1141 Comments

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🟧✏️ Does anyone else have a problem of readers coming on to your site and 'Liking' your posts but not then also pressing the 'Subscribe' button?

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I do that! I read so, so many Substacks but am also easily overwhelmed by emails. I often (like, at least several times daily) show support by liking, commenting, and sharing people's writing even if I'm not interested in becoming a subscriber at that time.

As a writer, I sure do love when folks subscribe. But I also love when they like, comment, or share (even without subscribing). There's just SO much great writing here, and if I subscribed to everything I liked or even love, reading would be a full-time job. (I read the entirety of every post when I do subscribe, so never subscribe to tons of pubs at once.)

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A comment from a busy reader who was glad to stop by is still meaningful.

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Yes to this! Inbox overwhelm is real!

I'd love to be able to remain subscribed but free up my email and just see my subscriptions on the app....

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I enjoy reading on the app vs. my Inbox, so I created a filter where every Substack subscription is automatically marked as "Read" and then moved to a folder called "Newsletters" so I can visit it later if I want to. That helps me keep my Inbox more organized.

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I do the same, Clint! It keeps newsletter reading & email processing separate which I love. I also use Reader (Readwise's save now, read later tool) to consolidate non-Substack newsletters and will sometimes save my favorite Substack essays to Reader so I can highlight lines to revisit later

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Yes, this is my approach too. Like a lot, subscribe to a manageable number that I can sensibly read and engage with.

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I completely feel that way. Email/newsletters can be overwhelming so I have to pace myself in subscribing. Great response.

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Same! I follow notes instead of subscribing too.

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Agree :)

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I do the same Dana. There are so many articles I want to read and I can't subscribe to them all. If I appreciate the writing I want to comment on it and contribute to the author's community in some small way. I appreciate it when others do the same even if they don't subscribe.

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How do you get readers?I have written 13 articles but very few readers even though Substack account is written on my twitter bio and email address. Thanks Dave

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Hi Dave. You might try looking through the guides and other resources here: https://on.substack.com/ Especially the guides: https://on.substack.com/t/guides

I also interact on Notes quite a bit and engage with other peoples' posts there and on their publications. Hope that helps! Hang in there!

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Doctor, I've read a couple of your pieces and I'm going to assume your comparative lack of response is commensurate with the relative narrowness of your market. I don't consider myself an idiot (at least not in every subject area) but I can tell you your stuff (though well written and interesting) is at least slightly above my pay grade. Either dumb it down (for people like me), broaden the subject or tailor an email list to academics and professionals in your field. I would assume the latter would be the most effective strategy in the short term. If you reached a critical mass of 50 enthusiasts, word of mouth could take you where you want to go.

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I can like a piece without feeling the need to subscribe, and I understand it when others do it on my site, as well. We can't subscribe to everything, but we can 'like' a lot of them.

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Oh, I really like your dance metaphor, Graham! Maybe a like is a wave or a wink from across the room. Maybe a follow is a joyful watching of your dope grooves. Maybe a comment is a turn toward you to momentarily jam in sync. A share is a nod to others to circle up and watch you rock in the center for a moment. Any may lead to a subscribe. I dig em all. ;)

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excellent! My disco ball is spinning over here (and wondering how/when we get to heavy petting??!) 🤪

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Oh my. Fans face with hand. :)

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I read that as they are not ready to subscribe or they want you to notice them and subscribe to theirs (if they are a writer here).

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Yes, I've thought that second one too. Writer-to-Writer can be a bit of a funny kind of you-go-first dance can't it.

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I see that as the old "follow for follow".

Meaning they follow you until you follow them and then unfollow you days later.

(Have come across those here already)

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

I just experienced that and found it really odd.

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You said that so beautifully. I think I owe you an email. Sorry I got behind but will follow up this weekend.

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I think there are many different reason why people don't subscribe. I like a number of posts, but I just can't subscribe to everyone's substack. My inbox is just too full, and I am an inbox zero person so I am very selective. However, if I see something in Notes and I like something then I press the little heart button. I think for me personally that being seen at all is a gift. There is a huge sea of writers out there.

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Some people cannot afford it.

