My Substack stats

Many people are secretive about their Substack numbers, but the whole point of Zero Credibility is to write about topics others stay away from. Today I want to share this newsletter's metrics to give you a realistic sense of what's possible to achieve on the platform.

I started writing on Substack a little under four months ago. The first post was Go-to-market strategy for engineers, which I published on Sep 18, 2020. As of the time of this writing there are 166 paid subscribers which contribute to gross annualized revenue of $20,332. Special thanks to all you 166 folks who are supporting Zero Credibility financially!

Here is an all time graph of paid subscribers:

And an all time graph of gross annualized revenue:

The open rate hovers between ~48% and 58%. The total e-mail list has 3,868 emails (thanks to all you folks for your time reading my posts). Here is an all time graph of total newsletter subscribers:

I do two things to let people know about the newsletter. First, I post every article I write on Twitter (13,192 followers as of the time of this writing). I try to go for descriptive titles and short tweets. I do little to no optimization for virality, other than what I do unwittingly because Twitter's algorithms trained me to.

Second, a few weeks ago Twitter sent me an email informing me that there was an investigation of my account because people complained about the tweets. There were enough complaints that it crossed their threshold for account investigations, though I have no idea what that threshold is. The investigation didn't go anywhere, and I don't think the future ones will either. But I did want to be prepared for the tail risk of getting kicked off.

As a response to the investigation, I started following this protocol for exiting Twitter. I wrote a bot to slowly DM about Zero Credibility to all my Twitter followers. That did increase the growth— you can see an uptick starting Nov 30th and ending Dec 30th. That's when I stopped the bot so I could get information about its efficacy for this post. I used a CLI Twitter client to download all the followers and send DMs, and then stitched it together with a few shell scripts to rate limit the DMs to avoid Twitter's detectors.

I'd love to give you more data, but Substack doesn't offer any more analytics. I started this newsletter to force myself to write a post a week. I thought the best way to do that would be to have paying users because it would guilt me into writing consistently. For now the only other data point I can offer is a confirmation that this strategy works.