update their software. Any less than
that, and some other program may out-feature you and
steal your business.
Despite the above advice, if you DO find a serious bug
after sending out updates to everyone, do not hesitate to
send out corrections. You are not "bothering" the
vendors/BBS's as much as their customers will bother them
if your software won't run.


3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.4 Check For Viruses
For 9 years, we never saw a virus at PsL. In our tenth
year, we were sent disks with viruses four times. Don't
ruin your reputation; get a virus-checking program and
check for viruses before making disk copies to send out.
You may never find a virus. They actually aren't as
common as the press would have you believe. Second to
retail software are the computer repair shops at
spreading virus attacks. They rarely, if ever, check a
disk brought in by a customer that wishes to try out a
new computer on the floor. They don't check computers
that they bring in for repair. The customer's hard disk
could be infected and the repair person can easily infect
the test disk used to diagnose the computer. Every
computer checked by that test disk thereafter will be
infected. Many retail computer stores re-shrinkwrap
returned software and place it back on the shelf without
checking it. Scary, isn't it?
Integrity Master is an excellent easy to use, up-to-date,
anti-virus, data integrity, change management, and
security program. It provides a single comprehensive
solution to assure that all your programs and data are
safe. In addition to scanning for known viruses, it
detects unknown viruses and unlike other products will
detect files which have been damaged but not infected by
a virus. Integrity Master protects you against all
threats to your data and programs not just viruses! To
order with Master or Visa card, call 800-788-0787 or 314-
256-3130. You can subscribe to several upgrade packages.
Virx - A so called "free" demo of the of Datawatch's
retail Virex-PC. The latest Virx version can be obtained
from the VIRUSFORUM on CompuServe, many BBSs and disk
vendors as VIRX.ZIP. It is only the scanner and will
detect over a thousand viri. If a virus is detected, you
are warned so you can send back or destroy the disk being
scanned. However, if you want to remove the virus, you
buy a copy of Datawatch's Virex-PC which can be purchased
through computer software stores and mail order houses or
by calling Datawatch at 919-490-1277.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.5 Advertising
In general, advertising shareware does not pay for itself
in direct sales. Even the little low-cost classified ads
in the backs of magazines generally do not pay off. And
yes, that even includes ads in PsL NEWS! Such
advertising is mainly good for increasing long-term
public awareness of your product(s).
Shareware programmers also report dismal results with
those card decks which many people throw away without
opening. Marshall Magee (Automenu) says: "I have done
two card decks, PC Softdeck and another one. I don't
think it was worth the money."
The best form of advertising for your program should be
the shareware version of it. If that won't sell your
program, an ad surely won't. Spend your time and money
getting your shareware disk out to users or to people who
will distribute it to users.
Shareware distributors can afford to advertise because it
should generate repeat business for them that should pay
off in the long run. Few shareware authors expect or get
repeat business from the average customer, with the
exception of occasional, small update fees. Let the
distributors advertise your program for you by listing it
in their ads and catalogs. Why should YOU pay for the
Update: For a while there was discussion about a vendor
who sold spots in his advertising to shareware authors.
We haven't heard of this vendor for some time, so we
assume the idea did not pay off for him or the authors.
Again - the best use of your time and money is getting
your program out into people's hands by sending it to
distributors and uploading to BBS's, and ASP can make
that a lot less painful.
3.6 Direct Mail
If you are interested in trying direct mail advertising,
you may be able to buy lists from other programmers and
Also, get a free subscription to Target Marketing
Magazine, P.O. Box 12827, Philadelphia, PA 19108-9988.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.7 A "Pure" Shareware Marketing Strategy
Some programmers get so paranoid about stopping people
from using their software without paying for it that they
forget that these people are their distributors too. By
cutting them off, you cut of your lines of distribution.
Here is a "pure" shareware marketing strategy: Make your
goal the first year to get as many people using your
program as possible without worrying about who is paying
and who isn't. That first year, you should either be
working on polishing the program or on pushing the
program all the time. If you can hit "critical mass", in
terms of number of people really using your program, then
the money should take care of itself. If your program
becomes a clear standard then your leverage in getting
people to pay becomes much greater.

3.8 Shareware vs Retail-Only Software
In general, a program that will not succeed as shareware
will not make any money in the retail-only market either.
In fact, it may lose money. Conversely, a program that
sells well in one market would probably sell well in the
other too.
Games and niche products with a limited user base are
difficult to sell in either market. Programs that can be
used by businesses on a daily basis are the top
money-makers in both markets. Site license agreements
with the government and large corporations are the
biggest and easiest sources of $$.
There are some differences, though, from both the user's
and the programmer's points of view. As a programmer,
you need to be aware of these difference so that you can
plan around them.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.9 The User's Point of View
* TRY-BEFORE-BUYING: The theoretical advantage of
shareware to users is being able to fully try a program
before paying for it. However, this shareware advantage
is starting to be negated by retailers who allow users to
return retail software within a 30-day trial period.
* RESPONSIVENESS: Shareware authors are generally more
responsive in terms of making changes. An author of
retail software who wishes to change his program may have
to get back the old version from distributors and have
new labels, brochures and documentation printed. A
shareware author just puts out a new disk.
A major problem with shareware is that programmers move,
but old versions of their programs continue to circulate
with the old address. If possible, get a P.O. box and
keep it after you move. I still get a couple of Diskcat
registrations a week at a P.O. box that I haven't
officially used since early 1986. Another solution is to
join ASP (discussed later) so that users can locate you
through that organization.
* COSTS: The argument used to be that shareware could be
cheaper than retail software because you didn't have to
pay for printed manuals that sit on the shelf and fancy
packaging that gets thrown away. Ironically, today
virtually all major shareware programs includes those
trappings. It's felt that users have to feel that they
are getting something for registering beyond fulfilling a
theoretical legal obligation.
Another alleged cost saving was eliminating the middle
man - the distributor. Now many of the top shareware
authors are selling through distributors too. These old,
specious arguments ignored the fact that these "extra
costs" also generated "extra income" that more than
offset the costs for a successful product.
In addition, Borland Software led the way in driving down
retail software prices while registration fees for some
shareware have increased dramatically. For example
PC-File, which cost $25 in 1983 cost about $125 when it
reached Version 5 in 1990. Of course, at the same time,
the functionality of PC-File has increased
correspondingly, but the point remains that shareware is
no longer just "cheapware".

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.9 The User's Point of View (Continued)
* PROGRAM COMPLEXITY: Shareware programmers normally work
alone while retail software companies can employ dozens
of programs for large, complex projects. As a result,
some types of shareware programs cannot match all the
features of retail programs of the same type.
For example, a graphics related shareware program may
only support a couple of printers while a similar retail
program may support dozens.

* PROGRAM QUALITY: Many times, retail products contain
serious bugs and there is little or nothing the user can
do about it. The retail company may NEVER fix them. (We
used to give an example here, but everyone probably has
their own experiences with non-responsive retail-only
companies that we'll save the space.)
In contrast, if a shareware program has serious bugs,
people just don't pay for it. In fact, some people
probably use the existence of any bugs, no matter how
insignificant, as an excuse not to pay. Therefore,
shareware has to be in better shape than does retail
software to succeed.

Rich Harper posted the following thoughts on the
CompuServe ASPFORUM:
"You need to: (not necessarily in THIS order)"
- Insure that you're reaching your target audience
(the people who are likely to evaluate and register
your software);
- Insure that EVERYTHING they have to evaluate, from
the first README to the last registration form,
- Provide a quality product that fills a need,
performs its job with a minimum of "hassle factor"
and without unexpected bad results (ie., bugs);
- Gives the user valid reasons to register. Yes,
the legal and moral requirements SHOULD be enough -
but this is not always the case, it seems.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.9 The User's Point of View (Continued)
Rich continues: "In my travels in the user community,
I've picked up on a number of reasons why people DON'T
register the shareware they've tried. Please don't ask
for firm numbers to support this - BUT - the reasons I've
most often seen named in the last year or so in the
international echo areas seem to fall into these
categories and in this order:
- "I'm thinking about registering, but I can't find
the author so I'm hesitant to send my money." or
"The author doesn't give a phone number, just a P.O.
Box. How do I know I'll get anything in return for
my payment?"
- "I can't get the software to install or work
properly on my own system." (THIS is a killer -
because these people will spread this bad news far
and wide, and even if it isn't your fault that they
can't get it running, it still reflects on YOU!)
- "The program is too limited in what it allows me
to do, or nags me too much about registering. If
the author doesn't trust me, then I'm not going to
send in my money."
- "I tried it, and I just wasn't impressed enough to
send the money in. There's better software out
there than this one."
- "I'm not sure that my payment will bring me
anything I really NEED to continue using the
software. What am I going to get in return for my
- "Someday, when I get enough money, I'll register
everything that I'm using. Right now, I can't
afford it, so I don't register any software."
(You'll probably NEVER see these registrations.)
- "I don't register shareware because I don't have
to. No one will ever come and force me to pay,
so..." (Also a lost cause.)

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.9 The User's Point of View (Continued)
Rich finishes with: "These pretty well sum up what I've
heard from users who are willing to be candid about why
they never registered products they've tried. If you
examine the list closely, and make sure that your overall
strategy addresses most of these points, you will stand a
much better chance of getting increased registrations.

