New ways to recommend and discover great writing

We’re taking the first of many steps to support writer collaboration within our product.

One of many things we’ve learned while building Substack is that writers want to connect and collaborate with other writers, and they flourish when they can learn from each other, engage in dialogue, and help one another succeed. But writing is often a solitary pursuit, and independent writers can find themselves working in isolation. 

We believe that being independent shouldn’t mean being alone. Writers are already taking collaboration into their own hands. For example, Anand Giridharadas and Isaac Fitzgerald recently swapped interviews with one another. Seven Substack writers – Casey Newton, Anne Helen Peterson, Ryan Broderick, Charlie Warzel, Delia Cai, Eric Newcomer, Kim Zetter, and Nick Quah – banded together to host a Discord channel for their readers. Bari Weiss has invited other Substack writers, including Katie Herzog, to contribute to her publication.

Now, we’re taking the first of many steps to support writer collaborations within our product with the introduction of three new features: guest posts, replies, and rich intra-Substack embeds

Introducing: Guest posts

Many Substack publications, from Roxane Gay’s The Audacity to Kevin Macguire’s The New Fatherhood, are already featuring guest authors. These collaborations not only encourage the discovery of great writing, but they also support larger conversations on the platform.

To make this cross-pollination more powerful, we’ve improved the tools we offer for guest posting on Substack. This new design shines a brighter spotlight on guest authors. Readers can learn more about the visiting writer – and subscribe to their Substack – through a prominent guest bio at the foot of the post. 

To see how guest posts appear in practice, take a look at Adam Stones’s guest appearance on The New Fatherhood, Leo Luo’s guest post for First 1000, or Alexander Wang and Zichen Wang’s double guest post on Pekingnology.

Read more: How can I add a guest author to a post?

Introducing: Publication and post embeds

We’ve also improved the display of writer-to-writer recommendations on Substack. Now, when you add a link to a Substack publication or post to the Substack editor, it will create a card-style embed.

Writers have already begun to put post embeds to creative use: Slow Boring’s Matthew Yglesias is embedding previous posts to expand on a theme; Li Jin of Li’s Newsletter is adding recommended reading at the end of a post; and Jacklin Kwan of The Mill is promoting a subscriber-only post inside a free one:

Read more: How do I share posts or publications from other writers on my Substack?

Introducing: Post replies*

*Note: We’ve rolled back the “Reply on Substack” feature while we revisit which collaboration tools will be most useful and intuitive to writers.

Finally, we’ve added a new “Reply on Substack” feature. This feature is designed to help writers build on each other’s ideas, forge a correspondence in public, or engage in lengthy debate. When the replier publishes their reply post, it will go out to their readers and the reply will also appear as a comment under the original post for that author to see and read.

We hope you give these new tools a whirl and start exploring the ways you can collaborate with other writers on Substack. As always, please feel free to leave feedback in the comments.