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For sure. I am a mother with five children, two of whom are disabled. I am a part-time student and for work I do child care. I wish I could support the many great writers out there, but I really can't. I hope the people who have written the great things I have commented on or liked understand that not paying is not a matter of not thinking their writing is not of value. It is a matter of feeding my own family and being able to sustain myself and my studies. And I would also like to note that just spending the time to read posts takes away from time when I could be writing to make money. So it isn't like there isn't some type of literal monetary sacrifice already being made.

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I wonder as Substack grows how it will meet this challenge- especially since it specializes in long-form. You can only really meaningfully engage with so many newsletters. How to discern from the noise and find your people and help them find you?

I'm also a zero inbox person so I get it!

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That is very true. That's why I'm looking to do most of my growth offline, hopefully drawing in new Substack users so that they can go through these same trials and tribulations. There are still plenty of readers out there, we just need to get them here.

I'm not sure if it will work, but I'm going to try drawing subscribers with my card game, and vise versa.

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Very cool! Thanks for sharing your perspective.

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Yes, this happens to me, but I don't think of it as a problem. I do the same thing. I can enjoy an article and hit the like button, but not be ready to subscribe.

As I mentioned in another comment here, I use the bookmark (save) feature to easily find a publication again where I read (some say lurk :) ) sometimes for weeks before I decide to sub. Like many, I like to manage my email so I don't get overwhelmed.

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I feel the same way, and I do that on YouTube as well. I won't subscribe unless I feel confident that I will enjoy a creator's body of work, which is not the same as liking a single post.

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I have the funny problem of people following me but not subscribing. I'm like-- Don't do that! Save yourself! I'm an unhinged person in the notes section!

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Are you a funny gal? I started a Funny AF Women interview feature on my Substack.

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I'd like to believe I'm funny. My sister tells me I'm funny. But then again, she's like 3/4 of my subscriber base, and I routinely send her texts at 2:00 AM saying: "WAKE UP, MY ONLY READER, I NEED YOUR AFFIRMATION. LIE TO MEEEE."

Does that make me a funny gal? Or a gal whose raging insecurities are occasionally kinda funny? I wish I fuckin' knew, CK.

I. Wish. I. Fuckin'. Knew.

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If you’re self proclaimed funny then you are. You don’t need funny-approval. You can make yourself laugh when at the market or alone at home.

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The follow thing is very confusing 😫

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I take it to mean: Alexandra, it's fun to watch you skid around on black ice in notes, but we don't want to read all your earnest lil pieces on mental health crisis. I'm like a court jester!

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I wish they'd put a counter up on your page so you know how many followers you have. Sometimes I send special blurbs out to my subscribers and it goes into their inboxes, and only remember half an hour later that I should tell my followers as well. If there was a number, maybe it would remind you that they're there. I just counted them yesterday and found out I have 102!

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How would you tell your followers something?

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I tell my Followers by putting it in Notes. That's where they get my feed. They're not on my email list, so I guess it's just sort of hit and miss.

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How can you even count them? Where you found that info?

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It takes a little work. You have to go to your own home page and when you find the part that says SUBSCRIBERS, click it. You'll see a list of subscribers, and then two other beside it, Followers, and the for the ones YOU follow. It's hard to find because it's not something we look at every day. But it's there. And you literally have to scroll through from top to bottom in order to count them.

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Made sure to follow because that cracked me up.

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Fuck, I've tricked another one into thinking I'm funny. Now what?!

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Well I just subscribed too, so I guess just be super offensive for awhile.

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Oh, you're in for a treat... I constantly offend. My very *presence* offends.

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I quite enjoy it when this happens. Happy if someone has swung by, had a read, Liked and then left. I get it that Subscribing is not always something someone wants to do.

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Why is that a problem?

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Do you automatically subscribe every time you stumble across a post that you like by an author whose work is otherwise unfamiliar to you? I don't know about you, but subscribing is not always a decision I make on the spur of discovery; it usually takes prolonged exposure to someone's work before I decide to subscribe. Don't dismiss readers who like, but don't subscribe right away. First of all, be glad you're getting that exposure beyond your existing subscriber base. Secondly, that person may be in the process of deciding whether or not to subscribe to you down the line. They just want to see more from you before they pull the trigger, and IMO that is not unreasonable.

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I don't mind Likes, in fact, I welcome them, because it means someone actually consumed my content. And now I hope they come back for more It can take a while to become convinced to subscribe. I like try before you buy.

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Yes. I find that the "likes" are still valuable.

