Why writers are making their home on Substack
Notes from writers meeting on the (virtual) road and join our finale!
This March, Substack writers joined a virtual tour to connect with other writers exploring similar topics. Across finance, food, music, sports, comics, parenting, and more, the category tour brought to life the diversity of writers publishing on Substack. It was a reminder, in the words of music and parenting writer Lail Arad, that “everybody’s hustling”.
Here, 18 writers who joined the tour share what writing on Substack means to them, with illustrations from Jo Petroni.
“Substack was my new year's resolution. I was craving a more intimate and immediate outlet. My third album is coming out soon, which is exciting, but requires patience. Sharing new work every Sunday morning is a rewarding challenge. Whether it’s new songs, extracts from my novel-in-progress, or just some foggy notions, it’s allowed me to be less precious and more playful. And after two years without touring, the feedback and encouragement from subscribers feels very special.”—Lail Arad of Foggy Notions
“We've not only been able to build an amazing platform from which we can tell our story, but that we've been able to successfully monetize our writing in a way that we simply hadn't before. Writing on Substack has literally meant everything career wise.”—Michael Jensen of Brent and Michael Are Going Places
Check out the other writers who met at stop #2: writing about culture, music, and travel.
“I am a retired Goldman Sachs partner and equity research analyst. Writing Super-Spiked has been transformational in bringing me back to a more public role at a critical time for energy & climate policy.”—Arjun Murti of Super-Spiked
Check out the other writers who met at stop #3: business, finance, crypto, and tech.
“My Substack started on a whim. I'm an academic historian and former professor who has spent many years doing outreach in schools, especially in the Deep South. Non-Boring History became a fantastic way to connect with readers, other writers, and history professionals while platforming and celebrating the important work of colleagues. Plus, I have an adult audience of people who don't normally get into history at all at a time when the humanities are under attack.”—Annette Laing of Non-Boring History
“Substack has transformed my writing by giving me a medium, a community, and an audience — three things I needed to help me improve my craft and grow as a person.”
Check out the other writers who met at stop #4: literature, fiction, philosophy, and history.
“Substack enables me to ground my reporting in my lived experience—not the motives of corporate ad-supported business executives—and write to a readership in a personal voice that humanizes topics that can often feel obscure to them.”—Michael Jones of Supercreator
“Substack has allowed me to be able to build #WomenLead into what it is today without having to worry about anything except the writing and research. With little expertise and time for getting into the tech and design bit, I am still able to build a very professional and elegant home for my writing, and all of it takes next to no time to execute. Plus the Substack community - both the team and others who write here - have provided the space for me to grow, and it's never felt like I am alone on this journey.”— Akshi of #WomenLead
“I moved to Germany a year ago, which made following the NBA and talking about it with friends pretty difficult. Starting this Substack really helped me stay engaged with my favorite sport and team, and helped me make relationships with other writers I have a lot of respect for.”— Trace Ronning of Fiesta Shorts
“Substack enables me to write to a readership in a personal voice that humanizes topics that can often feel obscure to them.”
Check out the other writers who met at stop #5: news, science, sports, and climate.
“I write love letters to plant-based food on Substack. This not only helps me create a virtual time capsule of what I’m cooking and eating right now, but it also helps me connect with other food writers. It’s great to hear about friends on the other side of the world using the recipes that I hold so dear to my heart, and enjoying the process of it, feeling closer to me.”—Arielle Joss of no frills vegan
“I have a ten-year journalism career under my belt, and having the opportunity now to fully discover my own voice on Substack has been an invaluable experience. I'm inspired by the amount of diversity on this platform, especially the seeming proliferation of women and female-identifying voices. The future looks bright.”—Chloe Riley of The ALIVE hour
“It surprised me. Not only that people will pay in dollars and minutes to read what I write, but that there’s a profound fellowship to be had with other writers on the platform.”—Coleen Baik of The Line Between
Check out the other writers who met at stop #6: comics, art & illustration, and food & drink.
“Writing on Substack gave me tremendous confidence as a creator. I can reliably sit down to an empty page and simply begin, trusting that something good will come of it, that there are people who seek out and benefit from my work. I can show up for them and myself. Writing for Substack has also proven that I can sustain my attention on a single topic long enough to tackle bigger projects, which has led to me finally embarking on a book.”—Asha Sanaker of Let Your Life Speak
Check out the other writers who met at stop #7: parenting, education, and faith.
A special Shoutout Thread
As the finale to the category tour, we will be hosting a special Shoutout Thread on Zoom this Thursday.
Every month we host a Shoutout Thread for writers on Substack as a chance for the broader writer community to celebrate what we’ve been reading and inspired by on Substack.
This week, a handful of writers are invited to take the virtual stage to share what they are writing and reading on Substack. Plus, we’ll open breakout rooms to connect writers together and preview a new feature that allows you to recommend your favorite Substacks.
Announcing: New leaderboard categories
We know there are many different unique topics and their intersection which you are covering. We will continue to listen and keep our eyes on the categories bubbling up among writers on Substack.