3.10 The Author's Point of View
* COSTS: Advertising is horribly expensive. You can go
broke quickly trying to break in a new program. The
shareware approach offers a low- or no-cost alternative.
Not only can you get into shareware marketing for
virtually nothing, you can afford to take whatever time
is required to establish your program since maintaining a
presence in shareware can cost you nothing.
Even so, if you want to have printed manuals and labels,
to send out disks to user groups, to join and participate
in the ASP, figure on spending at least a couple of
thousand dollars, and be happy if you break even the
first year.
* TIMELINESS: A single magazine ad may make more
potential users aware of your program in one month than
shareware distribution will reach in a year or more, if
ever. If you have a program that will be worthless a
year from now and no follow-up versions are likely, you
are almost certain to make nothing in shareware, and it
will be difficult, at best, even in the retail market.
The shareware authors who are now making over $1 million
a year report that they got very few registrations for
the first six months to a year. In shareware, patience
is not just a virtue, it is essential.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.10 The Author's Point of View (Continued)
By the way, while a single ad may make a lot of people
aware of your product, that doesn't mean that you will
sell enough to break even on the cost of the ad. "Being
aware" does not directly equal sales.
* COMPETITION: In 1984, we said that the retail market is
more crowded and the competition fiercer. Now the
reverse is true. There are more and more amateur
programmers each year with better and better programming
tools. Skyrocketing advertising costs force most of
these people into the shareware market rather than the
retail market.
While improving on someone else's idea is a time-honored
way to make money, people keep cranking out more and more
of the same programs. When there are dozens of the same
type of program available, it becomes more difficult for
any one programmer to make money. Do yourself a favor
and check on what is already available before programming
your brains out. The PsL's "PD & Shareware Reviews
Disks" and the 700-page "Source Book of Free and Low-Cost
Software" contains write-ups of thousands of programs,
all arranged by subject matter. Look there before you
leap. You can also contact the ASP and ask for the ASP's
Catalog disk of shareware by the ASP author members.
* IMPULSE SALES: The shareware author gets no money from
impulse sales nor a user's mistake in buying a program
that he doesn't need. Everybody with more than six
pieces of retail software probably has one that he bought
and has never used because his needs changed or he didn't
like the program. The author doesn't care that much if
you use the program or not - he has his money.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.11 Do Users Pay?
Commercial software houses' wildest claims wouldn't put
the percent of people who haven't paid for their programs
out of total users at over 50%, yet most shareware
authors estimate that from 80% to 99% of people using
their program have not paid. Are these estimates valid,
or are they just sour grapes from people with bad
programs? Nobody knows for sure. Certainly there a lot
of people using software of all kinds, shareware AND
retail, without paying for it. Retail software houses
tried to get these people with copy protection, and it
did not work. Shareware authors have tried crippling
(limiting) their programs, and it has not worked either.
In both cases, the crooked user is going to find a way to
get his "free" software, so all the programmer has done
is create ill will with the honest users.
Here are traps programmers fall into which only serve to
insure their failure:
1. Lack of patience. Remember that it usually takes six
months to a year for a program to begin to reach a broad
enough range of people to begin bringing in significant
returns. During that time, if you want to succeed and
really believe in your program, you have to keep pushing
it and improving it just as if you were making a million
2. Overestimating the program. Some programs are just
not that good. It is easier for programmers to believe
that ten thousand people are using their program and not
paying for it than to believe that the program just isn't
that good and to continue working to improve it. And a
sad fact of life is that sometimes outstanding isn't good
enough. Many authors have sent us press clippings saying
how great their programs are and complaining that they
have gotten few or no registrations. They blame
shareware, ignoring the fact that many outstanding retail
programs, highly acclaimed by the press, have also gone
under. Homebase, now a shareware program owned by Brown
Bag, was once a PC Magazine's "Editors Choice" as a
retail-only program originally owned by Amber Software.
3. Overestimating the number of users. A commonly heard
complaint is "200 people downloaded my program from
CompuServe and I only got 2 registrations. I know more
people than that are using it."

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.11 Do Users Pay? (Continued)
Many people who download programs or buy disks from
distributors do so out of curiosity or to get programs
for their own bbs's or libraries. It takes TIME for
these people to get your program out to the masses, and
more time for the masses to use the program enough to
want to pay.
4. Trying to sell trivial software. People are generally
not going to pay for a trivial program, especially since
there usually are a lot of free versions of the same
thing around if a program is trivial.
5. Not working at marketing. It takes a lot of work to
get your program out to people, to get it reviewed by
magazines, user groups and shareware distributors, and to
continue to improve it in response to users. Most people
getting into shareware have no concept of having to
market their programs. Marshall Magee, author of
Automenu, has defied the odds by making big bucks selling
a shareware program in a very crowded field - DOS menu
programs. He does it by pushing his product to anyone
who will listen.
6. Not continuing to improve. I have heard many
programmers say that they were not going to invest any
more time adding features or fixing bugs until they got
some registrations. This brings certain failure. Most
people originally write shareware for their own use or
for the fun of programming. For the first year, your
best bet is to not even think about registrations:
continue to work on the program for your own use or
enjoyment and don't worry about who might be using it.
Remember, people who work at something just for the money
seldom get pleasure out of what they are doing, and those
work at something because they love the work usually find
that the rewards come without worrying about them. When
programmers fail because of the preceding points, they
usually start resorting to desperate measure such as the
CRIPPLED DEMOS Crippled demos are what retail software
houses sometimes provide potential customers. By
disabling some critical function, such as the ability of
a word processing program to save a file to disk, they
allow the user to try out all the other functions of the
program to see if they like it without taking the risk of
sending out the complete program.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.11 Do Users Pay? (Continued)
You may wonder why shareware authors don't just send out
crippled demos instead of fully functioning programs for
which some users don't bother to send payment. The
theory is that the more copies of your program being
used, the more money you will get in the long run as your
program becomes the standard.
This is what happened with PC-Write and PC-File, both of
which have reportedly made seven-figure earnings for
their authors. But PC-File's Jim Button estimated in
1985 that fewer than one person in 20 using the program
is paying for it. (We question the validity of that
figure, which is surely pulled from a hat, but that's
beside the point.) You would have to be an iron man to
stoically accept the fact that, no matter how much money
you've received which you might not have otherwise
gotten, there are thousands of people around who are
using your program without paying.
So some shareware authors try the crippling technique.
The most common tactic is to omit parts of the
documentation that explain more advanced program
features. When the user makes payment, he gets a printed
manual with the missing sections which may not be copied
for others. This tactic may only work for programs with
large amounts of documentation and with advanced
features. Other authors offer less powerful versions of
a program as shareware that may be freely copied and more
powerful versions that may not be legally copied.
Remember that while these tactics may ensure a higher
ratio of paid users, they also cut down on the number of
total users. Since you are relying on word-of-mouth
instead of paid advertising, you may get fewer "cheaters"
but you may also actually get fewer paid users. Another
reason that people don't pay may be because of shareware
distributors who mislead the people into thinking they
are buying the software when they pay the distributor's
disk fees.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.11 Do Users Pay? (Continued)
To sum it up, crippling just does NOT work. It makes too
many users angry. It does not put your best foot forward
and "demand" a registration with the overall quality of
your system. Remember that shareware has become very
popular and that you will certainly have shareware
competition in your niche. Users will obtain copies of
all of the shareware they can for the application they
are evaluating. Crippling OF ANY KIND (program or
documentation) will cause a DEL *.* and they will
evaluate your competitor's product. You will not only
loose the sale, but your disk will NOT be passed on to
Several years ago, the ASP authors overwhelmingly voted
in no-crippling rules as a membership requirement as they
were and are convinced that crippling does not work.
3.12 Non-Shareware Version
Game author and owner of MVP Software, Dave Snyder, asks
the question "Why A Non-Shareware Version (NSV)?"
Some shareware authors have found that creating a
non-shareware version (NSV) is an effective way to
increase revenues generated by the product. The ASP has
instituted policies governing how NSVs may be implemented
to insure that they do not become just a creative
technique for crippling a product. The use of NSVs has
not been widespread until recently among shareware
authors. But some of us have been using them for a few
years, and we have learned that there are right ways and
wrong ways to structure a shareware product with an NSV.
Below I'll list some benefits of having an NSV. But
first here are some examples.
(1) Apogee games. Most Apogee games are released as
trilogies. All three volumes are necessary to complete a
game's storyline, but each volume stands on its own as a
full-functional, playable game. Users rarely register
volume one; instead they buy all three. Since the
complete package is not available as shareware, an Apogee
trilogy is an NSV. Wolfenstein 3D, created by Id but
marketed by Apogee, is an example of an NSV. In this
case there are six volumes total; volume 1 is shareware,
the rest are not.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.12 Non-Shareware Version (Continued)
(2) MVP Software's MVP Paint. In a crowded field,
releasing a crippled shareware product is probably not a
good idea. After all, the first thing your shareware
version must do is attract a user base. To do this many
users must be convinced to switch from a current
competitive product to yours. If users perceive your new
product to be under-powered or crippled, they likely
won't switch. The result is few registrations.
MVP Paint tackles this problem by offering users two
registration options. A $35 registration fee buys a
registered version identical to the shareware version,
plus tech support. For $49.95, however, users get MVP
Paint Professional, which includes additional utilities
that provide advanced features not found in the shareware
version. Not all users will need these features, and
leaving them out of the shareware version does not
cripple the product. However, if MVP Paint rubbed users'
noses in the fact that the features aren't in the
shareware version -- by using stubbed out menu options,
for example -- the product could appear to be crippled.
It's very important that your NSV is perceived as
offering additional desirable features, but your
shareware version cannot appear crippled.
(3) Eric Isaacson's Zipkey. A data-intensive
application, Zipkey uses a variation of the "olderware"
approach. The shareware version cannot access the
current dataset. The registered version, of course, can.
So registration not only gets you the current dataset, it
also gets you a version of the software that can handle
that dataset. No program features are left out of the
shareware version.
(4) Ted Gruber Software's Fastgraph. The premiere game
programmer's library, Fastgraph Lite (the shareware
version) requires the use of a 54K TSR. It is obviously
unnacceptable for a game distributed as a retail or
shareware product to be restricted by this TSR. Anyone
serious about using the product will want to buy the NSV,
which does not require the TSR. Again, no program
features are left out, but the incentive to register is

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.12 Non-Shareware Version (Continued)
(5) MVP Software's Gamebuilder. Software for creating
graphical adventure games without programming,
Gamebuilder Lite (the shareware version) includes almost
everything found in Gamebuilder Pro (the NSV) except a
run-time module. Users can play games they create from
within Gamebuilder Lite, but the games won't run on their
own. The run-time modules comes with Gamebuilder Pro
From these examples we can reach several conclusions.
First, the shareware version of your product cannot be
perceived as crippled. Second, the NSV must offer
additional functionality. Third, the NSV should be
priced about 30% higher than the basic registration fee
for the shareware version. This creates a perception of
value. (This doesn't apply to all products, but it's a
good rule of thumb.) In many cases authors receive few
true registrations; most users purchase the NSV. This
tempts some authors to eliminate the registration option
altogether. This is a mistake, I believe. Not only does
it run afoul of ASP rules, but it removes the perception
of value created by the two-tier pricing format.
Fourth, choose an appropriate product name. MyProg Lite
and MyProg Professional are popular choices, but you may
wish to be a bit more creative. The names should show a
clear "family resemblance" between your shareware version
and NSV. However, the names should also clearly
distinguish between them as well as designate a "little
brother/big brother" relationship. Finally, here are
some benefits of using an NSV: (1) more sales, (2) higher
dollar amounts per sale, and (3) retail sales.
Retail sales are an excellent way to increase your
revenues. I believe most authors should go after them.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get a shareware
product into the retail channel. At MVP Software, I tell
retail distributors that my product is not shareware, but
that we do have a fully-functional demo that has been
released into the shareware channel. I briefly describe
the differences between the shareware version and the
NSV. That approach has bever failed to work. In fact, I
release all MVP products in three ways: (1) shareware,
(2) low-cost retail (under $10), for which I use the
shareware version with all references to "shareware"
removed, and (3) moderate-cost retail ($10-40), for which
I use the NSV.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.13 PD/Shareware Distributors
In the beginning, the idea of shareware was that users
would give copies to each other and user groups would
give free copies to members. Everything was done for
free. However, as libraries and user groups grew,
librarians started charging fees to cover their expenses.
Many libraries have over 1,000 disks and many groups have
thousands of members to make copies for. Also, today's
groups are filled with novices who must be assisted in
learning to use the public domain and shareware software
and the library must be better organized to avoid
confusing or overwhelming these novices. Ideally,
programs in a library must be tested for functionality,
bugs and viruses; they must be organized by topic; and
they must be kept up to date. Gathering the people with
the expertise to do all this is costly and time consuming
and has long since been beyond the capacity of user
groups to keep up with. In addition, a substantial
number of people do not have access to user groups
anyway, so the job of distributing shareware has passed
more to the full-time, professional shareware