I agree with Dana, there is so much subscription worthy writing in this community, that it could be a full-time job reading it all! Besides, I like browsing and sort of trying a new genre when I have spare time during the week.

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I love it when people subscribe but know how overwhelming it is to be inundated with new posts. If I share my latest post in a note, people can decide to read it or keep scrolling. As a relative newcomer, I don't have hordes of subscribers, but I do have a high open rate that I'd lose by subscribing just to gain a subscriber. Those who choose to read me are keen, and I like it that way. A transactional approach can work on Instagram but I don't see a case for it on this reader-focused platform.

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I subscribe to support others' work, but I don't open emails. I prefer to use the app or desktop version and read when I get a break from my responsibilities. Great stacks get lost amid the emails of "Get 30% this Black Friday". As a writer, I prefer when people like and engage rather than subscribe and never read my email.

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Good rundown. abot oversad abut the democrats win.

The gun safety items was left out of the ananlysis,why?

We have constant news of killing people with machine guns kown as automatic rifels.

The third rail issue fails to bring this problem into focus,

We admit to havinf many "nuts" with a problem they will never address rationally, so why do we still have the perfect tool for mass murder readily avaailble to teenagers who are pist toff becaude they can't get a date. In Prison they will find themselves very popular with the guys doing life.

In NYC, mass kilings are not possible with the folks not tollerating this AR-15, 16 and soon the AR-17. We are not drunken hillbillies demanding their "rights" and NYC had not had this type of assult since 1998. (one guy lasted 3 miutes with a macine - gun at the Empire state bldg. He was quickly killed when he was shooting at tourists up in the observation deck. (4 minutes to respond by trained police officers)

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🧠 Leaving this ebook for all new Substackers looking for some guidance to growing their subscribers list. I hope you will find it useful.

(Note: the strategy in this ebook can be applied on all social platforms)

https://open.substack.com/pub/raisini/p/from-zero-to-100000-subscribers-the?r=aegif&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post

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💯💯🔥

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Raisini and Raisini. Are y'all, like, twins? 😏

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Why are all of my questions erased?

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Oh no! Could you please send the questions again so we can help you answer them?

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Betty I would like to speak to someone from Substack about joining to see if it’s the right platform for me.

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This now my 6th try- How do I build an audience when I am on no social media

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I'd recommend checking out some of the resources on our blog for building your audiences: https://on.substack.com/p/grow-4.

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Phrango will like to know how to get bad writing on substack

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✏️🟧 I've noticed a new, smaller link embed style with an action prompt that reads "Read full story" followed by an arrow. (You can find an example of what I'm talking about here: https://www.wonkette.com/p/joe-manchin-wont-seek-reelection)

Where do I find the option to use it?

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How do I use a simplified subscription page?

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Hi Henry! Can you tell me more about what kind of simplified subscription page you're looking for?

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The default spreads across the whole page. I would like a simple centered list of free, monthly, annual, founder with very few comments

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I'm seeing your subscribe page here: https://henrylewiswriter.substack.com/subscribe. It should list four plans there!

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Yes it does. That is the default page format. I have seen other sites with a much simpler layout.

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It works but just seems so wordy and the crossed off for free is ugly

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🧠 Hi everyone! This is a tip I shared on a recent Office Hours, but I did it really late so hardly anyone saw it. In the hope it’s useful, here it is again…

If you’re wondering what your social media strategy could be & how it could promote your newsletter, or you’re just looking for a way to write that can REALLY get your readers to lean in & engage, try this:

🤯 ** Share your enthusiastic response to learning about something amazingly interesting for the first time ** 🤯

This was my social media strategy on Twitter before it became....erm, whatever it is now. I did it with excited-sounding threads, promoting a sciencey story I just learned about for the first time. The biggest of these totally blew up, reached 10 million people and sent 6,000 free subscribers to my newsletter. (Substack interviewed me about it here: https://on.substack.com/p/grow-series-7)

Now I'm trying it again on Threads, and - it kinda seems to be working? https://www.threads.net/@mikeachim/post/CyWjG7csfdw

I'm very far from the first to discover the power of this approach (and there’s even some good science on the neurological mechanisms behind it: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661322001346). For example, it's why "unboxing" videos work on YouTube, or why footage of audience reactions to big moments in films get millions of views. It’s emotionally affecting and it triggers us in a *good* way for a change. So it's incredibly useful for newsletter writers wanting to reach new people, make them feel something, and get them intrigued enough by *your* reaction (and their reaction to your reaction! etc etc.) to want to click through and learn more.

