Have questions about publishing, growing, or going paid on Substack?
The Substack team, and your fellow writers, are here to help!
We’re gathering the writer community and members of the Substack team together in this discussion thread to answer writer questions for an hour. Drop your questions in the thread by leaving a comment, and we’ll do our best to share knowledge and tips.
Our team will be answering questions and sharing insights with you in the thread today from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. PDT / 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. EDT. We encourage writers to stick around after the hour and continue the conversation together.
Some updates and reminders from the Substack team:
In case you missed it: We published a Grow interview with Carissa Potter, who writes Bad at Keeping Secrets. Carissa shares insights on setting a deadline and collaboration.
Milestones: Katie Hawkins-Gaar celebrates four years on Substack with a post outlining the origin of My Sweet Dumb Brain. The Pragmatic Engineer turns one and Gergely Orosz commemorates the milestone with a post sharing the strategy that brought the newsletter to #1 in Technology on Substack. Who else celebrated a Substack anniversary recently? Let us know in the thread!
The Substack Android app is almost here! Join our Android waitlist to get the app first.
Got questions about Substack or feedback about what’s new? You’re in the right place! Leave a comment in this thread.We’ll host Office Hours again next week at the same time and place. Save it to your calendar so you don’t miss it.
Who's celebrating a milestone this week?
Just taking a moment to wish everyone well on their writing and publishing adventures! Even when times seem tough, let's keep pushing forward, writing and publishing the best material we can and CARRY ON!
Hello! I'm grateful for the constant improvements. I recently crossed two years and am at 428 newsletters and podcasts. I've reestablished myself as a driving media force in my community, and I'm fending off suitors who want to hire me. Thanks to the revenue I get from Substack, I'm able to fend them off and imagine how I can stay in control of my work and what I want to write about. I'm approaching 1,600 subscribers and nearly 450 pay!
Thanks, Substack folks! You're helping me realize my dream and I'm enormously grateful.
Substack love the new email notifications that list the source of the subscription!
I’m celebrating passing 100 subscribers this month so feeling very good about that.
As a bit of inspiration and a sign of what can happen: Doug, the writer of Snack Stack, was recently approached by Smithsonian Magazine who asked if they could republish some of his newsletters (!!!): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-contentious-history-of-official-state-foods-180980660/
So, you never know just how much your work is valued, despite being "just" a newsletter. You never know.
And re. anniversaries, I recently celebrated a really meaningful "I'm now where I thought I would be at the end of next year and how on earth did THAT happen" milestone with the only word I could come up with: https://everythingisamazing.substack.com/p/bananas What a crazy journey.
I recently signed up for a new newsletter on Substack. After signing up, the next page asked me to "invite my friends" to subscribe by entering their email addresses. This is on top of the recommendations page and the share on social page.
The idea of inviting friends after just subscribing feels really off. It's one thing to give up my email address, but giving up my friends' email address after just subscribing for the first time feels gross. And then to have it as one more page in this already very long sign-up experience -- it just feels like Substack is globbing everything onto this one action when you could be giving us better tools to share recommendations, ask for social shares, and a proper referal system that rewards people for sharing the newsletter.
Today I released my first special issue from a band who shared with me an exclusive look (or ear) at their new single releasing tomorrow!
It’s the first time I’ve been contacted to share something as a preview in my newsletter which makes me proud of it! I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from all of you since last month and I wonder how some of you found partnership with people or companies! One of my subscribers DMed me to say that a lot of people are doing it, but I’ve never found anything on where to start! Thanks for your feedback!
I'm receiving way too many "teaser" emails. I can't pay for every newsletter, so I am trying to read the free stuff for awhile and subscribe to the ones that really resonate with me. I want to only get the free emails until I decide to pay, because I am trying to reduce the noise in my inbox. (and it is just frustrating to read part and get to that paywall). Right now my only option is to unsubscribe or ask the person to reconsider their practices (which usually doesn't go over well). please allow subscribers ways to control what content we receive.