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.13 PD/Shareware Distributors (Continued)
Unfortunately, there are distributors who are just
looking for a quick buck and who do little or none of the
work normally involved in testing, organizing and keeping
things up to date. These same quick-buckers usually
misrepresent to the public that they are selling the
programs without explaining what shareware is.
For example, look at some of the shareware ads in PC or
other magazines and see if the nature of shareware is
being explained. The Association of Shareware
Professionals has passed Vendor Requirements whereby
distributors can be approved by ASP. Under these
requirements, vendors would have to explain shareware in
their ads that quote a price. I strongly recommend that
you state in your documentation that anyone charging any
kind of fee for providing copies of your program must
have your written authorization unless they are
recognized by the ASP. I do not require groups to whom I
send the program to fill this out; it is intended to
limit unsolicited requests for free disks to legitimate
distributors. The control number on the form (and on the
registration form) lets you track where registrations are
coming from. This can be very important as you may have
dozens or even hundreds of bbs's, disk distributors or
user groups distributing your program and if you know who
is generating the most registrations, you know to whom it
is worth sending updates.
The ASP has prepared a document similar to this one
designed for shareware disk vendors. It covers many of
the same subjects, but from the vendor's viewpoint. The
Vendor Guide is available on request from the ASP by
calling 616-788-5131, FAX: 616-788-2765 or writing to :
Association Of Shareware Professionals
545 Grover Road
Muskegon MI 49442-9427 USA
If you are interested in an Author, Vendor, BBS, User
Group, Press or Friends of Shareware application kit,
write, call or FAX and ask for the desired kit.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.13 PD/Shareware Distributors (Continued)
Following is a form that is used for Diskcat:
Anyone wishing to charge people a fee for giving them a copy
of Diskcat must have the written authorization of the author,
without which, the distributor is guilty of copyright
violation. To receive such authorization, send this
completed application, along with a copy of your software
library's order form to: Nelson Ford, P.O.Box 35705,
Houston TX 77235. Include $7 to cover the cost of
processing the application and of sending you the latest
version of Diskcat. For distributors already recognized by
the Association of Shareware Professionals, this application
is not necessary.
Name of Organization: ____________________________________
Your Name: _______________________________________________
Address: _______________________________________________
1. The fee charged may not exceed $10, including postage, mailer
and any other charges.
2. Your library's catalog or listing must state that this program
is not free, but is copyrighted software that is provided to
allow the user to evaluate it before paying.
3. The offering and sale of Diskcat will be stopped at any time
the author so requests.
4. Copies must be made from the copy of Diskcat sent to you with
this agreement. This is required for control purposes.
5. Problems or complaints about the program will be reported to
the author for investigation. In return for a license to
charge a fee for the distribution of the program Diskcat, I
agree to comply with the above terms of distribution.
Signed, ____________________________________ ______________
your signature date
__________________________ _________ ______________
Nelson Ford control # date

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.14 Other Protective Measures
COPYRIGHTS: Your copyright notice should look something
like this:
The (C) is generally not acceptable (the C must be
enclosed in a full circle), so spell out copyright or
abbreviate it COPYR. If you have revisions spanning
multiple years, list them all. The complete notice
should be on one line. FILE A FORM TX! Speaking from
experience garnered from someone ripping off the heart of
this Guide as the basis for a book, I cannot advise you
strongly enough to file a form TX. If someone rips you
off, it makes going after them MUCH easier. Filing the
copyright forms is cheap and easy. Start by calling
202-707-9100 and tell the answering machine that you want
5 copies of FORM TX and 1 copy each of Circular R61,
Circular R1 and Circular 92. Give your name and address.
Speak slowly and clearly. They will send you the
requested forms. Additional recorded information
available on 202-707-3000.
You will end up filling out 1 copy of Form TX and sending
it and $20 to the Register of Copyrights, Library Of
Congress, Washington DC 20559. You will need to include
1 copy of your source code and 1 copy of your
documentation. Then, wait about 3 months to get it back.
The effective date is the day they receive it. You might
also want to get SE and GR/CP.
PATENTING SOFTWARE: Attorney Jon Wallace tells us: Re
patenting a program - it is possible, but extremely time
consuming and costly. The program must be novel and
non-obvious (terms of art) and cannot merely solve an
algorithm or incorporate a law of nature. The process
can take two years and cost thousands of dollars. Is it
worth it? Well, if Software Arts had patented VisiCalc,
Lotus 1-2-3 would never have made it to market.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.14 Other Protective Measures (Continued)
TRADEMARKS: Generally, if you start distributing your
program without a (TM) notice by the name, you lose the
trademark protection. So spend the extra four keystrokes
and put it on. Marshall Magee advises: The trademark
office requires that you send them copies of artwork
currently being used to market your product with the TM
indicated next to your word or phrase. The patent &
trademark office will then issue you a paper telling you
that your word or phrase is now a Registered Trademark
and then you have the right to use the circled R in place
of TM.
CompuServe has a service called IQuest (GO IQUEST) that
will allow you to scan the Trademark Data Base for about
$35 to $150 depending on how many ways you search. The
search cost depends entirely on the exact mark and goods
involved, how many "hits" come up in the search, etc.
This may a quick way to check on whether or not someone
else has already registered your words. If you send in a
name that is already registered, you will lose the $200
fee, but that may cheaper than paying a lawyer to do a
search. However, the experienced lawyer may well find
more information than the novice searcher and save you a
lot of problems later.
The Association of Shareware Professionals uses two
lawyers. William Baron was recommended by Jim Button and
Bill handled setting up the ASP as a non-profit
corporation and handled the trademark for the ASP's logo.
Lance Rose has handled the ASP's lobbying efforts in
Washington D.C. and was instrumental in having a bill
modified that otherwise would have virtually eliminated
any copyright protection for shareware.
Lance Rose
87 Midland Avenue
Montclair NJ 07042
William Baron
Baron, Lieberworth & Warner
1500 Pacific Building
720 Third Avenue
Seattle WA 98104

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.14 Other Protective Measures (Continued)
TRADEMARKS (Continued)
Lance Rose told us that "properly speaking it's not the
words themselves that are registered, but the mark at
issue for specific goods or services. The whole question
of registration, of course, does not exhaust the issues
raised by the question of can I use the mark? An
unregistered trademark won't come up on an IQuest-style
search, but the owner of the mark can sue someone who
starts using it later. In this case, neither the
registration search, nor registration itself, will keep
the second user from getting beaten by the first user."
They will want a copy of your package and need to know
the first sale of the product with the "trademark" used.
It can pay to shop around for a lawyer. ASP members have
reported paying $200, $700, and over $1000. However, the
$200 is impossible these days as the filing fee is now
For information about Trademarks call the Department of
Commerce at 703-557-3158 and request a copy of Basic
Facts About Trademarks.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.14 Other Protective Measures (Continued)
WARRANTIES: You should also put a disclaimer of warranty
in your documentation. Place it at the front of the
documentation where the reader cannot miss it. The
following is a sample disclaimer that you can use:
Do use all CAPS. Before relying on the above
information, be sure to ask around to make sure the
information is still up-to-date.

3.15 Selling Registered Versions Through Shareware
Several shareware distributors have begun selling
"registered versions" of shareware programs. Practices
for doing so vary widely. Some may have you send them
packages to sell on consignment, some may buy packages
from you just like a regular dealer, others may sell the
program but have you ship it. The percentage that the
distributor gets also varies widely, from less than 10%
to as high as 60%.
Before signing with a distributor who will keep 60%, keep
in mind that if you allow such a distributor to sell your
program, for you just to break even, he must generate
more than two-and-a-half times more registrations from
people who would not have registered otherwise. If out
of 25 registrations, 10 of those people would have
registered with you directly anyway, you barely break
even. If half of the 25 would have registered with you
anyway, you have lost money to the distributor. From
what we have seen, such distributors do little or nothing
to promote the programs, so they are just skimming the
cream of registrations you would have received anyway.
Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.15 Selling Registered Versions Through Shareware
Distributors (Continued)
We think more and more distributors will take to selling
registered versions and in general, this will be
beneficial to shareware. The main drawback is that you
must be careful in selecting those you let sell your
program. If they rip someone off, you may have to pay.
And you may also have to cope with rip-off artists who
claim to be selling your program, but who give you none
of the money.
At PsL, we offer a non-profit registration taking service
for authors. We charge a flat fee of $5 per transaction
(no matter how many copies/programs are ordered) to cover
the cost of taking the order and notifying the author to
ship and the cost of doing the paperwork, etc., plus 4%
of the total to cover the costs of the credit card. For
more information, contact PsL.