Try it!

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Mike - you said something in that interview that I've found to be the key to success in writing..."find something that excites you." I came from the world of software marketing, and over the years I had forgotten how much I actually like marketing. Marketing is super interesting. And I've found that if I share that excitement in my newsletter (which is about the language of marketing), people respond. Social media is often about generating a negative response from people. I love writing a newsletter because people seem to respond the most when something is positive, optimistic and - as you say - exciting to the writer.

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I really love this. Thanks for saying that, Jared, and I totally agree - we're so easily triggered by negativity bias, but it often seems a pretty bad way to motivate anyone to do anything positive (and negativity and anger does a lot of damage to us along the way, no matter what the outcome is).

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Absolutely. I always write better when I'm excited about the topic, too, so carrying that over to social media only makes sense. And the same thing happened to me. I'm in software design and I have to constantly rediscover my hunger for design so things don't get stale!

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

I love this perspective. I'm in marketing too but it confounds me. People should make good stuff and demonstrate why it's good vs. all the faux marketing. Once you cut through that then the product doesn't live up to the hype.

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This feels like a good challenge to become an active reader on Substack.

As I read, I try to find one moment that genuinely excites me. I'll re-stack, and sometimes I'll rant on it. I've only done this for a few weeks so far, but it seems like I'm slowly growing my audience by being a better / more social reader (I dropped Readwise Reader since it's siloed). Maybe this is obvious to the people here, but the majority of writers I know still don't read in the app.

Thanks for this point Mike. While a "Restack with Note" doesn't have the visual hype of an unboxing video, it's a reminder for me to unpack my own perspective ("Hey writer, here's an unfiltered glimpse of what you're essay stirred up in me'").

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I pride myself on engaging really thoughtfully with someone's work. I try to like, comment, and restack when I really like something I read. I know the feeling when someone does that for me so I put that back into the Substack space.

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What's a restack? I just came on board Substack.

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Welcome Peter!

It's explained ere:

https://support.substack.com/hc/en-us/articles/14671398684308-What-is-a-restack-on-Substack-Notes-

A restsack is the equivalent of reposting someone's work. But it's essentially the way to show appreciation and engage with other people's work. This is one of the ways to build community on the platform. Hope this helps a little!

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You can also highlight a portion of someone's essay (a sentence, a paragraph), and then share your thoughts on the excerpt.

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Restacking someone's work and leaving a comment is something like a two-way street. You put the writer's work out on your network of followers and subscribers, and you leave a comment that others can read and comment on as well. Another good way of helping a writer is CROSS-POSTING. When you cross-post an "article" it goes to your email list and goes into the inbox of all your subscribers. People do this when they want to bring a writer to their followers' attention. A lot of people don't do it for a variety of reasons, the first being they don't know what it is, so they won't try it. Another reason is they don't want to clutter up their readers' inboxes, thinking they might get unsubscribed. I've come to the realization that if someone unsubscribes, it's usually someone who doesn't read your stuff very often. You want the readers on your subscribe page who have stars beside their names. The more, the more they read you stuff.

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That’s a good point. Sometimes I just restack something I love, but it’s valuable to contribute my perspective on it and what I think is worth understanding from it.

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TERRIFIC thread Mike - I immediately Followed you: real wisdom and enthusiasm...gets us every time!

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Mike you are so giving of your time and expertise. 👏 Thx for showing up here. I’m just trying to figure out Threads. 🤔

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That's very kind, thank you so much - but I'm just making it up as I go! (Including on Threads.) :)

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So tell me Mike, does THREADS really work, or is it a waste of time? I haven't bothered with it yet. If it does work, maybe we should ask the powers that be to replace the Twitter feed they offer when you POST, with a Threads feed instead.

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Depends on your definition of "work", I guess!

I enjoy using it the way I was loving the best corners of Twitter and other social media platforms - as a focused way to connect with cool people I wouldn't otherwise be able to talk to, and make a few new friends. But the sciencey threads I'm doing are also designed to hook new free subscribers - and in that sense, it's starting to work in the way Twitter did: over the last few weeks it looks like I've had over 200 new subscribers come via Insta/Threads (and it's definitely Threads when it says "Instagram" as a source, because I'm doing nothing on Insta.)

