904 Comments

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🧠 I'm finding Notes to be a useful way to reach out to other newsletter publishers and readers as well. I've gotten a few new subscribers, perhaps a handful, but I think it's got the potential for building good acquaintances, if nothing else. I'm also discovering some interesting new reads that way. It does fill about 25% of the void that formed after I quit Twitter but with very few negative aspects so far. I don't really see it as a way to attract a lot of new readers but I'm not too concerned about that. I use Notes far more than Chat (just couldn't build the Chat habit, it didn't take for me).

🧠 I've gotten hundreds of new subscribers via Recommendations, which does seem swell but: my Open rates are lower than I'd like - I have a feeling that some readers just blindly clicked on Recommendations when they subscribed to someone else and my newsletter might not quite be to their tastes? Dunno. So Recommendations might not always convert to happy readers... not sure. But better to have them than not.

✏️ I don't use cross-posting very often, wondering what everyone else's experience is with using it.

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I've used cross posting sparingly. Re-Stacking has largely replaced it for me- less friction, I'm taking up less space in a reader's inbox, and I can highlight a favorite quote or passage.

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Yeah. I feel trepidation in doing a cross-post for fear of inbox spamming. Re-stacking is great, though. Especially with the quote feature.

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all good points and I do the same. No need for anyone "out there" to see any notes, I prefer this as sort of insider gossip

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Me too. I haven't crossposted at all yet. I do like restacking.

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Thanks for this idea kevin. I have never done it and did not know this was an option.Wil try it soon.

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Is it actually better to have more readers/subscribers? I would think it's better to have higher open rates and fewer readers because those people are more engaged, right?

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Quality > quantity. Always. We've been conditioned by social media to think more is better, but on here, that's not always the case.

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I have so much trouble embracing this! I started my Substack with the intention of publishing a couple times a month, but quickly fell into the weekly newsletter + paid offering format in order to grow. Very curious what your schedule looks like!

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I'm not sure if you were asking me (apologies if you weren't!), but mine looks like this:

-Monday: Discussion thread

-Wednesday: Short form article (5-850 words)

-Thursday: Longer form work (generally paywalled) or artist interview (never paywalled)

-Friday: Short form

-Saturday: A semi-regular round up of news or other things I've found share-worthy. Like an old fashioned link drop from back in the day, but usually with mixed media (paywalled)

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I'm starting to NOT keep in touch with my readers enough, so I really need to mix it up—thanks for posting your schedule.

Does anyone know who exactly receives a "Note" when it is published? Is it just your subscribers, or anyone and everyone who writes on Substack?

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Once again... great idea. I am making my life so hard by trying to write big pieces every day.

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Hey Kevin, I really like the structure and it's given me ideas of how I could give my readers more. Have you found this posting schedule works out for you in terms of effort in and growth out? Thanks again for sharing this.

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Ohhh this is a lot but sounds brilliant! Well done!

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Thanks and wow! Impressive! In my world that's a pretty high quantity! Great that you found something that works for you.

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What's the difference between short/long form and short/long?

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RAE! You know what I am thinking now 😂

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LOL. Ya. I'm a sucker for pain.

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I am subscribed to one substack that has at least 5-10 posts a day. Needless to say I don't read them all. I scan the headlines, and oftentimes the substack goes little farther than the actual headline.

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Personally, I would unsubscribe pretty quickly. Always on the verge of overload anyway, but getting that many would quickly drive me away to move on to perceived higher quality over higher quantity.

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What is being posted 10 times, though?

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They are usually small posts, maybe three five paragraphs. Other times they are just crossposts. At times some of the posts are enlightening and interesting, but other times it seems like "posting to be posting."

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I am a firm believer that less is more. My newsletter is fortnightly - I subtitle it Thought for the Fortnight - and that seems fine. Nobody is over-burdened but it is fun to look forward to. look at the About link.

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In the end, it all depends. Depends on the size of the newsletter, the value provided, etc. Another newsletter I get will have a "meme" on occasion and then a long article. Then again, I look forward to anything they put out as it is usually primo material.

Another newsletter I get will sometimes come on and apologize for not updating enough, and it puzzles me because I don't feel any great urgency to receive the newsletter, and also am not sure of the estimated frequency of sending out posts.