3.16 Selling Registered Versions Through "Retail"
Some of the top shareware authors also sell their
programs through normal retail channels. While there is
nothing wrong with this from the shareware viewpoint,
dealers and distributors often complain when they see
"the same program" being listed in a shareware
distributor's ad for a few bucks.
Hopefully, in the long run, increased public awareness
about the true nature of shareware and more truth in
advertising by shareware distributors (both of which are
major goals of ASP) will stop this from being such a
problem. In fact, as more shareware distributors begin to
sell both retail and registered shareware products, the
distinction between the two may disappear, other than the
advantage to users of being able to try shareware before
3.17 Setting Prices
Now let's look at the problem of setting a price for your
Underpricing: If someone doesn't need a program, the
fact that you may have grossly underpriced it is not
going to induce them to register.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.17 Setting Prices (Continued)
Overpricing: Users don't care if you "really need the
money" or if you spent 10,000 hours on the program. They
care about THEIR needs and the costs and alternatives for
filling those needs. The two keys to pricing a program
are the cost of alternatives and the value to the user.
The Cost of Alternatives: To do a sensible job of
setting a price for your product, you need to know the
shareware and retail markets for your product. Find out
what other programs are selling for and compare your
program to them in terms of quality and features. For
retail products, don't look at list prices, look at
mail-order discount ads. That is your main competition.
For shareware products, the easiest way to compare is to
look in the PsL's PD/Shareware Reviews. The license (or
"registration") fees shown there include shipping and
handling, in order to make comparisons valid. If you
have written a simple program and you see other programs
like it that are free or $10 or less, that does not bode
well for the odds of your getting rich from your version.
Even if you don't find any competition, if your program
was easy to write and you overprice it, you can bet that
others will write "improved" versions of your program and
ask little or nothing for it.
On the other hand, programs like TapCIS have made it big
despite the availability of AutoSIG, an excellent (and
FREE) alternative program (both are CompuServe
communications programs). "Alternatives" are not always
other programs.
If you had the world's only program for keeping track of,
say, telephone messages, you still could not charge
hundreds of dollars for it because people still have
non-computing alternatives -- writing the messages down
on paper.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.17 Setting Prices (Continued)
Value To The User: For a program to be a huge success,
it must have a large target audience, it must have a
value far in excess of its cost, and it must be appear to
be better and/or cheaper than alternatives. If the use
of alternatives is already deeply ingrained in people's
habits, then the program must be greatly superior to
alternatives (not just cheaper) to get people to switch
and to learn a new system.
In effect, your target audience is made smaller when your
program's niche is already dominated by a highly
successful program. Sometimes a programmer will price a
program very low because he thinks that will get more
people to pay for it. This strategy is fine if it is
based on a comparison of the program to alternatives, but
it usually is based solely upon desperation and/or lack
of confidence. This strategy of trying to low-price a
program is most often employed with low-value programs or
programs with small target audiences. It does NOT work.
Large numbers of people are simply not going to pay for
low value programs, no matter what the price.
Likewise, pricing has virtually no effect on the size of
your target audience. If you have a high value program,
but a small target audience, you should keep your price
up (still giving consideration to the cost of
alternatives) and use the extra revenues to try to
increase the size of your target audience (ie: get out
and PUSH your program) or to develop other programs.
Charge for Value to the User, Not for Your Time: If you
are fairly new to programming and it took you weeks or
months to perfect your program, keep in mind that an
experienced programmer with a collection of sophisticated
programming tools might duplicate your effort in a day.
Don't price your product based on the number of hours you
spent (which we have seen some authors prattle on about
in their documentation), but on the value of the program
to the user.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.17 Setting Prices (Continued)
Case Studies: BASIC compilers used to sell for hundreds
of dollars. When Microsoft introduced QuickBASIC ("QB"),
it had a street price of under $60, although its value to
the customer was clearly very high and it had a large
target audience. The reason why was competition from
Borland Software who was releasing Turbo BASIC about the
same time and at about the same price.
A company named MicroHelp sells add-on's for QB, usually
at prices much higher than QB itself. Even though the
total time and money invested in these add-on's is
undoubtedly many times less than in QB, and though the
relative value of the add-on's is probably far less than
QB itself, MicroHelp still enjoys very good success. The
reason why is because of two key elements: (1) the
relative value of the add-on's compared to QB
notwithstanding, the value of the add-on's to the user is
still many times the price of the programs and (2) for
most of these add-on's, there are no alternatives that
are significantly cheaper.
Rabinowitz's SWAP Programs: In the shareware arena, Chip
Rabinowitz has cleaned up with some add-on's for many
popular pop-up programs (such as Sidekick) that reduce
the DOS RAM used by these programs to about 9k. Again,
the price of these add-on's is much higher than the value
of and time/money invested in the original programs, but
that fact notwithstanding, the value of the SWAP programs
is many times their price and the alternative (of not
using the SWAP programs and continuing to waste precious
DOS RAM) is not an attractive one.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

3. Marketing Shareware (Continued)
3.18 Changing Prices
Eventually you may need to raise your registration price.
After doing so, you will continue to receive
registrations at the old price. Most ASP authors agree
that you should explain to the customer that the price
has gone up; they disagree on whether or not the original
payment should be accepted or returned.
The following is a sample letter that favors acceptance
of the partial payment:
Thank you for your registration of _______________. The
version of the program that you registered is outdated
and the price has since gone up due to the additional
time invested in improving the program. Nevertheless, I
have recorded you as a registered user and am sending you
the latest version and manual.
If you feel that the latest version is worth the
increased registration fee, please return the enclosed
invoice with the additional payment; otherwise, please
just keep the new version with my appreciation for your
3.19 Technical Support
The best asset you may have is your ability to provide
better technical support than any "commercial/retail"
competition could ever do. Even the business community
is finding that they have more success in getting the
features they need when they work with a shareware
author. The excellent communications between you and
your customers will make your product grow and improve at
a rate much faster than the traditional "retail"
software. Seriously consider providing pre as well as
post-registration technical support. It often will
result in an order and will at least give you additional
feature ideas or result in your writing clearer
If you have a "day time" job, DO have an answering
machine. Have your message clearly identify your company
name and offer to call back. If necessary, ask for an
evening or weekend number to return the call. Don't even
consider fooling with collect calls. This will be viewed
as VERY un-professional by many potential registrants.
Large companies won't even consider accepting collect
calls and you may miss a big site license.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

4. Making Your Program User-Friendly
4.1 Installation
Many authors assume that their users know as much about
computers as the author. This is just not the case.
Many shareware users can be novice computer users. If
they download your software from a BBS, you can assume
that they will at least know recognize README text files
and EXEcutable files.
However, if they have purchased the shareware disk from a
disk vendor or have been given the disk by a friend, you
should have a README.DOC, READ.ME or README.1ST file.
Many disk vendors instruct their customers how to copy
these type of files to their printers or how to TYPE them
to the screen.
The README file should be short and sweet. If possible,
limit it to one 24 line screen so that the TYPE command
will not scroll the top of the file off the top of the
screen. It should tell them how to install your system
on floppy or hard disks. It will likely tell the user
how to run your INSTALL.BAT or INSTALL.EXE file.
MAKE IT EASY for the user to install, evaluate and make
that all important "buy" decision before the span of
attention lapses.
One way to create an install program is to write and test
an install BATch file. Create the necessary sub-
directory and copy and/or uncompress all of the necessary
files. If you have an install program, you can have a
menu option that will print the on-disk documentation.
KNOW YOUR TARGET USERS. If many of your users will have
only old computers with only 360k drives, your INSTALL
program should be able to prompt for the second disk.
Further, if the vendor has placed all of your files on a
720k or 1.44m disk, your INSTALL program should figure
that out and handle the install accordingly. If you have
a Windows product, you can probably safely assume you
don't have to worry about handling 360k disks as most
Windows users have newer computers.
4.2 On-Screen Help
The first thing most people will do when they get your
program disk will not be to print out and study the
documentation; it will be to try to run the program. So
your program should have enough on-screen help to allow
the user to run the program at least well enough to get
Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

4. Making Your Program User-Friendly (Continued)
4.2 On-Screen Help (Continued)
interested in it. One popular data base program has one
place where instead of a self-explanatory menu, it shows
a series of cryptic symbols and letters from which the
user is supposed to select.
Chances are, the occasional user will have to refer to
the manual every time this part of the program is
reached. (Since 1984 when the above was written, the data
base program has been improved, to say the least.)
The most desirable alternative is to have the program
work in a natural enough manner and have enough
information on the screen to allow the user to operate
the program with no further help. The second best
alternative is to have help screens that can be called up
with a keystroke. The third best alternative is to have
a well-written manual.
The worst alternative is to have users calling you all
hours of the day and night or even have them give up on
your program.
4.3 Supply defaults
If the user has supplied the name of a file to load, make
that name the default when you ask him for a name to save
with. While on the subject of files, if you ask for a
filename, be prepared to let the user see the disk
directory. Some programs make the user exit the program
and look at the directory in DOS if he cannot remember
the filename. A nice checkbook program in PsL lets you
put a vendor's name and address on a check by entering
the vendor's ID#, but it doesn't let you view a list of
vendor ID numbers!
4.4 Trap errors
Nobody wants to have ten minutes of keyboard input dumped
into the bit bucket because the program kicked out to DOS
when it found a disk drive door open, or some other minor
infraction. One very fine shareware program has scared
off potential users because it gives nothing more than
error code numbers for simple things like having a
write-protect tab on a disk. In this case, the author
would have been better off not trapping errors. The
program would have aborted, but at least DOS would have
spelled out the error messages.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

4. Making Your Program User-Friendly (Continued)
4.5 Rules For Basic Programmers
Here are two cardinal rules for BASIC programmers:
1. Compile your program. There are many, many users who
have never run anything but 1-2-3 or WordPerfect. They
do not understand the intricacies of getting in and out
of the BASIC interpreter. They expect to be able to run
the program by typing in its name from DOS. Furthermore,
your program will run faster. Also, some PC-compatibles
do not come with a BASIC interpreter. MS-DOS 5 and above
does NOT include the GWBASIC interpreter any more. On
these, the user cannot run your program at all!
Actually, nowadays, most BASIC programmers are using
Visual Basic or an equivalent.
2. If you are still using QuickBASIC, avoid using the
INPUT command. It allows the user to wipe out the screen
and provides very little control to the programmer.
Instead, use an INKEY$ routine. Almost all BASIC
programmers are now following these rules, but they still
bear repeating. Visual Basic takes care of this for you.
4.6 Make The Program And Keys Work Naturally
All programmers should allow full-screen editing. This
simply means that the user can move back to a prior
prompt with the cursor keys to correct an error.
Thoughtless (or lazy) programmers make the user go all
the way through a series of prompts and then asks if
there are any corrections. The best time to correct an
error is as soon as you notice it. That way, you can get
your mind off the error and back on your work.
Similarly, the Esc key should always allow the user to
get out of whatever he has gotten into. Nobody likes to
re-boot his computer just because he accidentally
selected a wrong option and can't get out of it. I have
seen retail programs that use the Esc key to execute a
command. Make the program as flexible as possible. What
may seem to you like a natural, logical key to strike for
a particular function may not seem so to the user.
That's why keyboard modification utilities are so
popular. For example, to page up, you could let the user
press either Ctrl-P or PgUp or, better yet, select his
own favorite key to use.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

4. Making Your Program User-Friendly (Continued)
4.7 Let The User Customize
Send your program out with black and white screens but
allow the user to change colors. Some programmers use
colors that are only visible on color monitors. Remember
that some people use amber or green monitors on color
graphics cards. Early versions of Diskcat tested for the
presence of the color graphics card and, upon finding it,
started using yellow (brown) for text. Of course, it did
not show up on amber monitors.
Allow the user to customize the program for his printer.
Ideally, you should have the control codes for most
printers in files on disk so that the user just selects
his printer from a menu. An easier (for the programmer)
alternative is to allow the user to enter the control
codes for his printer, although figuring these out from
the printer manual often seems to be beyond the
capabilities of novices.
When your program does printing, allow pauses for each
new page for people not using fanfold paper. (This is
not quite as critical anymore. Most people now use
fanfold paper on dot matrix printers or use lasers with
paper trays.) End each printout with a formfeed so that
those who do use fanfold paper can chain printouts into a
print buffer.
Make sound effects optional. Some heavily modified
versions of PC-TALK sound like a calliope, there are so
many warning beeps and tones built in. These are not
appreciated by others when you are working in an open
office or late into the night at home. Again, some
PC-compatibles do not support sound (eg: Sanyo).
utility in our library uses colors that do not show up on
some monitors. Worse yet, it does not put back your
colors when it exits to DOS, so you have to reboot the
system to be able to see the screen again. Some other
programs put you back in DOS with a 40-character display
or in the graphics mode or with your printer set to print

