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Got questions about Substack or feedback about a feature or tool? You’re in the right place! Leave a comment in this thread.
To help organize the conversation, please use one of the following emojis when you start a new comment.
🧠 - when sharing strategy or advice for fellow writers
✏️ - when asking questions or seeking feedback from fellow writers
🟧 - when asking a question you hope the Substack team can help answer
Use your emoji keyboard or simply copy and paste the emoji at the beginning of your comment.
🟧 - are there plans afoot to promote little or new stacks? I would love, for instance, to receive a 'Substack Reads' featuring smaller & new substacks so that they get their chance in the spotlight. Many of the Substack Kings & Queens dominate, making it hard to discover brilliant new writers with a small following. As with every platform, it's getting more challenging to sift through the noise as those that already have big platforms are always front and centre. Not that I don't love what they do! many thanks, Lucy
The key to gaining consistent subscribers I’ve found is:
1. Write quality material and post regularly but not too often (I recommend 1-3 times per week)
2. Read other Stacks and leave comments on their posts
3. RESTACK other writers’ work and add a personal note
4. Use Notes to help attract attention but don’t post Notes constantly
5. Figure out your audience and what’s original/unique about your writing
6. Be patient
7. Don’t come off as desperate for growth. Self-promote but with thoughtfulness
My piece on the purpose of Substack: https://michaelmohr.substack.com/p/what-is-the-point-of-substack-making
Sincere American Writing
🟧 Hi Katie, I'm going to ask one more time for a category called 'Creative Nonfiction'. I see you have a 'Fiction' category, so why not non-fiction? Corralling us under 'Culture' just isn't working. That category is way too broad.
We creative nonfiction writers talk about ideas and problems specific to the unique ways we write and it would be great if we could find each other more easily.
Surely there's room for one more category? Thanks for any help.
🧠 Sometimes I put a lot of work into a story I'm passionate about, and when I release it out into the world, I hear nothing but crickets. I'm sure we've all been there! This was the case with a recent story, "The Most Radical Act of Resistance is To Take Back Our Time," which talked about the increasing pressures my partner has been under at work, leading him to collapse on the job and get approved for 14 weeks under the FLMA. His job informed him that he would be transferred to a different office upon his return and made it clear that his job security was tenuous, at best.
I was so disappointed by the general lack of response to the story, until... his supervisor stumbled across it. Long story short, my partner recently received an email from HR that informed him he could extend his leave if he'd like and return to work at the same office, or if he wanted to part ways (which he does), they would give him a generous severance package, a positive recommendation, and wouldn't contest unemployment benefits.
It just goes to show that you never know who you'll reach when you put something out into the world. This story that initially seemed to make no waves ultimately netted us $30,000 and at least a tiny bit of faith that sometimes there is justice in this world!
🟧 Posting again because I believe this would be super beneficial for fiction writers of Substack!
One thing I’d LOVE to be able to do is put up a “free wall” which would work just like a pay wall, except instead of preventing all but paid subscribers from reading a post, it would prevent anyone who is not a subscriber at all from reading a post.
This would be great for fiction writers who want to keep certain content exclusive to actual subscribers as opposed to making everything that’s not behind a paywall available to anyone on the internet.
Please add this feature, Substack team!!
🟧 I would really like to see which words people googled for in Traffic sources, to know how they found my Substack.
Thanks to the substack geniuses who created the promos created from quotes from paid subscribers about why they are subscribing. I post them on Instagram and Facebook. I am convinced that they have been responsible for an impressive boost in my numbers. Thank you so much.
🟧 Does anyone know if it's possible to see stats for Welcome emails?
I recently updated my welcome emails from a simple "Welcome, thank you for subscribing" to something a little longer. The revised version includes some posts people might want to start with, and an invitation to share the newsletter. I'd like to know if anyone is clicking these links, and if so which ones people are responding to the most.
What has been everyone's experience with taking breaks? After writing nearly weekly for about six months, I've paused posting new content as I'm drowning in work/family/school stuff.
Still getting new subscribers, so people are finding me, but I guess I have a fear about when I start back up again that my readership and open rate will tank.
Am I overthinking this? Any one have any experience here?
🧠 - Add a Directory of Posts to your Substack
Hey Substack writers, I'm sharing an example of how I organize posts via a directory page. See here: https://alyssapolizzi.substack.com/p/directory
If you're interested in utilizing tags, this is a great way to make them accessible for readers. I have a select number of categories (tags) that I usually write under. Each time I publish a new post, I'll add the relevant tags and the directory is updated automatically. The directory functions as a convenient landing page, facilitating easier post navigation compared to the search feature. I also suggest including brief descriptions for each category.
I've received great feedback from readers on how useful the directory is. Let me know if you have any questions on setup, etc.
✏️ Do you find that actively commenting on other substacks helps bring traffic and attention to your own work? Is it helpful to be an active member of the communities with people you hope will become your readers? P.S. Just started my Substack today!
🟧 Hi Substackians! I'm consistently delighted by the thoughtful roll out of features both in the app and on the website. I have but one tiny little feature request that I think would make a HUGE difference for folks trying to balance paywalled content with free content.
