Rob Henderson is a faculty fellow at University of Austin who says Substack is a primary source of income and a testing ground for ideas and his forthcoming book
But Rob didn't start on Substack. He moved to substack when the they paid him to join. Just like they did with Scott Alexander. You own your biz model but don't rob this silly narrative in our faces. All said, I love what substack represents for indie publishers and happy Rob is able to make income off his ideas.
as someone who has made millions selling courses i wondered if my “all in” approach to becoming a writer on substack could ever have a chance to have a similar success arc. this post was really motivating and gives me hope that it is at least possible to be full-time here. i am burnt out doing video creation and just have loved writing lately. i really want this to work. thank you for being open and honest about your numbers. more people need to do this.
More evidence that you cannot really build an audience within SubStack, you need to already be known and have a huge following🤦🏽♂️
Rob, thank you for your honest answers to the questions that interest us. It was interesting to read about your childhood, you definitely have an interesting life to write a book about (I think so). Also, to learn about your journey on Substack and how you approached it, Thanks for sharing the basic principles of success in your opinion.
And a couple of questions:
Did you originally plan for writing on Substack to be your primary income? Was that what you were aiming for, or was it not a top priority for you?
What I take from this and some comments here is that, as Jubei said below, you can’t build a readership here. But Rob says it’s important to be consistent and this is something for me to pay attention to because I am anything but consistent. I am more self-educated and as such, I don’t have the academic credentials to utilize. I am fascinated by behavior and what makes people gravitate to known personalities or should I say, why one becomes a shepherd or the sheep. I never fully understood Twitter when everyone was supposed to follow someone and I’m not a follower. So that was an exercise in frustration or I just didn’t get it. And how we are all affected by all media. I’m partially self-removed from social media and cable TV but I notice how most people now have shorter attention spans. The behavior of animals, of which we are one, also stimulates my thought processes. I will work on being consistent. I’m a singer/songwriter and I don’t feel the need to write often simply because my older folk/indie style is no longer in demand. Cheers.
Great spotlight. Rob is an amazing writer and was a big inspiration for me to start a Substack. His articles always have something that surprises me. Awesome newsletter to learn from.
Very interesting ~ subscribed (free) and am looking forward to reading more💕🙏🏻💕
Consistency in publishing & listening , then doubling down on the signals.
Thanks Rob for sharing
Love hearing from an academic writer on the Grow series!
Really appreciate the straightforward, simple advice. Stay steady, is essentially the message. No 'hustle-bro' antics. :)
This seems very admirable. I’m currently a PhD graduate student. My substack was meant for other graduate students, but grad school admission seekers floored my email list when I announced on LinkedIn. The demand for funded graduate schools admission becomes so much such that my major audience is not admission and funding seekers. I publish twice a week, and even host two webinars a month to assist as many as I could.
Hence, to gather for my initial audience which I could easily benefit from, I created a second publication. I haven’t posted there yet, but recommended it for people who signed up for my major newsletter. In just two weeks free subscription has approached 100. I want to start posting there every two weeks based on my schedule but provide very useful information for graduate students.
How do I avoid burnout for a year, so far I’m able to combine with other things but is every other week a good strategy and does anyone have someone doing that, would want to learn.
Here are my two newsletters:
1. For graduate school admission seekers: https://gradinterface.substack.com/
2. For graduate students: https://gradschoolhacks.substack.com/
Rob is a legend. The orange to white check jump is the toughest. Great to see substack featuring more emerging writers!
Okay. Write regularly. Be yourself.
Got it. Done.
Then what? Because those things aren't enough to build a dedicated bunch of readers.
I'd like to know how people promote or get people to pay attention to their Substack?
I think it definitely helps to already have an established audience. I suppose we can all get there by being consistent and making connections with other large accounts, established media and personalities.
LOL - thanks for sending me the email promoting Henderson - it's an excellent reminder that the University of Austin is a right-wing reactionary home for people who hawk sociobiology and race pseudoscience like Quillette author Rob Henderson.
But let's cut to the chase - how many Thielbucks are invested in Substack?