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

4. Making Your Program User-Friendly (Continued)
4.8 Keeping Your Files Together
If your files will not fill up a disk by themselves, they
will probably be put on disks with other files. Even if
you don't expect this to happen, it is still a good idea
to give your files names that will cause them to be
grouped together when a sorted directory is done and that
make it clear which files are in a set. If you have
files named READ.ME or AUTOEXEC.BAT, they probably will
not survive being put on a disk with another program.
Give them unique names. For example, the PC-DIAL files
Since the files total only 90k and are likely to be
combined on a disk with other files, these names will
keep the files together. In contrast, see the names of a
set of programs below:
Original Names Alternatives
-------------- ------------
You should also put a lot of thought into the filename of
your program if it is a short utility that will be mixed
in with others. For instance, the average user is never
going to make the connection that GREP is a text-search
utility. A name such as FINDTEXT.EXE would have been
better. One nice utility came out with three files:
DOWNLOAD.DOC, DL.COM and RESET.COM. What typically
happens is that these are put on a disk with 60 other
files. Someone looks at RESET.COM, can't find any
documentation for it, so they delete it. Same thing
happens with DL.COM.
The other problem is that someone skims through a listing
of the disk, sees the name DOWNLOAD, and assumes that it
has something to do with communications and ignores it.
Doesn't matter, since the COM files have been deleted
anyway. How much easier things would have been if the
files had been named BKUP.DOC, BKUP.COM (this is a
routine to backup a hard disk) and BKUP-SET.COM (sets the
archive bit on a file so that it will be copied.)
Number Each Release: Believe it or not, some people send
out frequent updates to their programs and never put a
date or release number on them. That makes it nearly
impossible for you to control what versions of your
program are in distribution and for users to know if you
have released a new version.
Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

4. Making Your Program User-Friendly (Continued)
4.9 Do NOT Use 1.2m Drives To Make 360k Disks
If you own a computer with only a 1.2m 5 1/4" floppy
drive and you use it for making 360k copies, replace
that 1.2m drive with a TRUE 360k drive! Why?
Many disk vendors distribute either 360k 5 1/4" or 720k 3
1/2" disks. Many distribute collections on 1.44m 3.5"
disks. NO, not ONE, nada vendors sell 1.2m 5 1/2" disks.
Don't let a computer store or mail order outfit tell you
that you can make 360k copies on 1.2m high density
drives. Sure, sometimes you can. Often a disk vendor or
customer will NOT be able to read the disk. The vendor
will drop you from their catalog because you sent them an
unreadable disk and you will get a LOT of calls from
those to whom you have sent registered disks. It will
cause you loss of big bucks, lost sales and frustrated
customers. Sort of akin to the end of the world for a
shareware author.
Why? The answer is fairly simple. To get 1.2m on a
5.25" disk, the disk drive "paints" a track that is 1/2
as wide as the 360k drives so it can place 80 tracks on a
disk rather than 40. Sure, you can ask the DOS FORMAT
program to tell your disk drive to lay down only 40
tracks for a 360k format, but they are still THIN tracks.
If the disk was previously formatted, and often suppliers
sell pre-formatted disks at no additional price, the
vestiges of the 80 tracks are STILL there, even though
your disk drive just wrote a 40 track 360k format onto
the disk. A true 360k drive has a WIDER head and will
easily pick up portions of bits from the adjacent
unerased thin track that was laid down previously. The
360k drive reads garbled data and DOS gives up.
Even if you make 360k disks with disks that have NEVER
been formatted before, the tracks are too thin to be read
by many 360k drives. A slightly out of adjustment 360k
drive can read true 360k disks just fine, but will choke
on one of those darned disks made on a high density
This problem does NOT exist with 1.44m 3 1/2" drives.
The track width on both the 720k and 1.44m formats is the
SAME. Eighty tracks are used for both 720k and 1.44m.
The 1.44m format just has twice as many sectors to the

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

5. Writing The Documentation
The following book has been recommended by ASP member Morrie
Wilson, author of Command Post: How to Write a Computer
Manual; By Jonathan Price; The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing
Company; (800) 227-1936 (USA); (800) 982-6140 (CA). Price:
$35. ISBN 0-8053-6870-1.

5.1 Multiple Documentation Files
As mentioned earlier, if you have a large documentation
file, don't expect the user to print and read it right
away. If there are some key points that the user will
need to know to get through a first trial run, condense
them into a shorter file and have a batch file print it
out for novices. Your terms of distribution and payment
should also be in a separate, short file (named
REGISTER.DOC, ORDER.TXT, etc.) where software librarians
and users can find them. Authors who bury their terms of
distribution and invoice at the back of a 100k
documentation file are just asking to have them ignored.
ASP recommends putting vendor info in VENDOR.DOC or

5.2 Formatting and Printing The Documentation
It is amazing how many authors put the documentation file
on the disk with all of their word processor's formatting
commands embedded in it. If the user can't read the
documentation, you've already got one strike against you.
Some people use file compression on the documentation
file and the user must run a program to translate the
file. Putting the documentation in a format that cannot
easily be read from DOS is not a good idea because it
reduces the odds that the user will thoroughly read the
documentation. But if you must compress it, it is even
more important to condense the key facts into a shorter
file. Even if the documentation is in straight ASCII, it
is helpful if you add a program to print it out to the
screen or printer. This makes it easier for novices to
get a printout while the file being in ASCII still allows
experienced users to access the documentation in other
ways. The program should allow for pausing after every
page to change paper, if the user needs to do so.
Use a spelling checker. We have talked about how a
professional looking program will generate more revenues,
and nothing looks more unprofessional than blatant

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

5. Writing The Documentation (Continued)
5.2 Formatting and Printing The Documentation (Continued)
If your documentation is more than 5 or 10 pages, include
a Table Of Contents. You should also have an Index.
Modern word processors will create these for you. Notice
how this document is improved by both.
Be sure that you "print" the finished document to a
straight ASCII file that contains no control characters
except a Form Feed (ASCII 12) after line 59 on each page.
Do not pad blank lines to make a full 66 lines per page.
The HP laser printers (and compatibles) can handle only
59 or 60 lines before they eject the page. If you have
more than 59 lines between Form Feeds, the HP laser will
perform premature ejection and the remainging lines will
be printed at the top of the next page. Dot matrix
printers will also handle the Form Feed every 59 lines
just fine.

5.3 Contents of the Documentation File
Right after your title page, disclaimer of warranty, and
table of contents, there should be a listing of all files
that are supposed to be on the disk, along with a short
description of each. If a file has dropped out in the
distribution process, this will alert the user and save
him some frustration. This information should also be
included in your condensed documentation file.
Next, give a quick over-view of just what your software
does. This will help people reviewing your system and
may cause a quicker positive "buy" decision.
After you've recited all the dry facts in your
documentation, try giving the user some illustrative
examples. This can make things a lot clearer to the user
and save you the headache of having to clarify things
over the phone.
List all the changes made with each version that's
released. This lets potential users see that you are
supporting the program by making enhancements and fixing
bugs and allows users to know if you have fixed problems
that they had with an earlier version. Make sure that
when you refer to a file, the file name on the disk has
not changed.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

6. The Association of Shareware Professionals ("ASP")
The file you are reading actually led to the formation of ASP.
This file originated in late 1984 and was distributed to
shareware authors in early 1985 along with a survey asking
about an interest in a programmers group. After finally
getting a good number of responses and compiling the
information, I started work in early 1986 for a get-together
of shareware authors for the primary purpose of forming a
trade association. The plans culminated with a Shareware
Convention on February 27 1987 in Houston Texas, from which
the ASP was born due to the enthusiastic participation of top
shareware programmers such as Jim Button (PC-File), Bob
Wallace (PC-Write) and Marshall Magee (Automenu).
These people could have adopted the attitude that they were
already successful enough without such an organization, but
they did not. They paid their own way to the Convention even
though they were the featured speakers! Button was elected
the ASP's first (and second) Chairman of the Board of
Directors. Magee became the first President. Tom Smith
served as a director. And none of these are "honorary"
positions; they involve a great deal of time and effort. Many
others, such as Barry Simon, Bob Tolz, Joan Friedman, and
others too numerous to mention have also done a tremendous
amount of work for ASP as directors, officers, and committee
members, but I suspect that had the top shareware programmers
not taken such an active role, ASP would not have had much
credibility and possibly would not still be around.
The ASP also owes thanks to the sysops of IBMNET on
CompuServe. Sysops Conrad Kageyama and Don Watkins were at
the Convention and arranged, on the spot, a place on IBMNET
for the shareware authors to meet electronically and continue
our plans. We have been meeting there daily ever since in
what must be a record for longest continuous business meeting.
ASP also has an annual physical meeting at the Fall Comdex
each year. For more information about ASP, log onto
CompuServe and type GO SHAREWARE. You do not have to be a
member of CompuServe to join ASP, but since much of the
benefit of membership is related to the exchanges between
members (and between members and users) on the Shareware
Forum, anyone serious about shareware should make an effort to
take part on the Forum. To get a CompuServe account, call
800-848-8199 (614-457-0802).
To contact the ASP, write to Association of Shareware
Professionals, 545 Grover Road, Muskegon MI 49442-9427,
telephone 616-788-5131 or you can FAX to 616-788-2765.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