It feels pushy to me to sign up for a (supposedly) free newsletter and then immediately be bombarded with requests to upgrade my subscription. Is the platform about community OR is it about money? Monetizing everything definitely impacts the community vibe. I am all about people getting paid. I want to support newsletters (even if I can only afford to support a few). But I am also about having choice as a reader and being able to set boundaries around my personal space/inbox. Most businesses allow you to opt in/out for different types of emails. I should be able to opt out of all marketing/teaser emails. Thank you for considering this.
Hello writers! Here's a little bit of encouragement from one small newsletter to all of you: when I feel stuck or like I'm spinning my wheels, I like to turn to the things or people that inspire me. So I'm curious, share with us: what or who inspires you? What keeps you going? Need some inspiration? Let us know below, and let's lift each other up! Remember: never ever give up! 🌿
Is there a way to create subscription tiers, so that someone could subscribe to my podcast for $3 a month, for example, and subscribe to all of my content for $7 a month?
Just want to add a quick note of gratitude and recognition for this hosted thread. In the beginning, I was skeptical of how well a comment thread could facilitate conversation and connection. Now I know- quite well, actually. A tribute to Substack and all the writers who show up here. I look forward to this camaraderie and celebration each week.
Just wanted to say, I've been on Substack since the end of January. I've used other email providers for about 5+ years prior to putting my newsletter here. Here we are about 9 months later, and I still think it was one of the best decisions. I absolutely love this community. I've read so much good writing, and met so many cool people.
Check out my newsletter - I'd love folks to comment on posts, ask me guitar questions and more!
My milestone today is 18 months with Substack, 86 written
articles, and 220 subscribers. A dream coming true!
Can Substack introduce author to author direct messaging please? There is no other good way to pitch other authors and I don’t think it’s appropriate to pitch them in their comments even if you paid to subscribe.
Is there any chance you could introduce text wrapping for images? It would be lovely to sit images in a particular place in your 'stack, and have the text adjacent, and tailor comments to the image.
Word even allows you to do this now!
It would allow a nice way of addressing/introducing the image directly, and perhaps even reduce the amount of scrolling that a reader might do.
Just to say, I finally took the advice given by several people on here in weeks past and disabled the 'unsubscribe' option. There weren't too many of those, but each one felt like a kick in the teeth. For all I know, I might not have ANY subscribers now, but I'm happy!
I have a question for Substack writers out there!
Does anyone have a style guide/ editorial checklist they use before they hit Publish? I'm contemplating making one for myself to up my QC game, I'm curious if anyone has something that has helped them, or at least an attitude to quality control.
I guess--any editing tips? Would love to hear what everyone does! Thank you!
Any news on the Android app ?
(sorry, I know you get this all the time)
For a milestone, I'm "this" close to hitting 500 subscribers. I'm aiming to clear that mark by this weekend. I know we're not supposed to put much stock in those sorts of metrics, but I gotta say it feels pretty good to have your work validated like that.
Offers to collaborate also are increasing, which I appreciate and enjoy.
Lastly, I'm getting a LOT more engagement on my newsletters, specifically people emailing and sharing a story/memory/whatever about the song or record I shared that day. That's like catnip for me. Seeing those increase is a milestone & victory both.
Wanted to introduce myself as the newbie substack author! I started 4 months back & share my musings on the state of workplace & how we can make it better https://futurexwork.substack.com/
I hit my first 1K subscribers last week & beyond thrilled to be part of this awesome bunch of writers!
Huge shoutout to my fellow substack friend Shaun Gold for pushing me to start my substack journey
P.S. @Substack Team: I would love to be able to tag or @ folks- especially in threads like these with so much engagement and interaction. Might help focus and contain the mini conversations that happen within the larger group, as well possibly narrow down the notifications we get?
A little over 1 month in--over 100 total subscribers, and over 25 paid! A tight but loyal group. I also just sent out my first poll/survey. Though I usually have between %60-70 open their newsletter each week, I am having trouble getting them to leave comments. They are apparently a bit shy of engaging.