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That's a...lot, even by my standards!

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eegads. That's too much!

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Sometimes more is way too much.

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It's just like having sales "prospects" which means nothing until you qualify them as really having the potential to become customers. Or webinar attendees. Some people get excited when they have hundreds of attendees. The BIG question is, how many of them are just "butts in seats" or "muffin munchers" who only came for the snacks. I'd rather have 10 regular readers than 1000 non-readers.

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"Muffin munchers" 😂

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You could easily pick them out of the crowd as they came into the room.

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I'd rather have 10 instagram followers than 1000 bots.

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Yes! And there's also the question (at least for me) of whether they are not only regular readers but also might consider buying/paying. Some of my most consistent readers (who've followed me for years, then came over when I switched to Substack) refuse to pay for anything but read every free post (sometimes opening them multiple times, etc.). Not good or bad, but I'm more interested in 5 readers willing to pay than 100 readers who want everything to always be free.

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I think it is better to focus on writing and creating consistent quality content and the readers will come. Networking will be required for sure but without the quality content...

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I'm averaging 75% open rate, albeit with a small audience of only a couple hundred subscribers after 3 months of Stacking. That percentage feels pretty good, but I'm not sure what other writers are experiencing in early days.

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This is a great open rate, and mirrors my experience when I had less than 200 readers. My open rates started dropping as my subscriber count grew - I’m in the low 60s now. With the recent introduction of some spam subscribes, I seem to have dropped to the high 50s.

My main objective is engagement, not subscriber count, so this drop is concerning to me. I will probably do an email purge pretty soon for accounts that are not opening/viewing.

I am also concerned this is a logical byproduct of relying too heavily on the Substack network to grow by any metric used. People who subscribe to me now often “read” 50 or 100 or more substacks, which is bonkers. They are not reading this many substacks, which then works counter productive to my goal of building community.

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good to know your experience. Thanks for sharing. Frankly I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed just taking an hour for this dialogue with y'all. I don't have any clue how people subscribe to that many writers. I like to actually read people's stuff. To quote David Carradine "focus grasshopper"

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I always worry about that when I see subscribers who are reading so many subs. Even 20 is a lot, I can barely keep up with the few that I do read.

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I wonder if this is a consequence to the recommendation engine? 🤔

Readers are clicking Yes, without thinking or intending to read the related newsletters?

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That's a really good open rate. I would celebrate that.

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Thanks Sarah, my subs are mostly friends to start, which is what is recommended. I'd be pissed if they weren't opening it. Now to grow beyond...

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Ha! The challenge for many of us.

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That is impressive Dee. I can tell my example - 7 months of Stacking ( took this word Stacking it from you :D ) and 30 subscribers and growing ... open rate of 80%

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and then if you take some time off, you're Stack-a-lacking

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Ha ha.. good one.

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I was going to say the same as Sarah. That's excellent, way better than the average I'm sure. I'm at about 42% average. I think because I carried over a (TINY) preexisting list of folks who once subscribed to my deadbeat Tumblr and most of them weren't necessarily real themselves, that my list is a little skewed to the nonresponsive side. But I do notice any of the new real subscribers since I've landed here and emailed to my own contact are way more engaged. I guess I could simply change those odds by deleting some of the unresponsive emails but it's hard to anyone go at this small stage.

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Yeah, this is a great open rate! I've seen my open rates drop to about 50% after a few years of 'stacking. Not sure if that's general inbox fatigue, fatigue about what I'm posting, or what. Regardless, I think the industry average is less than 30% (if I'm remembering correctly), so 75% is definitely great!

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I think that's great! Especially after three months

How often do you post and how did you grow in your subscribers and the amount of open rates?

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I've been averaging twice a week. Once on Wednesday-ish and once on weekends. Oddly weekends have better traction. Growth has been organic. FB friends, word of mouth, and a handful of like-minded writers here on Substack that have found my content.

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I go for higher open rates. I'm considering purging my innactive subs except I can't tell if they are reading it in the app instead of e-mail. That's the hard part to discern. I don't want to purge someone who's views aren't through e-mail.

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In the subscriber list you can sort by emails opened or by posts viewed. I’m not totally sure on this, but I think posts viewed might be the views online or in the app. I have many people with zero email opens who are engaged in my comments, and I think it’s because they are counted under views.