But also, what I'm trying not to do with Threads, which I learned not to do with Twitter, is scroll and scroll and just react to stuff that triggers me in a really negative way. It's hard, it's so easy to fall for it, but it's worth the effort to fight it: not by avoiding the bad things going on in the world, because we all need to be aware, but making an effort NOT to respond to things actively designed to enrage me enough to reply, by people who are *pretending* to be providing discourse, but actually not doing it with even the tiniest shred of good faith on their part. They just want hate-clicks and anger and fury and shame-quotes and the rest of it, because, what better way to get attention (AND drag everyone down into hopeless rage)? So far, I've seen much less of that on Threads. I'm sure it'll arrive in force. But I'll be drawing my own line there!

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Does Threads use hashtags? Is that how folks find you?

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Nope! I just hope that enough people like it and share it that it gets noticed by yet more people and by the algorithm. At first, when I only had a couple of hundred people following me, it was mostly crickets. But the more you do it, the more people follow, and you grow (I'm now at 4,650) - and then you can circle back to that stuff you posted when you had a tiny following, and re-promote it to that new, bigger audience.

(This also works for newsletters!)

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Yeah, I had to get off Twitter because there was so much shit. That's why I've stayed away from Threads. I don't want all that hate speech and the shit people throw at you. If you say one thing, everyone jumps all over you and drag you through the mud. I don't need that. I just want to put up a link to my stories and fuck off out of there. I've been hanging back on things like Instagram, and Facebook (still post links there and on LinkedIn) but I'm just letting Substack promote me. Get Recommendations and some Restacks, loving the comments, but just not pushing myself the way I should be.

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It happens! But I tend to find that if you don't react to that stuff, and you show up with something from a place of good-natured self-mocking enthusiasm, you deter 99% of those folk just by tone alone. Or maybe I've just been lucky!

(I'm also not unaware that I have a lot of privilege on my side, being a middle-aged white bloke on the internet - and something of a thick skin from being a travel writer accustomed to seeing people slag off some of my articles in a passive-aggressive way. Not taking either of those for granted, and therefore, this advice always comes with a "Your Mileage May Vary" disclaimer.)

But also, I've tried the "posting a link in a single post" thing and it absolutely doesn't work for me - maybe because it's what most people do, but I think also it's asking too much, too quickly. It's saying to most people who see it "you don't know me yet, but hey, click through and read my thing!". Which is a lot to ask, so most folk go "nah". So instead, I stay on the platform for a bit and tell some or even most of the story on there, and eventually I've got to the point where I've proven I'm worth paying attention to - and THEN I ask, at the end of telling that story and having held their attention for a few minutes of scrolling through the thread. That usually works nicely for me.

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Alas, I have completely run out of emotional energy for social media. But this sounds like an effective strategy. Thanks for sharing!

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

It's not going to work @Mike Sowden because I will never sound as convincing as you. But thank you for always sharing helpful advice.

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My secret is my total ignorance. It's easy to sound convincingly amazed at things when there's nothing in your brain to start with! (And thank you!)

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You have a way of being brilliantly ignorant that always makes me feel smarter. Maybe it's the humor ... I don't know ... I just know it works.

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SHELL 🐚 YES! Be not afraid to be dumb/curious/not an expert. That's the voice of great journalists like Bill Moyers (dating myself here.)

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

Ha I've been to Yorkshire and recognize the James Herriots of the world. I'll give credit where it's due even if you won't yourself.

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The negativity bias is what gets me, that and the instant gratification people want on this platform. Yes, the beginning sucks, it's like your begging for subscribers. In the end, it'll be worth it. At least that's what I tell myself. *Stares into the ceiling in despair*

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It can feel like that, yes. And if it does - either they way we're on these platforms could be done in a different way, or it's just not worth doing at all - because NONE of this stuff is worth it if we can't find a way to make it fun. If it just sucks 100% end to end, we can't show up with the kind of energy that will persuade other people into signing up to our work. We can't fake it enough to overcome that. Everyone can see it a mile off if we're faking it. Readers are too smart to fool, at least not for long.