Also does anyone use their substack in the following way: publish several articles to the website alone, and then send an email with links to all the new articles? So far I have only been able to write one article a week and I email it out to everyone each Tuesday, but I could foresee wanting to write more frequently but not interrupt the weekly nature of the email to subscribers. Thoughts?
So excited that the Android app is coming! That will make reading pieces and some of my publishing work so much easier!
Network among your heroes.
I began offering paid subscriptions soon after I started my account. One piece of advice I would offer is to be mindful of what you offer paid subscribers. In an attempt to bring more people in, I offered things I wouldn't be able to sustain. People want to support your writing, but it's also important to be sure that you're not so pressed for a dollar that you burn yourself out in the process or are unable to offer them what you've promised.
Any SEO improvements coming down the line? Meta tags and descriptions? Thanks!
3 months of writing bliss on Substack. Over 35 posts. Onward and upward! 😊🙏
The most influential teacher of my life was my high school English teacher, Mr. Pollack. His impact on my writing life has been monumental. This week I called him say thank you. It was the most gratifying conversation that I've had in a long time. He recently retired from 56 years of teaching and he let me know the extent that teaching has given his life deep meaning and purpose.
If you have a teacher that has had an impact on your writing, I highly recommend calling them to let them know. I look forward to interviewing Mr. Polllack for an upcoming Substack.
I had a major blog attached to King's College London reach out to me via my Substack to write a post. You can see it here. https://www.inspirethemind.org/blog/youtopian-journey
If you keep writing, good things will happen, trust me!
I hit one month this weekend! 9 paid subscribers and 70 free which may be peanuts but I am so proud
Hello writers! I need to revamp my welcome emails for free and paid subscribers. I'm curious what folks are including in theirs. Anything that is a "must have"? Anything to avoid? Thank Youuuuuu!!
Good morning from Portland, OR!🌲 Currently struggling with keeping up my writing. I know the advice is just keep being consistent, but anyone have advice for those downswings?
I would like to add something asking for donations, I’ve noticed other writers have done so tastefully. When I clicked on the link to going paid there was another link to putting a link in ( I did not understand that ) and so I went no further ). If I was to or the question is 1) if I was to ask for donations 2) where can people donate to? Venmo? I’m stumped there, too. 3) I saw one writer did the buy me a coffee thing so would the link go to that app? This is where I am confused. I think I’m ready to ask for donations. I know I could use the income to support my continued writing but I also know I’m not ready to ask for paid subscriptions because I do not have that many subscribers and I do not want to deter people from subscribing. I’m beginning to add different content and that is what is important, showing the versatility of my writing. Thank you for any advice. 🙏🏻
In two days, I'll hit my 4 month anniversary on Substack. I've had fun writing and coming up with stories. It's been a blast! Finally, people are seeing my writing.
I published my first chapter of the memoir I’m working on this morning! It’s taken a lot for me to share my work publicly, so that’s a feat in and of itself. It’s also been fun to get emails from those who read who want to further interact with the content!
180 total visits August 28th. Shadow in Light has only been around a couple of months.
Hello! What a nice community with many interesting questions! Your accomplishments are an awesome source of inspiration.
I'm fairly new on Substack, and just a few days ago I started a newsletter about creativity and inspiration. I'm sharing what creative people do when they want to feel inspired. I'm starting with people I admire, so I'm still contacting people and gathering information.
My question is: is there an option to create a template for the newsletter?
Complete newbie here: started my substack (https://piecesbyleila.substack.com/) last month. Of course, the main initial surge of my subscribers came from friends, family and peers. I am curious to know from substackers who started their newsletters without a previous following/community: how did you grow your newsletter?
And hello everyone, these threads are very informative!
I am about 3 months into my newsletter writing career and it’s been good work. I know I can definitely improve the quality of my writing and the growth I’m aiming for is still a ways.
Despite that, I’m glad to have started. I actually want to thank Mark Dykeman for his shoutout about my newsletter, Tim Denning for kicking my butt into writing online, and Gurwinder for beong so cool.