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I'm just curious as to why. I don't particularly care about open rates and figure someone may ignore it for six months before opening again.

Just curious really.

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It depends on what your definition of success is. If it’s # of subscribers, it makes sense to keep them all. If it’s engagement, then low open rates can be improved by eliminating folks who aren’t engaging.

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Open rates indicate that they aren't just bots or such like. There's been an increase of odd subscriptions others have noted.

My goal is a 40% open rate becasue otherwise, what's the point of having subs? It's a fake number that won't convert to paid.

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Fair enough, and the bots point is good. I don't have enough readers to worry about that yet haha.

I'm never going to put anything behind a paywall and, when I reach a high enough number, launch a "donations" system if people want to support me. So I guess that's why I value subs over engagement.

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When my rate does drop, I was toying with the idea of emailing inactive seeming subscribers and asking whether they wanted to continue receiving the newsletter and giving them the option to unsubscribe.

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Hi Marisa, I think you've captured my concern: there's a lot of value in higher open rates. I don't feel that I've got any right to complain, probably just shows me an opportunity.

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Open rates will go down as you gain more subscribers. If Substack can publish some average benchmarks it would be helpful to people. For example a 1000 subscriber newsletter has an average OR of x%

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This would be very helpful information to benchmark against.

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It's tough. Everyone wants more subscribers. We would love for them all to be "quality" subscribers, but it's tough to control that. Depends on where they come from. Personally, I think I would prefer to have 100 subscribers with 30 of them "quality" as opposed to just 30 "quality" subscribers.

Reason? Those 70 may not be quality, but some do read some, some do share on rare occasion, some might eventually get hooked, and some of them just might share with the right people at the right time. Work towards quality (both in your work AND your subscribers), but I say, the more the merrier.

Visit my substack, "The Art of Unintended Consequences" to see many instances of unexpected things happening. Maybe that "low quality" subscriber is the one who causes you to break out. 😉

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I would absolutely prefer higher open rates. I'm in the process of shutting down my second WordPress blog because it never converted to an audience. Individual posts get attention but people didn't sign up to come back. I want people who will come back over and over again.

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Good point. Although—Someone just subscribed to my stack who is also reading over 500 other stacks.

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Are they reading them, or hoarding them?

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Haha. Hoarder? Very odd. A bot?

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deletedMay 18, 2023·edited May 18, 2023
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You're right, Brad. I keep meaning to do some pruning myself. But please don't prune me from yours: I will get back to reading and leaving insightful comments soon.

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Hey Brad, Do you automatically prune them or do you send them a message letting them know you have noticed they aren't engaged and you're happy to unsubscribe them? Curious what you've found works well.

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Noobie questions.

1) If someone has zero stars - they haven't opened that post?

2) What, in your opinion, is a good open rate? I'm running about 52% but have no understanding to gauge if that is good or not.

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52 is generally considered good.

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Yes, I've been thinking a lot about doing some pruning. I used to be scared of doing that but I'm less worried about it now.

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I hardly ever cross-post. I'm a writer, I think I have things to say. It isn't a team sport. Sometimes I have had guest posts, which elicit the comment: "When are you coming back? I also have little use for Chat, don't understand what it's for. And I wouldn't think of asking my subscribers to check out Notes. Their mailboxes are choked enough with stuff they don't want or need. I feel protective of them, and don't see why my Notes would interest them. It's a different function that I use only to share a thought with other Substack writers.

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While I am a writer, I am also a reader. And as much as I think what I have to say has value, I also think what others have to say has value. Plus, there are times I read other writers and they provide touchstones on the very things I want to write about. I think I would then recommend them, if not cross post with them

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Totally agree, Jimmy. It's just that there is a lot of reading outside Substack that needs to be done. Books to read, magazines I subscribe to, newspapers. I am a media being. I do not wish to spend excessive time in the Substack bubble, which, as fond as I am of this platform and the people who make it hum, is what too many of the new features seem to encourage.

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Well said. In the last few weeks I've taken a step back from the bubble so I can enjoy some books + magazines + newspapers. It's an important thing to do, and to continue doing, because one could spend all their time in the bubble, especially now that there's Notes (not bashing it, just pointing out that it's an endless scroll). I'm still pretty new around here (a little over three months), and I feel like I actually burnt myself out a bit with how much time I was committing to the platform.