Allow the Voiceover feature to be paywalled on free posts.
That's it! For folks like me who work hard to provide high-quality audio every week, but who are still trying to build a subscriber base, it's important to have something of value to hold back for paid subscribers in every post. You can listen to my latest serial novel and judge for yourself whether the audio is a feature folks would be willing to pay for. Thanks!
Is there a way to see the number of people who listen to a voiceover on any given post?
✏️ Stoked to be co-hosting the first San Francisco / Bay Area Substack meetup on Dec 6! Sign up here → https://lu.ma/l08hen0k
My question for you all is... what's the most provocative / interesting question that someone has or might ask you about yourself as a writer, and about your work?
For other writers who enjoy collaborating: what are your favorite ways to do it? I've probably got about 25 pieces now where I've worked with another author here on Substack. Some were Q&A format where I tagged the writer (probably one of the least intrusive ways to get started), done full co-authored works (published on my page and on theirs), and cross-posted and had my posts cross-posted. There are probably a few other ways we've all worked together.
What do you enjoy the most, and why?
Can a person be a substack writer/create a substack as an anonymous writer just until they get a following due to the personal nature of their writing?
🧠 I got my first paid subscriber!!!
I wish I would’ve been more consistent before with my newsletter but certainly this acts as a boost to my encouragement and look forward to see how Substack will help me with my dream of making a living by sharing life experiences! 😄❤️
What I’ve learned
-Don’t be shy to ask people for their email to keep in touch with them
-Be consistent with uploading
I'm about to launch my Substack and I'm wondering if it's a best practice to manually opt-in a bunch of people whose email addresses I have, and then let whoever doesn't want to continue to unsubscribe.
Is there any marketing support for local Substack meetups? I'm organizing one with two other Substackers in Austin for next week. We filled out the form but I'd love a graphic or something visual we can all share with our lists. I can make one in Canva but I wondered if there was someone at Substack I could reach out to.
We'd love to make these meetups a regular thing!
🟧 What would it be like to have a button where someone can donate or “buy you a coffee” for a specific post? I notice sometimes I don’t want to upgrade to a full subscription, but would love to pay someone for a post I found really helpful. I heard others also sharing this same thought!
I hope all the Nanowrimo participants out there are holding up okay. Learn to rest, not quit!
Hi, how to grow as a fiction writer in substack? I have been publishing for a while but it seems going nowhere in the platform here. Going paid is a distant illusion, but atleast the basic engagement where to find and how to grow please suggest. 🙂
Can anyone explain the poor technical quality (design, shaping, framing) of the promotional tools automatically sent to me after new posts over the last few weeks? Headlines, for example, won’t fit Instagram anymore. They used to be fine, and I can’t reframe on my end. Thanks!
🟧 I LOVE the Tripoli theme for Ghost and can see you guys have translated that theme for Bari Weiss’s Substack thefp.com - are there any plans to give us the option of using Tripoli? I would pay handsomely if this were a paid option for example.
Thank you! 🙏🏻
A shoutout to @fogchaser who composed Hearthside, a beautiful piece just published on his newsletter. It's not everyday that someone writes a song for you! https://fogchaser.substack.com/p/hearthside
✏️ I’ve been thinking a lot about the “value” I offer my readers and trying to get more clarity! I’d love some crowdsource help for what would be valuable for you!
Currently, I write personal essays on topics like creativity, grief, and motherhood all with the common thread of exploring our shared human connection. I also share poetry and feature interviews with other creatives.
Besides my perspective and experience, what value do you receive from newsletters that are more personal or reflective? I’d love to see some examples!
🟧 Hi Substack team- is there a way for an author to better crop images for mobile web browser? I see an image looks great on the app and on the computer browser, but someones face is cut off in the mobile web browser. Thanks!
🟧 ✏️ I'm about to launch a Substack for a small but influential nonprofit I work for so we can move our newsletter delivery from Mailchimp and also expand our conversations, have dedicated articles and guest posts. I'm unsure about whether the paid subscriptions option is appropriate, since we're a nonprofit, but would like to make it another avenue for donations. Do any other writers or Substack folks have suggestions or advice to share?
(I'm also about to launch a Stack of my own musings, but that's another topic.)
🟧 Do you plan to have a feature to save comments? I always find Office Hours really great to get advice from your team and fellow writers, but then coming back to them is a tedious process. If it was possible to save them, I believe it would be fantastic. Same goes for Notes.
I have done some googling about best day and time to schedule newsletter emails. Seems that Tuesday and Thursday come up a lot. but it occurred to me that maybe different days and times depend on the type of content. So, I am curious to know if there is a best practice for serialized fiction. Since these will be longer than 200 - 300 words, is Tues or Thurs really best? Or would Saturday or some other day be better when people might be looking for a longer read?
Anyone producing video content on the platform? I’m on a mission to cut my YouTube time. Send your videos my way!
🟧 Heads up to other writers: Special Offers do NOT work on pledges.