My only questions are:
When do you know it’s time to open up a paid subscription section for your readers?
What is the best way to grow organically in on the Substack app?
I apologize in advance that if these are silly questions. I’m like super new to all of this stuff.
Thank you all for becoming epic writers. Your consistency has been a fuel to my fire.
Hello. I'm looking to cease publication of my print magazine and move it to Substack. I love the format and the ability to use multiple authors, and the magazine layout would seem to lend itself to this transition. I will likely offer all content free for the first year just to simplify moving paid subscribers from the print edition to the Substack. I'm excited, but just wondered if anyone had any advice or suggestions or things I might not be thinking of. It appears some other magazines are using Substack as well?
Hey, stackers! Question here for the admins. I’m planning to launch a second newsletter and I’m wondering if I’m bound by the same pricing structure as my original, or if I can switch it up? ￼
Unfortunately no Substack milestone today, BUT my oldest child (my baby girl!) went to preschool for the first time today! She was almost as nervous as I was, but came running out with a smile on her face a few hours later!
She is braver than I ever was!
Hi all -
Anyone run competitions on Substack? I do a monthly writing course and competition - this month's theme is Links - I'd be grateful for any advice / pointers on how to get more entries / subscribers / interest / shares ... Thanks all -
This morning, I received my third recommendation for Chuck Palahniuk's “plot spoiler newsletter”, as well as other recommendations throughout the week for Substack's lesser known writers of choice (all wonderful and talented people I’m sure), none of whom I'm familiar with.
Personally, I’m sick of seeing these promotions of "my betters”—or will be, until my own Substack, “The Horror Artist'' (where I’m currently installing the fifteenth chapter of my rough draft for my sleazy and anarchic horror novel, “The Flesh Farmers'') pops up as a recommendation in my gmail-I just offhandedly promoted Chuck, figured I'd dip in myself.
Sounds like sour grapes and jealous envy? Sure, there's that. There’s always that. But it's also annoying as hell to see the elected cream of the Substack crop elevated to thousands of subscribers and fellow (and she-fellow) writers, while I struggle to draw a half dozen. I understand that Substack prefers niceness-writers over naughtiness-writers, but I’ve gotta make my plea nonetheless, so continuing…
It gives those of us working to attain a following the feeling that cheap seat fliers get while sitting on an American airlines flight, pre take off, as the stewardess, speaking into the intercom, tells the passengers about all the perks that the people sitting in the front of the plane are enjoying, that you, the third-rater, will not be enjoying.
I didn’t used to find Palahniuk annoying (I enjoyed that boxing movie of his starring our dearly departed Meatloaf), but now, having him pushed on me repeatedly over the last few weeks, he's beginning to bug me. Sorry, Chuck, none of this is your fault, I woke up with a vicious hangover, and I’m grouchy today. I’m really only kinda sorta ribbing you.
Substack, do us a solid and throw the mongrels a bone now and then, we may be rough-edged (and in my case perversely flawed), but that makes for good writing too.
Sleaze you later my brethren.
Have a solid day.
Question for the Substack crew: I'm curious if there's an option to just "disable" a post temporarily — like, revert it back to draft or something — if we want to pull something down but not delete it or lose stats/comments on it.
I’m at two months and 27 subscribers, adding maybe 1-2 organically per week...getting sharing to happen even with friends seems rather difficult even with the lovely share button
Hi everyone! Delighted to be here. Congrats on so many exciting milestones! I'm very new here but excited to get started. I'm only 5 short stories away from finishing the 24 stories I will post during the month of December on Story Advent Calendar, plus a few extras to countdown the countdown. My question is about how to offer the paid subscription option in the emails. Is there a button that you can add to people to choose the paid option? I want to offer audio versions of my stories, plus other commentary and bonus stories. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Hi, this is Misswoolf
I am new join, could you explain to me if post is the same as newletter?
Wait can I also shamelessly promo a new Substack I made that is 100 percent memes for Substack writers lol https://writingbelike.substack.com/