6. The Association of Shareware Professionals ("ASP")
Here is a testimonial from ASP member Lou Miranda:
"I am a starving graduate student making $12,000 a year with
enormous time demands. My girlfriend lives 30 miles away
(checked the price of gas lately?); my apartment looks like a
tornado swept through it. I used to log on to this forum only
once a week when I first joined ASP."
"Then twice a week. Now I'm up to four times a week (I simply
*can't* afford the money or time to do more than that...yet).
Why? Because the *volume* and *quality* of information on this
forum is *phenomenal*! You simply can't create that in a
newsletter, no matter how often it is released."
"[The above] was in a message posted on the ASP forum in 1991.
Since then, some things have changed: I'm still a starving
student, but now I'm working on finishing up my Ph.D.; and my
girlfriend is now my fiancee. And some things have stayed the
same: I'm still very busy, my apartment still looks like a
tornado swept through it, and I still log onto the ASP forum!
The forum has gone through some reorganization in the past
year, to better meet the needs of the members. You can get
information from fellow members on such topics as: How to
handle a purchase order; how to get a credit card account;
what the best database managers are; how to handle a customer
with an unreasonable gripe; how to handle a customer with a
legitimate gripe; how to deal with price increases in your
product; where to get your documentation printed; how to
promote your newest release; and how much time to spend on
programming vs. how much time to spend on promotion."
"Remember--these are the best minds in the business, and
they're all at your disposal at no charge! That's an offer
*I* can't refuse. Can you?"
Editor's Note - Lou is referring to the ASPFORUM (GO SHARE) on
CompuServe. Even if you are not an ASP member, stop by the
forum with any questions you may have. If you wish to join
CompuServe call 800-848-8990, 614-457-8650, United Kingdom at
0800 289 458, Germany at 0130-4643.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services
NOTE: The information in this section is subject to change at
any time. Check the date on this file. If it is old, this
info may no longer be valid; get a new copy of this disk from
PsL (713-524-6394) or from Lib 4 of the ASPFORUM on
7.1 Telephone
AT&T has a low cost 800-line service called the Ready Line
which is relatively inexpensive. For about 23 cents a minute
out of state, about 35 cents a minute in state (for Texas),
you can have a fancy 800 number just like the big boys. Most
of the good acronyms are already gone, but you should still be
able to come up with something. At the PsL, our number is
1-800-2424-PsL, which we think is easy to remember. However,
we were not able to get anything like 800-PsL-DISK or
800-SHRWARE, which would have been better. Another shareware
distributor has the number 800-IBM-DISK, but IBM clamped down
on them for trademark infringement and they no longer
advertize the number that way, so we suggest that you not
waste time trying to work "IBM" into your acronym. The Ready
Line 800 number is assigned to your regular telephone number,
so you do not even have to get a second line, unless you just
want to be able to know for sure if someone has dialed the 800
An AT&T competitor, Sprint, has cheaper rates, although only
time will tell if their service will match AT&T's. Sprint's
rates are as follows: $10/month Rates vary with distance and
total number of hours: 0-5 hours: $.2125-$.23 5-25 hours:
$.195-$.205 25-75 hours: $.1775-$.19 75-150 hours:
$.1775-$.1875 Call 800-347-3300 to order service. (Rates above
are as of 1990 and are subject to change.)
7.2 Smart Answering Machines
Programmer John Newlin reports: I purchased a product
called the Complete Answering Machine ("CAM") after
reading about it in the July issue of Home Office
Computing. It's an outstanding system that includes a
plug-in card and all the necessary software. It runs in
the background so the machine it's running on is not
completely dedicated. The system allows you to do
all kinds of nifty telephone things like transferring
calls, having the caller touch different numbers to get
different messages, message forwarding, remote message
retrieval, etc. All messages, greetings, etc, are stored
on disk in compressed digitized form. For that reason, a
hard disk is almost a necessity.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.2 Smart Answering Machines (Continued)
The quality of the recording is phenomenal. CAM retails
for $349 (several years ago), but I got it from 47th
Street (800-221-7774) in New York for $214 plus shipping.
The name of the manufacturer is The Complete PC; 521
Milpitas Drive, Milpitas, CA 95035. 408-434-0145, 800-
Here is another view by author Paul Mayer - I remembered
seeing a review in PC Magazine on computerized answering
machines and voice mail systems and it had one that stood
out above the others and was the Editor's Choice. I did
a search on CompuServe in the ZIFNET files and found the
information. It was BigmOuth from Talking Technology,
Inc., 1125 Atlantic Ave., Alameda, CA 94501,
The system does not run as a TSR as CAM did so I've
dedicated an old computer to the task. You can use
multitasking software to run it in the background but
having an unused machine laying around made this
The system gives the appearance of the caller connecting
to a big corporation with multiple departments. Before
going full time shareware, I'd have my computer call a
pager number and beep me whenever anyone called and I
wasn't in the office. This is great as I could then call
in and retrieve the messages it would take and get back
to the customer right away. This gives them the feeling
that the customer lines were busy and you've returned
their call immediately. If you'd like a demo of
BigmOuth, you can call the 510-522-3800 number and they
will transfer you to a demo system using BigmOuth. The
price was around $300 at the time I bought my system and
I've seen it advertised for less in mail order catalogs.
All in all, it's quite a value for what it can do.
Answering Services can be expensive. If you cannot be
available during the day, your best bet is probably to
get a computer voice synthesizing answering device such
as Newlin described. Many large companies are now using
these to route calls, so there should be less of a
small-timer stigma attached to them as there is to a
simple answering machine.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.3 Fax Machines
All the experts are predicting that everyone will have a
fax in a few years, but it seems a little premature for
someone just starting off in shareware to get one right
now. On the other hand, if you have to deal with
magazines and other large companies, they are going to
*assume* that you have a FAX and it could reflect on your
professionalism if you do not. At PsL, we have been
using the Intel Connection Coprocessor. A FAX card with
its own CPU will let you receive and send messages in the
background while you continue to use the computer for
other things. However, for about the same price, you can
get a stand-alone FAX machine these days. Good FAX
machines can be purchased for less than $500.
Richard Harper reports success in using a device called
Fax/Phone Switch II by Electronic Speech Systems. The
cost is about $50. It answers all calls with a pleasant
voice that explains that if you stay on the line the FAX
will answer. If you say the word "telephone" at the
tone, the call will be switched to the phone. It is
simple, elegant, low cost and it works. You can have
your regular telephone and answering machine on the voice
port. a dealer is TKP&F Computer Science, 5415 Endicott
Street, Roanoke VA 24019, 703-362-7114.
7.4 Disk Labels
With font programs, you can make small quantities of
laser labels at a low cost that look like they were
custom printed. Avery Label Pro is the best laser label
program, in my opinion. Paul Mayer recommends CompUSA
for laser labels. If there is not one near you, you can
call them at 817-261-7702 or 800-342-7638. They accept
mail orders through this number by credit card. Prices
on 6/1/90 were:
8-1/2 x 11 sheets (100) $17.99 Stock #853262
5-1/4" disk labels (840) $26.49 Stock #853901
3-1/2" disk labels (630) $26.49 Stock #853892

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.4 Disk Labels (Continued)
Avery will send you a sample pack of laser labels for the
purpose of getting your software to work with them.
Write to them at 777 East Foothill Blvd., Azusa, CA
91702-1358 or call 800-541-5507.
The Computer Label Company, 800-332-4223 (619-322-3030)
and MEI, 800-634-3478 (614-481-4417) have the best prices
we can find on standard 3.5" by 1" labels. You can also
call United Ad Label at 800-423-4643 (714-990-2700) and
ask for a free catalog and sample label kit. They
specialize in audio/video labels but they do have both
pin-feed and laser sheet labels for 3.5" and 5.25" floppy
Another good source for labels is Lyben Computer Supplies
313-268-8100. They have the Avery labels. They are also
one of the few suppliers that carry the continuous
fanfold label stock that can be used for 3.5" disks. The
labels are 2 3/4 by 1 15/16 inch and is Stock # 0300.

7.5 Disk Sleeves
PsL's sleeves are printed by Data Envelope (408-374-9720)
at an average cost of about 5 cents each for two-color
printing on both sides of tyvek sleeves, including a
one-time charge for plates. This was based on a volume
of 50k, but even in volumes of 1000, you can get
two-color sleeves for as little as 10 cents each. The
same company printed our labels, which you can get for as
little as one cent each.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.6 Art Work
If you can get someone to design a logo you like for as
little as $500, you have gotten a bargain. Don't be
surprised to pay $1000 or more. Your best bet is to find
someone who works for a design agency and moonlights.
Also check the person listed on page 68.
7.7 Blank Disks
Flip through the pages of Computer Shopper and take your
pick. It makes sense to us that if you are sending a
copy to someone who should make a working copy from your
disk and not use your disk much, the cheapest disk you
can find should suffice, particularly if you are sending
out a couple of hundred disks to distributors. Be aware
that some colored disks (red or orange, in particular)
may not be readable on some disk drives. We find that
about half or more of our customers, when given a choice
of disk sizes at the same price, choose 3.5". Some MUST
have 3.5", so be prepared. Also realize that the
cheapest disk will not always hold the image for long.

7.8 Disk Duplication
In our opinion, disk duplication services are grossly
over-priced. However, others use these services and are
happy with them. If you are pushing out 1,000 or more
disks a month, you might want to get a duplicator. You
can get a stand-alone, four-disk copier for around $1100
these days, which is a real bargain; we have paid $2000
for copiers that require a PC. (Call Micro-Technology
Concepts, Inc., 718-456-9100.)
A stand-alone hopper-fed copier will cost a minimum of
about $3500, but it will be a LOT nicer to use for large
copy jobs than feeding disks in one at a time. You may
be able to get a better price from Tony at Formats
Unlimited, 121 Toledo St., East Farmingdale, NY, 11735
(800) 645-8461 or (516) 249-9200.
There are many public domain and shareware programs
designed to make disk copying and formatting faster.
Before spending even $1100 on a duplicator, try some of
these programs. In the PsL, we have many of them on
disks U1-1553 and 2673 Disk Copying Utilities.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.8 Disk Duplication (Continued)
ASP author, Randy MacLean has the shareware DUP program
that stores an image of your shareware floppy disk master
on your hard drive. Through the program's menu, you
select the particular image to create floppy disk copies.
Formatting is optional in case you have reliable pre-
formatted disks. PsL U1-2673 contains this program or
you can contact Randy at 416-857-4141. If you need a
fancier version to drive the hopper type duplicator,
Randy has the non-shareware ProCopy program.

7.9 Diskette Mailers
A good source of plain, inexpensive, flat diskette
mailers for one or two disks is MailSafe 800-527-0754
(798-872-6677). Mailers are less than $.14 in quantities
of 1000. If you opt for a return address printed on it,
it doubles the price, but looks pretty cheap. Instead,
either print your return address labels or try the next
If you want fancy mailers, try the Ames Safety Envelope
Company, 312-279-9474, 188 Industrial Drive, Suite 431.
Ask for Gary Traynor. You do have to order quite a few,
however. For 5,000, the price should be about $.65 each.
For 10,000, about $.45 each.
PsL used to use the fancy mailers, but we think that a
better alternative is to have 6"x9" (or whatever size you
need) envelopes printed with your logo.
Calumet Carton Company 708-333-6521 has 6" x 6" mailers
for $0.16 each, 6" x 8" for $0.18 and 7" x 9" for about
$0.21 each. These are Peal-Seal Stay-Flats with an easy-
open tear strip.
If you put a manual in with your disks, you probably
don't need any more protection for the disk(s) than that.
At PsL, we put the disks inside a MailSafe mailer and put
that inside the envelope. This is still cheaper than the
Ames mailers, and the customer gets a fresh mailer for
his own use. You should be able to get paper envelopes
printed with your logo for about a dime or so. Tyvek
envelopes will cost about 20 cents or more, but they are
worth it. They are rip-proof and water-proof. Check with
your local printer.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.9 Diskette Mailers (Continued)
Quill sells 5 1/4" foam-lined cardboard mailers for
$5.66/10 or $16.47/30 (They also have 8" foam-lined
cardboard mailers.) Bubble-lined 00 mailing envelopes,
$29.88/250, $129.40/1250 Self-sealing bubble-lined 00
mailing envelopes, $31.97/250, $139.80/1250 Recycled
padding 00 mailing envelopes, $33.49/250, $144.80/12.50
Cro-nel self-adhesive foam packaging, $53.97/250 feet
(This stuff has foam on one side, paper on the other, and
the foam is treated to stick to itself. You just tear off
a hunk, fold it over your diskette, and address the
outside -- instant mailer, sized to what you want to send
in it). Quill is at 714-988-3200 (Western states),
708-634-4800 (Midwest, Midsouth, Northeast) or
404-479-6100 (Southeastern states). No shipping charge
on orders over $45.
Some authors purchase 6" x 9" envelopes from their
printers that include their address and logo. The words
"FIRST CLASS" should be printed below the postage stamp
area. The Postal Service employees that do the initial
sorting are usually new hires that think anything larger
than a business size envelope is Third Class. Unless you
want a LOT of delays, have FIRST CLASS in large letters
or purchase a stamp from your office supply store. Also
have "DO NOT BEND - MAGNETIC MEDIA" below your return
You can also purchase cardboard cut to 8 1/2" x 5 1/2 "
from your local printer. Use this to sandwich your 5.25"
disks. Use 4 sheets of cardboard for overseas mailings
to insure they get there undamaged. You can also tape
3.5" disks to the cardboard to prevent sliding in the
envelope. You can ship 3.5" disks in a regular business
sized envelope. You can either wrap it in several sheets
of install or upgrade instructions or cut narrow
cardboard stock to sandwich the disk(s).

