How I reached 200 subscribers for my upcoming book

This post is about a journey from 0 to 200 e-mail subscribers for my upcoming book. As I always enjoyed similar posts by fellow authors and indie hackers, I decided I will document my journey to writing, publishing, and promoting my first book.

I got my first real subscriber on 27 September 2018. It took me exactly 159 days until I reached 100 subscribers on 4 March 2019. It’s said that the first one hundred is the most difficult, but that’s not entirely true here.

As part of my validation I created a simple landing page, posted about the idea on the Ruby subreddit and to this blog. I waited and listened for feedback of the idea.

As you can see below it was a successful post. It actually took me by surprise as it got more upvotes than many of my useful Ruby articles! 92% upvoted. I really really like the Ruby community. That gave me both the confidence to continue and my first subscribers.


The post itself game me over 50 people in 2 days.

On 11 February 2018 I sent my first book update to the 92 subscribers from the book landing page. This was not only a first book update, but a first e-mail campaign I ever sent. 4 people unsubscribed after this. At this time the book was marketed as “VPS for Makers”.

It took me another 334 days to reach 100 more subscribers. Most of my other other subscribers came from my blog although this was not directly measured. My blog enjoyed on average 350+ unique visitors all that time and I put a small corner image link to drive traffic to the book homepage. The book was renamed to “Deployment for Makers”.

You might be interested how I get traffic for this blog since it was the main driver of the traffic. By far the most of the traffic comes from Google searches, but the big spikes of the new posts are generated by Ruby and Elixir subreddits, RubyFlow, Ruby and Elixir newsletters (thank you guys for thinking my articles are valuable to share!).

The book was at last renamed to “Deployment from Scratch”. Also the original landing page (few times tweaked in terms of text) was just redesigned. This should be the last name for the book, but one never knows…

It took 493 days in total to achieve this. That’s roughly 1.35 years. Not an overnight success at all. I sent 3 updates in that time and there were 6 unsubscribers in total.

The next update will go to more than 200 email boxes!

In short:

If you want to continue the backstage journey of my book, follow Deployment from Scratch on Indie Hackers or follow me on Twitter. Drop me a DM if you want me to blog about something specific.


I wrote a complete guide on web application deployment. Ruby with Puma, Python with Gunicorn, NGINX, PostgreSQL, Redis, networking, processes, systemd, backups, and all your usual suspects.

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