So - yeah, the huge social media platforms can be a negative place to do things, and that can infect us with cynicism after a while. But it can also be an opportunity to provide a contrast: to be that rare person who is just doing stuff mainly because it's fun and trying to spread that sense of fun around a bit. It's possibly to stand out in this way. And I think it's a huge opportunity - as long as you can keep your brain safe from all that toxic stuff and not fall for the weaponised negativity other people are using to hijack attention for their own crappy purposes.

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This is such great advice, thanks for the tip! I'm looking forward to trying it out :)

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This is such an awesome idea, Mike. I just took to Twitter with a thread about an old post I wrote to see if it does anything -- I'm sure it won't, because my engagement on Twitter is abysmal, but I'll try it on Threads, too :)

twitter.com/notjameson/status/1722690107403124924

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Great strategy, Mike—thanks!. I am going to try this...but I do write about poverty issues, not exactly an upbeat topic:-) I get excited because I learn something new and fascinating every time I research a post, but I'm sure I will struggle to turn that into excitement for lots of people...?

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Thanks Mike... I will definitely give your advice a shot. 6,000 free subscribers - Wow! What you posted on Twitter was obviously pure gold! Very cool!

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What a cool tip! Thank you!

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🧠 Writing opens doors. My Substack led to business opportunities, speaking engagements, and even an upcoming case study. So keep writing and have a long term view.

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This is so encouraging to hear. The Site Formerly Known as Twitter did the same for me, and I’m looking forward to growing more of a community of creatives on here.

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Yes! This week I’m writing about having a long term view. It’s been a totally game changer!

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I love that perspective! I have a small following but I've had the privilege of forming really genuine connections through Substack and meeting some incredible people. I think of it like a "currency of connection." You never know where those connections will lead or what doors will open through them.

I just changed my bio to state that I'm looking for an agent to represent my first novel, just as an experiment really but being on Substack has really made me believe anything is possible with genuine intent and an open mind!

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This is awesome! Can you share a little more about how the speaking engagement came about? I hadn't considered that as a byproduct of writing, but it makes total sense.

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Multiple people who were subscribers reached out to me to speak. This includes universities, podcasts, and more. You need to keep writing because you never know who will discover you.

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🟧 I'm finding the customizable shareable images to be good only in terms of choosing the text you want to feature, but not in terms of the artwork from the post. It's blurry and difficult to decipher the images. I miss the old shareable images that featured the full title and subhead only—NOT the first paragraph. Can you make those old shareable images an option again?

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Hi Sari! We'll let our product team know you're missing the old format for shareable images and would like to see it come back.

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Completely agree with Sari. The old format (title and subhead only) was exactly what I wanted for my social media strategy, but I haven’t been able to post in a week since the update. Please let us know what the product team says about bringing it back. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

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Thanks, Betty. :)

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Seconded. The new sharable images are a step backwards. We need the full title and subtitle.

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I don't understand why the link can't be embedded in either of those shareable images. They seem pretty useless, otherwise. If I'm going to share a post somewhere, adding the link automatically brings up the title and the main image. I like that so much better.

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I like them because they are a nice visual for social. When I share to IG, I note "Link in Bio"

When I share to Stories, I include a link to the post, when I share on FB, I include my Substack link in the text. The context is still just a click away!

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I guess I can understand why you would use it on Instagram, but I don't see how it's better for Facebook when you can simply paste the link onto your post and the title and main picture appear--and look good.

I'm sorry, I don't know what 'Stories' is.

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The reasons I do it on FB rather than a link to the new post are 1) I like the visual of the jpeg better, and now that I've been using it people can instantly ID as a new Substack drop and 2) I like to link to my Substack home page so new visitors can see all of my content rather than the new post.

Stories is Instagram Stories

https://help.instagram.com/1660923094227526

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Same, I like them for Instagram. We just need *more* options is what I’m hearing from other people. It’s a lovely feature I don’t have to worry about!

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I do this too. I never use the shareable images, because - they're not really shareable....

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No, they're not shareable. They can't be linked to the post, which pretty much defeats the purpose.

I really don't know what their purpose is.

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I agree with this. I ended up creating my own copy of the old shareable image in Photoshop so I could customize the text that way, but it would be nice to get a choice that's built-in.

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As a Newbie I don't know the old style. As a creative director, I agree that the images and display text are NOT enticing. I sort of tried to edit one, but I'd never share it. I do applaud your efforts to provide sharing images! 🙌🏽 When you get it right, it will be awesome!