All that said... I have yet to cross-post anything, but I'm actually planning an, I don't know, 3-6 week period where I'll be cross-posting one writer per week. During that time I'll be writing new content and planning future stories/essays, etc. It won't be something I'll do regularly, but I feel like the cross-post feature could be put to good use during periods of silence. Kind of like, "Hey, I'm taking a little break, but I'd love to introduce you to John Doe. I think you might like what they're doing." I feel like as long as you're upfront with your subscribers doing so will be just fine.

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I think you're also exactly right, Garrett, about using cross-posts introducing other writers. It is a good communal and generous thing to do. I'm celebrating two years of my Substack and occasionally I repost something from the first months when I had many fewer readers. One can do that do, reissues from the catalog! If I'm really lazy I see what's trending on Twitter, which had a contretemps with Substack not long ago, and if something suits the trend, I may invade my own archives and repost. But it's got to be a special case.

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That seems like a good approach.

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Usually while in the substack Bubble, I am going in and out of the semi permeable membrane. As I read one substack, they point me to outside articles, which in turn leads me to still others, and combine this with the other things I do in a given day, there is balance, or a frenetic meandering in both within and out of the bubble.

As far as what substack encourages, of course they want to encourage more "in platform" use.

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I feel like cross-posting could be an interesting way to supplement our own writing or to share with readers what's resonating with us at a given time. What we read and enjoy provides insight into how we think. It also gives a glimpse of the kinds of writing that influence us.

Plus, if used well and with discernment, it can be a mutually beneficial way for writers to amplify each others' work.

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I haven’t tried cross-paying yet either but am interested in giving it a go

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Writing CAN be a team sport when writers collaborate, but I'm like you. I write solo. Still, the idea of becoming part of a vibrant community of writers was a long-held dream that has come true here. Like you, I wouldn't inflict yet another social network on my readers, but this is a great way to share ideas and thoughts with colleagues and peers.

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Thank you Howard. The writing I did used to be a team sport: newspaper and magazine newsrooms, full of noise, smoke, fascinating characters, brilliant (and not so brilliant) oddball editors, going out for drinks after work...I lived my best life in newsrooms. That's almost all gone (thank you internet and vulture capitalism), and I'm afraid that I don't get that same camaraderie, sense of shared mission, in this part of the 21st century. I have found many new writers, a few friends, and even solid acquaintances here on Substack.

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Oh, this raises an interesting question that I'd be curious to have others weigh in on:

Do you post to Notes with an eye to your audience/readers or use it more to network with other writers?

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Both. I like the community feel of Notes, but I also see it as a place to showcase my own work, as well as the work of others I follow. It's a very positive place to be!

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It seems to me my audience rarely, if ever, see me on notes although I am frequently there. I enjoy it to engage with other writers and find new things to read and see. It's the community for me.

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Thanks, Wayne, for speaking to me. I agree, writing is not a team sport although it can be mutually supportive which is perhaps the point. Like you, I am a write so I have things to say. Maybe we are just traditional that way. I also was encouraged via Substack to Join me on Notes after a recent post, which I did because it was seamless but I didn't know what to do when on there! It just seems like another way to plug someone's email. I write an essay. Then I publish the audio of that essay with commentary and my own rambling (and sometimes not rambling but insightful (I think)) notes and stories about my content. That's what I do. Take it or leave it.

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Well, Faith, if you put it that way, I'll take it!

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I only use cross-posting when I'm mentioned in a post AND it's something that might really resonate with my readers. I don't cross-post just anything that I'm mentioned in or is related to my 'stack since it hits my readers' inboxes and I don't want to overwhelm them.

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Same. This is why I've really embraced re-stacking instead.

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I'd love to know exactly what re-stacking goes... And I'd also love to figure out exactly can read each Note I publish... Thanks anyone?

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Does Cross-Posting send a new email or is it an embed in your regular newsletter email?

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There's a new tool added recently to embed a post in your newsletter, which I prefer to cross-posting.

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Ohhhhh, that's cool. I didn't know that was possible. Thanks for sharing!

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A new email

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Thanks for letting us know.

