Introducing the Substack Bestseller badge
A check mark worth paying attention to
Today we’re introducing a way to see, at just a glance, whether or not someone is a top-performing writer on Substack: Bestseller badges.
A Bestseller badge sits alongside a writer’s byline and is displayed on their Substack profile, ranking them in one of three categories according to how many paid subscribers they have.
Paying readers, not Substack, decide who gets a badge. We don’t give out these badges for subjective reasons and they can’t be bought. They are assigned solely according to how many paid subscribers a writer has on Substack. Upon qualifying for a badge, writers will receive a congratulatory email and can choose whether or not to display their badge.
The badges come in three colors:
Purple: tens of thousands of paid subscribers
Orange: thousands of paid subscribers
White: hundreds of paid subscribers.
While not everyone who starts a publication on Substack does so with the intention of making money, the paid subscription model is one of the differentiating features of this platform. These badges are a celebration of the successes of many hundreds of writers and podcasters’ publishing efforts, and demonstrate that it is very possible to make great money with the Substack model.
We think it’s helpful to highlight the writers who are performing best on Substack in terms of revenue because they can serve as examples for others to follow—from product managerto lawyer and commentator to Instagrammer and former Patreon creator . A Bestseller badge is also an indicator of credibility for those writers who have built a readership that trusts them enough to support them financially. Few things express trust in media better than a paid subscription.
The Bestseller badges are in keeping with our efforts to build a new media ecosystem based on respecting, rather than exploiting, people’s attention. We want to build a system that rewards deep relationships over viral content, and one that puts writers and readers in charge. This initiative fits with the same philosophy that led us to build other features—such as leaderboards and recommendations blurbs—that similarly help writers grow their readerships and revenue while retaining control over their own media empires.
As ever, we are grateful for any feedback, which you can leave in the comments section of this post.
Lots more to come!
Learn more about the Bestseller badges in our Support Center.