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DevConcepts book journey - Kickstart

Hello there!

Sébastien Dubois here, an entrepreneur/developer/author from Belgium. I've been building stuff in public for a long time (mainly through open-source IT projects), but I've grown more and more interested in the Indie Hackers community.

So here goes, I'll be sharing the progress of my latest book project: Dev Concepts. I have tons to learn about marketing in general, so I'm probably going to do huge mistakes ;-)

Since childhood, I've always been passionate about IT and software development.

After wearing many hats in the IT world over the last 15 years, I've founded my own IT consulting firm: DeveloPassion. It's been a fun ride so far. Through that activity, I'm experimenting with various ideas to create new revenue streams.

Last year, I wrote a book about the TypeScript programming language (published by Packt Publishing), which was a long and exhausting project, but which taught me quite a lot about the publishing world.

More and more in recent years, I've been wanting to share my knowledge and ideas, which is why I started blogging more regularly (https://dsebastien.medium.com). When I saw my MRR go up and up, it got me wondering about starting a new book project.

More recently, I've started doing 1:1 coaching sessions, which has been a blast. Through those sessions, I've found myself repeating the same explanations over and over, about concepts that I believe to be so important, but often seem to be left out in schools.

This motivated me even more to write a new book about software craftsmanship, software development concepts, and how software fits in the bigger picture (solution, architecture, infrastructure, security, etc).

Right now I'm in the starting blocks and this time, I want to start with the marketing side rather than with writing. This is why I've been working on two things so far:

Details about those so far:

I've created the pre-order page on Gumroad; For it, I've created the book cover using Canva (https://www.canva.com/) and created a 3D book representation using Photoshop and awesome templates that I've found on Covervault (https://covervault.com/). Then I've created a cover image with the recommended size (https://help.gumroad.com/article/60-adding-a-cover-image).

At that point, I've prepared the bare minimum to explain what the project is about:

  • A few sentences
  • The key features of the future book
  • A description of what the book will contain
  • The outline (not ready yet!)
  • The intended audience
  • Some info about myself

I've imagined 3 different tiers: digital copy, digital copy + early access preview, and a third one that adds an hour of 1:1 coaching.

I've set the price rather arbitrarily, but maybe I need to think about it some more / compare with other similar products...

For the landing page, I initially wanted to use Mailchimp, but realized that I was stuck with my current subscription (couldn't create new audiences), so I instead gave HubSpot a try, but didn't like their landing page templates all that much.

Since the book is about software development, I thought about creating my own landing page instead using static site engines like eleventy or Gatsby.

So I've ordered the domain name, create the project on Github (https://github.com/DeveloPassion/dev-concepts-website) and started hacking using Gatsby, React and Tailwind. I've spent much more time than I should have on that part (about 6-7 evenings), but reached a pretty satisfying result, even though I'm clearly no designer ;-)

I've had trouble integrating a form from HubSpot (cannot easily be customized when embedded on their free tier), so I've switched to ConvertKit (https://convertkit.com/), for which the form integration was a breeze.

My landing page is responsive (thanks to Tailwind and quite some CSS tweaking), has a bit of geekery, a Content Security Policy (always nice to have), HTTPS thanks to CloudFlare that I've put in front, is hosted on Netlify (automated thanks to their Github integration and the npm build) and thus updated each time I commit/push on the repository.

I've also added various SEO metadata to the page and reached a good Lightouse performance score (97), which I could improve by deploying a service worker (but hesitate because of potential traps there).

Content-wise, the landing page includes multiple links towards the pre-order page, key messages on top accompanied with the release date, a countdown, the newsletter subscription form, and again some information about the project.

Finally, I've submitted the site & sitemap.xml to Google Search Console and Bing and published posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, reshared also with my company's profiles. I also plan on publishing a post on Medium and on my newsletter to share the news.

I'm thinking about paying for some ads, but I don't know when it will be best to do so.

So that's where I am today. I've put an arbitrary deadline in front of me, but I should be able to keep it. Next step is to create the project, the draft outline... and start writing ;-)

If you have ideas/advice, please don't hesitate, it'll be greatly appreciated! ;-)

  1. 1

    After posting, I've modified the pre-order tiers on Gumroad to add an early-bird offer, so that the first customers do get a reduced price. I've limited that to the first 100 customers of each tier and not based on some deadline.

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