I learned the hard way - I even sent myself a test email with a special offer/pledge drive, and the link worked (for me) but all subsequent pledgers did not receive the discount, and now I'm stuck trying to figure out how to fix it....
🟧 when inserting buttons to prompt readers to subscribe or share a posting, how do I change the text used in that prompt?
🟧 One more time...I need some design and paywall help...does Substack have a preferred vendor list?
Hello! Is there a way to edit or add music to Substack podcasts?
I am currently uploading recordings and wondering if there are built in tools to jazz it up and create segments?
Thanks, in advance!
I have some questions regarding the use of tags (because going back through my articles recently, there were some articles where I had none at all.....and I'm not sure what tags
1. Does adding tags actually help generate readership and subscriptions?
2. Is there any particular strategy to selecting or adding them for articles?
3. If the answers to questions #1 and #2 are yes, are there any reliable/reputable people out there who charge reasonable hourly rates to read your articles and add tags to your articles to drive readership? (Part of me thinks that an outsider reading might in some way see where your article belongs better than I will writing it).
On an unrelated note, is Substack working on any pricing features that will allow readers to purchase single articles rather than full subscriptions? Thanks.
🧠 Interview Opportunity: I have just launched visual interviews where people are invited to use my Google Form of questions that are all related to art and mental health but to answer in images instead of words. (I also offer the option for a word based interview or both types ...)
The first one (with the wonderful illustrator Sue Clancy) and the info about the opportunity are here:
🟧 (3) parts here:
1. How about an archive of office hours with a search feature so that we can quickly refer to Q & A's, Tips, etc.?
2. Status on "Donation" option?
3. Has Substack figured out why some of us have readers/subscribers with stats of 80% email and 1-2% (or less) from Substack? Thank you, enjoying the growth and opportunities on Substack!
✏️ It's clearly Gift Guide season. For those who have put out guides already, are your email opens higher? Any other advice for making them not generic - other than offering non-generic products? TIA!
🟧 - Thank you for giving us back the social images w/o the quotes!
Other things I'd love:
- Word Count
- Integration with Google Photos
- Ability export my posts to Word or a PDF. G-d forbid Substack goes under (puh, puh, puh) I'd love to save and store my content.
✏️ Hi all you brilliant Substackers! How do I generate the prompt for paid subscribers to tell me why they paid? Relatedly, sometimes but not always, when I like someone's post, a little screen pops up saying something to the effect of, Like this post? Why not subscribe/share/upgrade? How would one make that happen?
I come to you all rather than Google to ask this question, as I'd love to riff on paid subscribers. I recently quietly turned my paid option on and got a handful of paid subscribers and feel not only incredibly grateful but also inspired to think bigger, offer more, write better. I had been nervous to do so and was pleasantly surprised. So, I'm wondering what's your experiences been with same? With marketing for paid in a less quiet, more overt way perhaps? Thanks!
🟧 — also, how do you change the little message under the sign up box on the welcome page. I see some people have changed the 'no thanks' to things like 'let me look first', 'maybe later' etc...
I am about to share my first Substack and wonder if others put something in the email header and footer.
🟧 I'm curious what happens when I block someone on Substack. (Not something I do regularly or like to do...but have done twice in the past little while, and very much appreciate the option for such circumstances.)
One person I blocked entirely, and I assume he will not be able to engage with my content but am wondering whether he can still see it if he tries to look me up.
Another person I blocked from leaving comments on my Substack posts, but it seems it might have resulted in the more general type of blocking anyway (same as the first guy).
Again, mostly just curious, but would like to know the specific ramifications of those moves. Thank you! (And hopefully I'll be doing no more blocking!)
✏️ - fellow writers! I am new to Substack and have a question about thumbnails for posts. I have 2 draft posts so far. No thumbnail images show up. Hmmm. How do I get thumbnails for my posts? And yes, one of the draft posts does have an image in it. Thanks!
✏️ - Any authors here that are having trouble getting published, or would normally go the self-published route, that use Substack as a way to "publish" their books?
So, for the 'preferred language' thing... can we do that as writers as well? I would like to have two preferred languages, is that possible?
Hey everyone! Happy Thursday! I started a new project called Wrestle Tales. This was created out of my burn out with wrestling content creation since I'm pushing through rather than resting. I still want to finish 2023 strong even if this year has been ups and downs. I haven't turned on paid subscriptions yet, but there are pledges. I wrote article 1 about all of us having a story - where are passions came from, what was born from our passions. Wrestle Tales is an experiment newsletter that combines my love for wrestling and writing and explore wrestling concepts and give you access to my wrestling novel that I'm going to get done in 2024. I'm looking for new readers - as I have no subscribers as of yet - and I'm not going to just send all my other subs from Squared Circle Society to the new one without their permission. Squared Circle Society will remain as wrestling news and updates. One day I'd like to chat with the head of Sports and introduce myself. 👋 Other than that, I'll be working on Wrestling Tales #2 and trying to bring the novel to life.
Does anyone know if it is possible to change text color? I’d like to make certain text stand out / pop but seems like it’s limited to text type and making it bold. thanks!