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SAME. I sent an email to support yesterday about this very thing. The old assets looked so good! Please bring them back!

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Agree. Please bring them back!

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Agreed! I was posting the shareable images every week when they only included the title and description. Now they’re filled with extra text that I don’t want and can’t delete. Betty, please ask the Substack team to prioritise this!

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I agree! I also think the text is hard to read, so I end up covering it with a screenshot of the actual piece when I share on IG stories.

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

Agree also! The older style was more of a tease to incite curiosity for people to read. The newer style gives it all away by including the first graph. Plus the blurry pic. Weird. I stopped sharing my posts on social media because they weren't showing what I wanted to show. This is a bummer because social sharing was bringing me new subscribers. Please give us the option of using the older, cleaner style. Thank you!

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✏️ I'm approaching 500 subscribers! Any ideas for ways to celebrate this milestone with my readers? I'm wondering if I can also tie this into some kind of holiday gift-giving ask, so ideas welcome there too!

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When I hit milestones like that, I make sure that newsletter is about them. I thank them, & talk about where we’re at & where we’re going.

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Milestone emails like this are a great way to pause and reflect in front of readers about all that you've built (together!) and often can get a reader who appreciates your work to consider upgrading to paid as well. We even have a guide on this: How to write a great milestone post https://on.substack.com/p/how-to-write-a-great-milestone-post

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Well said bailey

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That's such a thoughtful and subscriber focused way to respond.

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Yes, that's a great reminder! Love it, thanks!

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Congrats! Perhaps you pick a subscriber name out of a hat and gift a book you found transformational and is related to what you write about.

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I've decided that all (9, so far) of my PAID subscribers will get a POD copy of one of my novellas when I collect enough PAID subscribers to afford it. I got hold of printer in town and he sent me a quote as to how much it would cost. I need a minimum of at least 65 paying readers to save enough money to print up copies and send out to readers -- with the promise of at least 3 books a year once things get rolling.

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It sounds like you are going to do a *print* copy ... something I'd like to do also. How are you getting the addresses? And, what are you going to do about foreign postage?

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I'm going to email everyone my address, and ask them to send me a postcard from where they live, with their return address on them. It sounds tedious, but I want a hard copy of their addies in case something happens (ie. the computer crashes and burns). Besides, all those postcards from all those cool places? Why not! As for the postage, it will be covered in the cost of the subscribers. If I get my 65, that's about $3500/year. The cost of printing varies, but for 150-170 pages, it's close to $2200. My short 'novellettes' (less than 20,000 words) would be about 100 pages. My novellas, closer to the 150-170 range.

Now, getting the PAID subscribers is the hard part, but it's just a matter of time.

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Thanks for the ideas and hope you let us know how it works out.

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Well, since I only have 333 subscribers, I think it's going to take a long time. I refuse to take money out from anywhere else except my "writing" account. I have to do this through what I earn. I can do whatever I want with the money I make (all $40/month).

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Ooh, I love this! I can already think of about five books!

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Love this idea!

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That's amazing! I'm happy for you! If your Substack offers tips/advice, you could offer some kind of checklist/worksheet/best practices for them? Or what about soliciting questions your readers may have for you in Notes and then creating a post with answers? I also like the other Substacker's idea of a follow-up of the most read post. :D

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A Q&A is a great idea! I recently sent an email to my top readers (4-5 activity stars) and offered them a 25% discount on a paid subscription. No takers yet but I'm also playing around with how to cultivate and nurture the relationship with my most engaged readers. I'd love to hear others' ideas!

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That's great that you're experimenting with engagement... you'll never know unless you try, right? Speaking of which... I am going to turn on a paid version come January. We'll see what happens!

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Go for it! I turned it on from the beginning with zero expectations and several of my friends/family became paid from the start! It was such a boost in confidence and humbling to have their support.

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Love this idea!

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That’s awesome—congratulations! Maybe you could engage with readers via a poll or short survey to find out what they’re interested in? Or schedule some sort of live online event where they can meet you and you can get to know them better?

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Congratulations. Looking briefly at the focus of your writing, what about ideas around interrupting notions of what 'gift giving' is about. What would make gift giving more meaningful? Opening a dialogue (chat) with your subscribers about the best non-commercial gift they ever received? Not sure that's a great idea for celebrating the 500 but it might give you engagement. Toss or keep. Just riffin' here.

