The only thing that reliably cheats the system for anyone is having a lot of money to begin with. The investment has your product stand out both in quality and bought advertisement/spotlight placement. That or having personal contacts to who matters, but those guys probably are drowning in sleazy friend-wanna-be-requests everyday.
We should define what "success" means anyway. The real problem is that expectations are completely bonkers. I don't believe in finding that cheesy trick to the system, but I don't believe there is nothing you can do either. I would guess even the mobile market is segmented, in casuals that don't really care, and gamers that want a real deal. Competing in something more serious shrinks your possible audience considerably, sure, but you can plan with it, and it might be just enough; what worth is mega-potential if you can't plan with it, because you don't have the spotlight-money nor personal contacts or flimsiest of luck.
And that means having the serious attitude, like in any other market, to build up yourself and a reliable audience, that depends on you for something better than usual as you depend on them for a reasonable living. The indie game aficionado market is multi-platform, that includes mobile, There are plenty people that want something serious to play on their phones instead of carrying around a Nintendo too. There are devs that serve that market and can live on it normally, including crowd-funded projects. The cooler your thing, the less effort you have convincing others to spread the word. The way communication works is, telling other people about something cool, makes you cool. So they are looking out for that.
That's what you gotta eventually learn to deliver, if you want to make this a real dev job instead of a lottery surrogate. It's a decision for commitment long-term. And the actual purpose of the free-little-app-with-advertisement market is to learn the trade, learn making games, getting experience, it's a studious playground, and the real misconception is seeing it as anything else.
Well, that's how I see it anyway. but who am I to talk. x_X
Wut ohne Ziel. Wut ohne Folgen.