311 Comments

“If you’re a new writer without a pre-existing audience, how can you break out?” Really excited about this particular focus!!!

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Sep 14, 2023·edited Sep 14, 2023Liked by Hamish McKenzie

Substack has changed my life and my career, and I can't wait to see what it does for other writers.

I've been a full-time professional writer for 15 years, and I've always loved my job. I just accepted that I had to work for my clients, and couldn't ever be fully independent.

My little feminist side project on Facebook got tons of attention, but the money all went to Facebook--and I regularly got put in Facebook jail for such crimes as calling my pet ducks assholes or saying that my dog had covered the house in mud.

I started posting to Substack on a lark, hoping to make some extra cash. I also needed a backup plan for what felt like the inevitable: that Facebook's bots would flag my content so often that I eventually got banned.

Nine months ago, I decided to start posting regularly and take Substack seriously. I'm now my own biggest client, and if my growth trajectory continues, by January I will have completely replaced my old freelance income with Substack.

It's pretty awesome.

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"You’re going to notice some changes." is a n ominous af phrase that's only ever been used by either a) someone who just gave you a hero dose of lsd or b) parents getting you ready for a divorce PLZ LET THIS BE A BIG DOSE OF PSYCHEDELICS TYSM

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Can you clarify this, because I’ve never heard it before: “exceptional writing, considered argument, and robust debate—the key factors, as we have learned in six years here, that drive subscriptions.”

Exceptional writing I totally get. Do you have data to suggest arguments and debating increase subscriptions? What do those kinds of posts look like? Thanks!

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Hell yes. I've been an author for nearly twenty years and just started a Substack after seeing just how refreshing and committed the space is to help *both* readers and writers grow together. The online space can be amazing, but it can also do such a number on our creative minds and spirits -- I'm so eager to see how everything continues to unfold! Thank you for what you're doing and I'm stoked to be part of the Substack family now!

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As a writer (essays on poetry) I am not interested in payment, just readership. So I appreciate having the “free” option. As a reader, I would like to be a paying subscriber to more writers, but I am frustrated by the payment choices. At a minimum of $60/year a pop, I can’t afford too many subscriptions. So I pay for a few but mostly am doomed to be a freeloader. I still subscribe to newspapers and magazines, so my budget for reading material is strained. Could there be a “customize pay” option? Is it possible that some Substack writers would be willing to accept a lesser, customized amount? I wish I could spread my money around to more of the writers whose work I admire.

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I’m starting from literally zero, so can’t wait for further content on breaking out

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Another way of driving subscriptions is to cite each others' work in our own, especially if we're popular. My subscribership increased fourfold because of a mention on another popular Substack.

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Thank you a lot for this. I really like Substack the product, but it leaves me feeling like I still have to go “do social media stuff” after I write a post. Would be fantastic if I could skip that part and just focus on writing...

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I’ve tried other platforms geared towards writers but I’ve never felt a community quite like what’s been created here on Substack.

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Substack would be more appropriately titled SubstanceStack since it is the caliber and depth of its substance that sets it apart from the swill being peddled on social media platforms.

As I wrote in response to your Note, Hamish, where you ask, “How would you describe Substack to a friend who’s unfamiliar with Substack?”

“Substack is where writers and readers converge to educate the mind, elevate the conversation, and edify the soul.” (https://substack.com/profile/3567-hamish-mckenzie/note/c-15222816)

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LET'S GO FOR IT!!!

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I'm excited because I need the discoverability since I write about wrestling. But I'm also cautious. I hope this feature rolling out in the next months boosts readerships for the smaller newsletters & shifts the balance between extremely big, big, medium, and small writers who all give different perspectives about their passions and not just: what's trendy!!!!

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Substack has designed a beautiful home for us writers. Our voices were shrinking. Algorithms were slowly replacing us. You had to be a brand first before being a human being. You had to play to the tune of the traditional media. In short, we were half dead writing and our creativity was sunsetting for good. But, thanks Substack for rebirthing us, reviving our shattered voices, candling our light again, and giving us tools that we wouldn't have afford. From Africa, I am more than happy to write my heart out here. Asante

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in terms of the Substack community lifting each other up

I run a Twitter groupchat called "Substackers" where we share our work and discuss writing, marketing, publishing, etc.

Feel free to DM me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/realChrisBrunet) and I will add you. The groupchat is non-political.

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You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.

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