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.9 Diskette Mailers (Continued)
Here is a summary of places that sell disk mailers:
Calumet Carton Sterling Disk Duplication
Company 11495 N. Pennsylvania Ave,
P.O. Box 405 Ste 204
16920 State Street Carmel IN 46032
S. Holland IL 60473 317-575-3390
708-333-6521 FAX: 317-575-3389
FAX: 708-333-8540
Pack & Wrap Mailers
466 Derby Avenue 40650 Forest View Road
W. Haven CT 06516 Zion IL 60099
800-541-9782 800-872-6670
203-389-1983 FAX: 708-872-4842
FAX: 203-389-9416
The Sirgo Company Mail Safe
P.O. Box 58 4340 W. 47th Street
Schereville IN 46375 Chicago IL 60632
219-865-6092 708-872-6677
FAX: 219-322-5194 800-527-0754
FAX: 708-872-4842
Quill Office International Media & Supplies
Products 3501 Coffee Road, Suite 9
P.O. Box 94080 Modesto CA 95355
Palatine IL 800-835-5515
60094-4080 FAX: 209-571-5757
FAX: 708-634-5708
Pack & Wrap
466 Derby Avenue
West Haven CT 06516
FAX: 203-389-9416

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.10 Boxes
If you are mailing manuals, you may need boxes. PsL gets
boxes from Fidelity 800-328-3034 (612-536-6500) and
Iroquois 800-453-3355 (312-436-4900). Call and ask for a
catalog. We also get some boxes from local box stores,
although they cost a bit more per box. The companies
mentioned also sell general office supplies, but if you
have a office supply super-store in your area, you can
probably do better there.

7.11 Bar Coding
If you hope to get into retail stores, you should be sure
to put bar codes on your packaging. Start by calling the
Uniform Code Council at 513-435-3870. At present, it
costs $300 to get a number. Rumor has it that the rate
may go up later. If you need an ISBN number, call 908-
7.12 Credit Card Merchant Accounts
MasterCard & Visa - MC/Visa Merchant accounts can be very
difficult for mail-order merchants to get, more so in
some parts of the country than in others. If you have
had a business checking account for your business for
several years, get to know your branch manager well. Try
them first.
If that fails, your next step should be to check ALL your
local banks. It's possible that many of the local banks
are processed by the same clearinghouse who sets the
rules for member banks about acceptance of mail-order
merchants. I checked almost every bank in Houston before
finding First Interstate, who is cleared by its parent
bank in California and who gave us an account.
I used to include in here the names and phone numbers of
companies that might fix you up with a credit card
account, but this information changes and it's important
to get the very latest info. You can do so by asking on
the SHAREWARE forum on CompuServe. If you cannot get an
account, PsL offers a not-for-profit credit card ordering
service. For a small fee, your customers can call PsL's
800# (or FAX or CIS numbers) and place an order with any
major credit card. You can ship or have PsL ship. If
you have PsL ship, you may want to have PsL ship ALL your
orders for you for an even smaller fee. Contact PsL for
more info.
Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.12 Credit Card Merchant Accounts (Continued)
If you become an ASP Author member, contact the ASP
office for the name of a bank that has been very willing
to work with shareware authors.

American Express & Discover
While MC/Visa are the big guns, American Express was
willing to give us an account when we were still
operating out of our home. At the time, Discover was not
willing to do the same. However, we have recently
(5/9/90) been told that Discover has set up a branch for
mail-order businesses. We do not know at this time if
this includes in-the-home businesses. We had no trouble
getting a Discover account after we moved into regular
7.13 A Banker's Perspective
Following is a document prepared by Eric Isaacson that
may help you convince your bank that someone in the
shareware business is worthy of consideration for a
Merchant Account:
Shareware Marketing of Software: A Banker's Perspective
by Eric Isaacson
Copyright 1991 Eric Isaacson.
All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to
shareware businesses and members of the banking industry
to freely copy and distribute this unmodified work
between and among themselves.
Your comments are welcome! Send them to:
Eric Isaacson Software
416 E. University Ave.
Bloomington IN 47401-4739

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.13 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)
The Purpose of This Booklet
In the past ten years a new approach to marketing
computer software has emerged: shareware. Shareware is
relatively small compared to the overall software market,
and it is very different. It has been poorly understood
by bankers wishing to evaluate shareware businesses.
This booklet explains the shareware business from the
banker's point of view.
Why Software Is Different
A computer has two components: the hardware and the
software. The physical machinery comprises the hardware:
the main box, various disk drives and circuit boards
mounted inside, and the keyboard and monitor connected
via cables. Computer programs comprise the software: the
operating system, the word processor, the spreadsheet,
the accounting package, the database manager, etc.
The marketing of computer software poses unique problems.
The value of software is intellectual: it comes from the
hundreds-to-thousands of hours spent preparing the
program and making sure it works perfectly for all users.
The price of the floppy disks that carry the software is
tiny compared to the intellectual value. This makes the
computer software industry similar to the video-movie
industry: both have problems with unauthorized copying.
But the problems of computer software are worse: first,
most computers have the built-in ability to duplicate
software using just one machine. Duplication of movies
requires two tape decks placed next to each other.
Second, copies of software are perfect duplicates of the
original. With videotape, there is significant and
annoying degradation when copying is attempted.
To combat unauthorized copying, some software publishers
attempted to make their software difficult to copy. This
"copy protection" was common in the early days of
personal computing. But publishers have never succeeded
in devising a protection scheme that doesn't annoy the
legitimate purchaser of the program.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.13 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)
Today almost all computers have high-capacity ("hard")
disk drives onto which all software is copied. If a user
can't copy the software to the hard drive, that user
isn't likely to buy the software. Copy-protected
software has almost disappeared from the marketplace.
Other software publishers have taken the completely
opposite approach to the problem: they market their
software as shareware.
What Is Shareware?
Shareware is the opposite of copy-protection. Rather
than trying to prevent copying, the software publisher
actually encourages the user to make copies and "share"
the program with anyone interested. Complete
documentation is placed onto the floppy disk along with
the program. In the documentation there is an
explanation of shareware. Anyone who receives a copy of
the program is encouraged to try out the program. If
they like it, they should send payment (usually called a
"registration") for the program directly to the
publisher. Thus the ability to make perfect copies of the
program becomes a tool for marketing the program.
Note that shareware authors retain a valid copyright to
the program. The author establishes the conditions under
which the program may be copied. The author may also
establish a specific amount of time for evaluation of the
program, beyond which the user is legally required to
either pay the registration fee or stop using the
program. The validity of a shareware program's copyright
has been tested and approved by the courts: a Missouri
shareware author successfully sued a Texas distributor
for violating his conditions for copying. Also, a
shareware author was invited to testify before a U.S.
Congressional committee evaluating software copyright
law, and the law was reworded to recognize explicitly the
existence and validity of shareware.
Shareware is still a small segment of the whole software
industry, but it is growing rapidly. Annual revenues
connected with shareware are estimated to exceed $100
million in 1991.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.13 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)
The Shareware Author's Business
Most businesses publishing shareware consist of a single
person: the author of the program. Many authors develop
programs on evenings and weekends, while retaining a full
time job weekdays. The author invests mostly time and
not money: a good program takes many hours to prepare,
but it takes at most only a few hundred dollars to
Marketing a shareware product consists simply of placing
it into the shareware distribution stream -- transmitting
the program to free or low-cost dial-up computers called
"bulletin-board systems", transmitting or sending it to
nationwide services like Compuserve and Prodigy, and
sending copies to companies that catalog and distribute
shareware. If the product is good, enthusiastic users
will spread it themselves, so that an initial
distribution of a few dozen copies will proliferate into
many thousands of copies. A significant number of those
thousands result in registrations (money) sent to the
What are the advantages and disadvantages of shareware
marketing? The disadvantages are that a program takes
time to build up sales volume, and the volume will
usually be much smaller. Also, a program must be very
good to succeed as shareware. It might be possible, via
skillful marketing and advertising, to fool the public
into buying a mediocre program when it's shrink-wrapped
on a store shelf. But the user can try out a shareware
program before buying it -- if it's mediocre, the user
won't use it and hence won't register it.
The advantages of shareware are low risk and low
overhead. Through traditional (non-shareware)
distribution channels, it takes from $200,000 to $500,000
to properly launch a software product. Markups must be
granted to both retail outlets and their supplying
distributors, so that the publisher might get only 15% of
the retail price, and the author even less.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.13 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)
Some shareware programs fail: they aren't good enough to
generate registrations. But the author doesn't thereby
go bankrupt. He or she simply loses the modest,
out-of-pocket initial disk-and-postage investment.
There are hundreds of shareware authors who make enough
money from shareware to substantially supplement their
regular job income. About 50 authors are making a living
from shareware receipts, and have gone full-time with
their shareware business. Many of them can make a
handsome profit without even needing to hire anyone else
to help out.
Some shareware businesses grow into full-fledged
companies, with dozens of employees and multi-million
dollar annual sales. To reach that level, the author
typically supplements the shareware marketing with
traditional advertising and dealer distribution. But
even for those companies, the risks are low because the
author moves into traditional distribution only after the
product is generating significant revenue through
shareware marketing. The expansion is financed via
existing profits, rather than venture capital.
Shareware Businesses and Banking
Shareware marketing is completely unique -- the only
other business with its try-before-you-buy philosophy is
Public Television; but Public Broadcasting stations do
not enjoy the low overhead that shareware authors do.
The uniqueness of shareware makes it poorly understood in
the banking industry, especially those handling
credit-card merchant accounts. Shareware has some of the
characteristics bankers normally associate with poor
risk: payments are made almost entirely by mail or
telephone, and all but the largest shareware businesses
are operated out of the author's home.
Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.13 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)
In reality, however, shareware authors are ideal
credit-card merchants from the banker's point of view.
Unlike other mail-order businesses in which the customer
doesn't see the product until it arrives, with shareware
the customer already has the product. If the customer
isn't happy, he or she simply stops using the program,
and never pays the author in the first place. If the
customer wishes to defraud the author, he or she simply
uses the program and never contacts the author. Thus,
all of a shareware author's paying customers are both
happy with the product and honest enough to pay for it.
The level of customer complaints and chargebacks is close
to zero. Credit-card fraud for shareware is
If a banker knows about shareware, he or she should
welcome a shareware author's business. How can a banker
identify a bona fide shareware business? To start, the
banker can ask the author for a copy of the program. If
the banker doesn't feel "computer-literate" enough to
verify that it's a genuine, non-trivial program, he or
she can ask for references. Many shareware authors are
members of the Association of Shareware Professionals
(ASP). The ASP screens applications for membership, to
ensure that only legitimate authors of non-trivial
shareware are admitted as author-members. The ASP would
be happy to verify any claims of membership -- they can
be reached at (616)788-5131, weekdays 8--5 eastern time.
Other prominent authors have chosen not to join the ASP,
but their programs are listed in the catalogs of
shareware distribution companies such as Public Brand
Software, P. O. Box 51315, Indianapolis, IN 46251; or the
Public (software) Library, P. O. Box 35705, Houston, TX
Shareware Distribution Companies
Bankers should be aware of another major component of the
shareware industry, distinct from the authors: the
shareware distribution companies. These companies take
advantage of the fact that copying of shareware is
allowed, by providing a cataloguing and distribution
service of shareware disks. Customers of distribution
houses are sent lists of available programs, for which
they can pay a copying fee of between $1 and $5 per disk.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.13 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)
There is no business arrangement between authors and
distribution houses: authors neither receive any
royalties for disks sold, nor do they pay anything for
the publicity given them. Customers understand that they
are not paying for the software, but merely for the
distribution service. Most shareware authors allow
distributors to handle their programs, because it spreads
their programs even further.
From a banker's point of view, the shareware distribution
houses are closer to traditional mail-order businesses.
Their profit margins are much lower than authors',
because their overhead relative to revenues is higher.
They must advertise in order to build business. Some
distribution companies haven't charged enough for disks
to cover their overhead costs, and have thus gone
bankrupt. But others, such as Public Brand Software and
the Public (software) Library, have built solid,
profitable, multi-million-dollar companies from shareware
A banker wishing to evaluate a shareware distribution
company can use many of the usual criteria: length of
time in business, size of business, profit sheets, etc.
There are a couple of pointers specific to shareware
distribution that can enhance the evaluation: first,
companies should be charging at least $3 per disk in
order to be profitable. There can exist "Mom and Pop"
outfits, run out of homes, that make some money charging
less; but if they try to expand into real businesses,
their overhead almost always overwhelms them. Second, a
banker can check the distributor's integrity by asking
for a catalog and for advertising copy, to make sure that
they are adequately explaining to the customer that they
are a shareware distribution service and are not selling
the software itself. If the customers understand what
they are getting, the level of complaints and chargebacks
will be much less than that of the average mail-order
business; if they don't, it will be as much or greater.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.13 A Banker's Perspective (Continued)
For More Information
The booklet "Shareware `Try Before You Buy' Software" by
Rob Rosenberger describes shareware from the consumer's
point of view. You may purchase it by sending $4.95 plus
$1.75 S+H to Paradise Publishing, 3111 S. Valley View
Blvd. Suite B-105, Las Vegas, NV 89102; or calling
(702)253-1940. For free catalogs listing the best
available shareware programs, you can write to Public
Brand Software or the Public (software) Library at the
addresses already given, or call them at their respective
numbers: (800)426-3475 and (800)242-4775.
End of Eric's article.
Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.14 Printers
Most shareware authors "typeset" their own manuals on a
laser printer. We have seen some "manuals" done with
9-pin printers. Don't bother; you will make a better
impression by just having the manual on disk. You can
start with an HP IIP for about $800. Add about $100 to
brink memory up to 1.5m. It is slow, but with a good
word processor that handles various fonts, you can print
a very credible camera ready master.
Or you can go with the HP LJ IIIP for around $1600, and
upgrade it with a PostScript cartridge and a 4meg Pacific
Page add-on should you feel the need. You can get
off-brand and/or discontinued lasers for around
$600-$700, but they may not be upgradeable, may not have
100% HP LJ emulation, and may not even have a continuing
source for toner and drums.
For doing mailing labels, you can get laser labels for an
HP LJ, but it is usually a lot easier to have a dot
matrix printer if you are going to be doing a significant
number. We used Epson printers, but the labels got stuck
in them all the time, so we switched to the Okidata 390,
which has a bottom feed so that the labels go straight
through the printer and the problems disappeared. The
Panasonic KPX-1124i is also an excellent 24 pin printer
that allows feeding stock from the back, bottom or front.

