In December 2020, the book had 343 customers and $5,861 in revenue. 30% of customers got the book for free, and 40% of paying customers used a PPP (Purchase Pricing Parity) code.
Lifetime sales of the book are at $30,828 with 3,442 customers. 1,811 people paid for the book, while 1,632 (47%) got the book for free (developers without a job). Of the sales, I donated $3,500 (or 11%) to 3 different organizations (Hack Your Future, ANAMAKI STEM Academy, Diversify Tech).
265 customers paid for the book, while 79 people (30%) got the book for free (developers out of the job).
Of the 265 paying customers, 107 (40%) used a PPP discount code.
I summarized seven learnings I had while self-publishing a book for some reflections on marketing and sales-related activities.
I did not do any targeted marketing this month. However, a popular article by Simon Holdorf on Dev.to boosted sales: 10 Fantastic Books By Developers For Developers. Simon also launched DevBooks, a site to help discover books written by developers, for developers.
A good amount of traffic to the website - and thus sales - seem to come from the Stack Overflow post on developer resumes I wrote, which is now ranking highly for the "developer resume" search term.
The book grossed $30K a bit before the third month after publishing:
Sales slightly picked up in December, and the book seems to be around the $5K/month revenue, without much marketing activity.
I have plans to update the content next year, but for January and February, I'm more turning my focus to mobile, writing a book on mobile engineering challenges at scale: Building Mobile Apps at Scale
In November, the book had 859 customers and $4,126 in revenue.
220 customers were paid, and 639 got the book for free, the majority coming from a 24-hour "get the book free if you're out of the job" promotion following this tweet.
Of the 220 paying customers, more than half used a discount code: either a PPP code, or a Black Friday one.
I wrote two blog posts during this time that mentioned the book- one on FreeCodeCamp and one one on Stack Overflow -, and appeared on 4 podcasts. It's hard to pin how much sales came from there, but I'd account a good half of the above numbers to them.
7 weeks after the public launch, the book has $25,000 in lifetime sales and 3,100 customers. The bulk of these sales still came in the first two weeks ($15K in the first 15 days).
I consider this milestone especially promising, as the book is - and will be - free for any developer who is out of a job, deliberately limiting its earning potential.
Details on the lifetime earnings:
An interesting thing is how the number of website visitors (the only place to buy the book) and revenue numbers seem to have correlation, likely as the conversion % and the price of the book happens to be at the spot where this multiplier will be roughly $1:
In the month of October, the book grossed $17K in sales from 1,159 customers. Of these sales, 161 were free versions (people out of a job), 688 the book version and 310 bought the complete package.
After Gumroad and payments fees, the net amount was closer to $16K (data visualization via Fullstats.io):
28% of sales were made with a PPP code, from countries with lower income and customers using the displayed code (285 sales).
As the launch sale countdown went to zero, I raised prices by 25%:
I'm unsure how this will impact purchases, but will update here on what I see. PPP is percentage based, so the raise on those markets is not in absolute dollars.
The free developer book for devs without a job is not changing.
The book hit 2,000 customers: more than 1,300 people paid for the book, 500 people were beta readers, and 200 developers without a job.
Since implementing PPP, I'm seeing about 30-40% of purchases take advantage of this. I'll do more research on how much this might add to make the book more affordable to people, but also generate revenue where people otherwise could have / would have not paid.
Sidenote: if you're interested in a PPP as a service, you can indicate your interest here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc-bHLMR3EyqkuzN6S72v__M5PEW8G8KyJpUm4lZlApWBrDjQ/viewform (I might build one!)
Big breath, submit to Hacker News and cross my fingers: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24777640
The Show HN submission made it to the front page of "Show HN", then to HN front page. It stayed there for about 12 hours.
In the 48 hours after submitting to HN, I saw 11.3K visitors, 16K pageviews and 581 sales - this includes about 100 free book requests from developers out of a job.
While on the front page, sales were frequent. There was some time where I'd get a sale multiple times per minute:
A customer from Europe mentioned it feels unfair to have VAT added to the ebook price, as ebooks have zero VAT in their country. They were right: Gumroad didn't handle this well. I made a partial refund to reduce my take, from the price.
I looked at my stats and realized that while I have lots of visitors from worldwide, I see relatively few sales outside the US and Western Europe. I decided to add PPP support for countries where the average income is lower, offering up to 60% in discounts.
I coded this up, and deployed it in a day. Here's how it looks:
There's a lot of advice on resumes on the internet. But none that is tailored for devs, coming from hiring managers and recruiters working at tech companies.
So I wrote this book to fill this gap.