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I like this idea Linda!

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That's a brilliant idea, I love it! And I really hate commercial gifts.

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I love this :)

How about a round up of your best writing along with a discount?

Or a live celebratory session with everyone's fave reads?

Or a nice post-mail hand written thank you note to any new paid subscribers? (this could go a bit nuts, but I love the idea of hand writing and sending stuff to people to their actual mailbox.)

Congrats on your 500!

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Thanks! Not there yet, but getting there :) I love the hand-written note idea if I could convince folks to share their mailing addresses.

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Do you have any paywalled content you could remove the paywall on? A special post you could make public to everyone? Or you could make all the archives free for a week?

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I was offering a free 8" x 12" giclee photograph, value $32.99 for founding members and got no takers. My gut instinct was people might not want to give out their mailing address.

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Interesting! And have you had any other ideas on how you might be able to get around that? Or maybe you'd rather offer something different? I love how susbtack is such an experimenting space.

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I just posted a question about attracting more subscribers, because I'm honestly feeling a little stuck on that.

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Its tricky yeah. I'm sure you'll get a lot of input through these office hours. I've always found them interesting to read through everyone's comments and replies.

As for me, I have made a point for myself which is: just write. Just writing what I feel I want to write and making the best out of it, while staying consistent. I'm only 2 months in so I'm sure I haven't yet reached the real consistency barrier test somehow but I'm just focusing on this day in and day out, engaging where I feel and it all seems to eventually come back to you. Good work and good energy always come back, and I guess I've chosen to trust this regardless. There's so many ways to do things, so learn from everyone but do your very own creative thing, and the right people will follow. My five cents! 🥰

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I like that too. They have some pretty cool writing paper and envelopes available at Amazon. I still like the idea of sending out PODs for the stories I write.

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No advice, but wanted to say congrats!

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Congrats on nearing 500, Kerala! thanks for kicking off a thread on gathering inspiration for celebrating milestones with readers :)

A few that I've seen:

- Q&A or advice column

- A virtual community call with the writer

- A CTA for topics that readers want to read about

- Reflections of writing journal / writing rituals

- A template or digital gift of some sorts

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I just wrote a couple of pieces to celebrate this milestone myself!

Reflections on what I'm proud of and opportunities to grow: https://systemchangers.substack.com/p/celebrating-a-year-of-system-changers

How I got started as a writer, built a writing practice I love, and grew to 500 subscribers in a year: https://systemchangers.substack.com/p/how-i-got-started-as-a-writer-built

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In a year! Wow! That's amazing!

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Congratulations! I don't have experience of this but perhaps write a follow-up to your most read post because it's likely to be v popular with your readers too.

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Besides a % off paid (if you do that), you could try to give away swag as a test of if anyone is interested in it.

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Congrats! Yeah, as others have said, an actual milestone post seems like a lovely idea.

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Congrats! 🎈🎉🎊

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Well, everyone loves a pizza party..... 🤷‍♀️

(But sincerely-- congrats!!)

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Congrats! Great ideas here to celebrate milestones with readers :)

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Congrats Kerala! This is huge. Love your work!

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Thanks so much, Samyak!

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🟧 Just wanted to point out that some weeks ago, I posted a comment in Office Hours to the effect that Substack really needs to implement a tip jar feature, so that readers can make a one-off contribution if they're feeling reluctant to subscribe. This comment is *still* getting Likes from people catching up on old Office Hours. Just saying, it seems to be a pretty popular idea.

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I agree, Douglas, and have made that request previously. You can add a button or a page for that in the interim. Buy Me A Coffee is a Stripe product, so you already have an account with them if you set up for paid subscriptions. Others use Ko-Fi (and I'm sure you could link to whatever you want). I think the hesitancy from Substack is that they want to push for a paid sub (so they get their cut) rather than one-offs. But, they aren't getting anything from the current tips, so it sort of behooves them to do it. However, since I set up my tip jar, I haven't gotten any. LOL. I mean, people have clicked on it, but the minimum tip is still $5 (on BMAC). I'm hoping the folks who clicked are considering going full sub. xo

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Oh really? I think I was able to make my tips $3 on Buy Me a Coffee, and it’s worked a bit in the past for me when I remember to use it.

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