7.15 Printer Control Codes
The following company sells reference books with list
control codes for most brands of printers:
Cardinal Point Inc. 4999 West Woodland Drive
Bloomington, IN 47404 812-876-7811

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.16 Manual Publishing
Probably the best incentive to register is to be able to
receive a printed manual. This is particularly true if
you have a large system with a large manual. Registrants
view the printed manual right up there with the excellent
technical support given by most shareware authors as a
good reason to send you money.
If you are just starting, consider just having a
professional looking manual on disk until the number of
registrations is enough to convince you that you could
use a thousand manuals in a year or so. A cheap looking,
poorly done manual is worse than no manual at all. If
you have a small manual (less than 100 pages), you should
be able to get 1000 copies for about $1000.
Check your local printers, but also check with Whitehall
Press, who did PsL's Source Book. The number for their
new plant and headquarters in Florida is 813-643-6464.
Since they opened the new plant, they have gotten back to
a 4 to 5 week delivery schedule. On July 1, 1993 I was
quoted $1.22 each copy for 1000 copies of a 112 page 6"
by 9" manual with 2 color laminated covers.
Author Gary Elfring recommended Patterson Printing in
Michigan 616-925-2177). They may be slightly faster and
can handle larger books.
Many authors have used Camelot Book Factory, P.O. Box
1357, Ormond Beach FL 32175-1357, phone 904-672-5672.
They will produce up to roughly 300 copies for those who
want to start out printing less than 1000 copies. They
do black only on any color cover paper, non-laminated.
On July 12, 1993 I was quoted $2.35 each copy for 200
copies of a 112 page manual and $2.85 each copy for 100
copies of a 128 page manual. Both quotes for 5-1/2" by
8-1/2" manuals.
For my Diskcat-5 manual several years ago, I just used a
local printer to print a first run of 500 copies with a
glossy, two-color cover. I also paid an artist about
$1200 to do the art and color separations for the cover,
the labels and ads. Don't worry too much about your
manual being rendered obsolete by program updates (short
of major rewrites). Even big publishing houses have
adopted the technique of putting the latest info in a
READ-ME file on the disk.

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.16 Manual Publishing (Continued)
Paul Mayer tells us "If you're going to 4 color process,
don't degrade it by using printed screen shots. Do like
the magazines do, send your graphic captured image to a
company that converts them into color slides. The
company that I use is:"
Galaxy Graphics, Inc.
P.O. Box 220538
Chantilly, VA 22022
Office: 703-802-1111
Fax: 703-263-111
Modem: 703-643-0329
Some authors who really want to go first-class use a
binding procedure that looks like perfect bound, but when
you open the book, it lays flat and stays open. It's
called Otabind. For more information, call Hart Graphics
8000 Shoal Creek Blvd, PO Box 968, Austin TX 78767,
telephone 512-454-4761.
You should seriously consider getting professional help
in laying out the cover of your printed manual,
particularity if you plan to try the retail market.
Call the printer to see how wide the spine will be for
the number of pages. For example: a 96 page Perfect
Bound manual will have a 3/16" spine. Some retailers
will place your package edge on so that the printing on
the spine is the only thing the customer will see. That
is why many software packages are boxed for greater
If you can't find professional help locally, the
following person has designed several catalog covers for
the ASP and has done logo and cover work for many ASP
Suzanne Bilodeau
5709 Pebble Beach
El Paso TX 79912

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

7. Where To Get Supplies And Services (Continued)
7.17 Shrink-Wrap Machines
Almost everyone in the ASP who has a shrink-wrap machine
has the AJM machine and is happy with it, including me.
The system consists of a 15" sealer unit, an industrial
14-amp heat gun, and a 10" by 2000' by 75-G roll of film
all for about $430. 800-858-4131 "National" 800-722-2246
"Inside California".

Programmer's Guide - Copyright 1992 by Nelson Ford & the ASP

8. Compression Software
If you have a large program and/or large documentation files,
you may wish to use compression software to fit everything on
1 (or maybe 2) 360k floppy disks. You can often squeeze twice
as much information on a disk. The drawback is that you may
cause confusion for the end user.
There are two compression systems in wide use by shareware
programmers today; PKZIP and LHARC. PKZIP is produced by Phil
Katz of PKWare and is widely used by Bulletin Board Systems to
reduce download times by compressing the files. LHARC is not
as widespread on BBSs, but is used by many shareware authors
due to no royalty requirement.
The end user confusion is caused when it is necessary to run
either PKUNZIP.EXE or LHA.EXE to uncompress the files. It is
necessary to insure that the user have these programs,
preferably on your distribution disk. Instructing the user
how to extract your files can be difficult and can cause the
user to give up or call you at midnight because they can't get
your shareware installed.
The solution is to use either PKZIP or LHARC to create self-
extracting program files. This method tacks a small
extraction program onto the front of the compressed data.
When the user runs the program, it uses the portion of the EXE
program after the front-end self-extract code as the data to
uncompress. This is a good arrangement as the extraction
program can not be separated from the compressed file. Both
PKZIP and LHARC allow you to include multiple program and data
files within the compressed EXE file.
You will need to contact PKWare to obtain a royalty type
license to use PKWare's self-extraction code on your
distribution disks. LHARC is free as long as the Copyright
notice is displayed by the self-extract module and this is
done automatically when an LHARC self-extracting program is
run. You should also mention the LHARC copyright in your
Both the PKZIP and LHARC software can be obtained from most
disk vendors and BBSs. You can obtain both systems from the
Public (software) Library at 713-524-6394. LHARC is on disk
U1 1862 and PKZIP is on disk U1-1705. Both can be purchased
on one 3.5" 1.44meg disk number U1-7059 which includes several
other compression utilities.


  1. Simply wish to say your article is as amazing.
    The clearness in your post is just great and i could assume you're an expert on this subject.

    Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

    Also visit my page; Garcinia cambogia hca

  2. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit,
    but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

    Feel free to visit my weblog: Power Precision Reviews

  3. Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!

    My web site Pure Cleanse Review

  4. Marvelous, what a blog it is! This weblog provides useful information to us, keep it up.

    My web page ... Muscle factor x Reviews

  5. Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your post. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

    Feel free to visit my weblog: Going Here

  6. Wow, this piece of writing is nice, my sister is analyzing these things, so I am going to inform her.

    Have a look at my web site ... Amino Prime Reviews

  7. Admiring the commitment you putt into your website and detailed
    information you provide. It's great to come across a blog everyy once in a whiole that
    isn't the same unwanted rehashed material.
    Excellent read! I've bookmarked your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds tto
    my Google account.

    Here is my web-site kids create something []

  8. you are really a good webmaster. The web site loading pace
    is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick.
    Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a wonderful task on this topic!

    My web blog ... flashcard cho be

  9. Pretty part of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to claim that I get actually
    enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be
    subscribing to your feeds or even I fulfillment you get entry to constantly quickly.

    Feel free to visit my web site vietnam visa

  10. I visited various blogs but the audio feature for audio songs existing at this website is in fact superb.

    my blog ... natural beauty tips