A letter to writers

We started Substack because we believe that what you read matters and good writing is valuable. We believe that writers, bloggers, thinkers, and creatives of every background should be able to pursue the meaningful work they love, generating ample income directly from their own audiences and on their own terms.

During the current global crisis, we’ve been awed by the output of writers on Substack, and the response and support from their readers. It’s clear to us that people are looking to writers not only for urgent and accurate reporting on the economy, politics, local news, and COVID-19 itself, but also for guidance, leadership, humor, and the creation of spaces for meaningful discourse and camaraderie.

Unfortunately, we also know that writers and creatives are among the hardest hit by the economic downturn and are experiencing decreasing job opportunities, canceled projects, and pay cuts. Yet while advertising budgets get slashed, we’re finding that readers are eager to directly support the creators they care about, because they believe, like we do, that journalism and the arts are more necessary than ever.

We also want to offer a few small ways we can help.

First, we are donating $100,000 in grants to independent writers who are experiencing economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Grants will range from $500 up to $5,000 in cash, and recipients will also receive digital mentorship from the Substack team focused on best practices and insights to help grow their publications. These grants are designed to be quick, supplemental payments to writers, and there are no strings attached. We’re accepting applications starting today, Tuesday, March 31 through Tuesday, April 7. You can read more about the program and apply here

Second, we're going to drop Substack's cut of subscription revenue for publications that are donating their earnings to the fight against COVID-19, whether that’s charities, non-profits, or businesses that have been directly impacted. If you’re donating some or all of your revenue, please reach out to covid@substackinc.com for more information, and we will waive our 10% fee for one month, which can be renewed up to three months. 

Finally, we’re updating the subscription page of all Substack publications so writers can personally customize their subscription offerings to better suit their needs and their readers’ needs. We’re also adding the ability for writers to customize a “super supporters” subscription level, which is a way for generous readers to pay more than an annual subscription price, at any price they desire, to support that writer’s work. We’ve also made it easier for readers to give gift subscriptions. We’ll be releasing these updates throughout the week.

This is just the first step. We hope to find more ways to support writers in the coming weeks and months. Thanks for publishing on Substack and showing up for us and for each other during this time.

The Substack team