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ditto Valorie. I flood their inbox enough as it is

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deletedMay 18, 2023·edited May 18, 2023
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Is the mocking tone necessary, Brad?

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Wow. I just started reading it, got four words in, and the post disappeared.

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He was just reiterating everything I said but also implying I was stupid for saying it.

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Getting hundreds of subscribers thru recommendations is impressive. Lots of people recommend mine, but it hasn't generated hundreds of new sign-ups. Still more than I would have had though, so I'm very grateful to them.

AS for lower open rates, I've found the sme. A few office hours ago someone who seemed to know what he was talking about said that open rates decline as you get more subscribers. I don't see why that should be the case. One reason I thought was that the Substack people do such a great job of encouraging all to promote each other that perhaps people have signed up for lots of Substacks but still have the same amount of time in which to read them. I know that's what I've done, so I end up not reading or commenting on some for weeks on end sadly.

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Nothing gives me less confidence than receiving a new subscription from someone who reads "867 other Substacks. Or even one-tenth of that. The idea of Substack as a constant recommendation loop seems silly unless the platform hits a critical mass in which it has become a kind of default destination for readers worldwide.

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I agree with you to a large extent, Wayne. I do often think there's a kind of Matthew effect going on with Substack. However, I do think it's better to have more subscribers than fewer, and there's always the chance that the person who reads 867 others will prioritise mine! 😂

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Terry, I appreciate your optimism. And I agree that open rates don't have to decline as your readership grows, but if you're getting subscribers through cheap tricks, salesmanship, or other devices you will likely see a decline as those subscribers don't read much. One of the hardest things for me is to resist "promoting" my Substacks in too "salesy" a way. I want the writing to attract them, not my salesmanship.

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I'm with you there, Howard. I even feel awkward about putting the Subscribe button in my posts. Being someone who is embarrassed by the very idea of self-promotion, I'm quite pleased that Substack makes it easy for us to promote each other.

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I'm convinced those reading "867 other Substacks" are either bots scraping the site for content or fodder for AI programming.

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I don't have many subscribers but I have noticed the open rate has gone down as the # of subscribers goes up.

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yes I think the "true readers" are very rare special birds. I wonder if I should have a 5-star reader party somehow to celebrate them...hmmm.

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In my case there are extenuating factors which I believe have supercharged the effect of one of the Recommendations (i.e. that person was featured in the weekly Substack Reads email so I think there was a repeater effect from that).

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definitely a prime example of the network effect. grats!

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I can relate to this.

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I cross-posted a few times, but I've discovered that "restacking" a post is much more effective at helping other writers and building my own relationships with other writers and readers. So I'm very thankful for that development.

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Thanks for this Sarah.

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I am also finding that open rates have declined since using Notes, anyone else? I'm wondering if people who click "subscribe" on Notes are actually consciously or subconsciously looking for more Notes, and note necessarily for long-form content.

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I hear you on that, Mark. I've seen my open rates dip recently, and I think that subs from Recommendations might be contributing. But, maybe some other writers out there who've serialized something before could speak to this...

✏️ When you serialize a work, do you notice open rates getting lower?

On one end, I've thought, "Yeah, that makes sense. Because there's a drop-off of readers. Those who haven't read Parts 1-3 won't open Part 4 when it hits their inbox."

But I also have a hunch that the repetitive naming of a project won't play nicely with email service providers. For example, the novel I'm serializing is titled And in the Dark They Are Born. And each subject line has the following structure: And in the Dark They Are Born, Part X. And so I think, say, Gmail sees this and is like, "Ehh, that's really close to the email this person sent a week ago. Let's throw that in Spam(or default all future sends to the Promotions tab)."

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I don't think I've ever cross-posted. I'm generous with outbound links and I Restack often, but cross-posting never seemed all that appealing. I suppose I'd feel differently if I wrote an essay taking one position (Twitter is a goldmine everyone needs to work in) and you rebutted my essay with your own essay (Twitter is trash and anyone who spends time there stinks). In that case, I see how cross-posting adds value to both of our audiences because it shows them the dialogue we've chosen to create. But if it's just a simple mention or a shout out, as opposed to the whole piece, I think cross-posting is overkill. Of course, neither of us really writes pieces like that, and I think we have very similar feelings about Twitter :)

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One possibility for cross-posting is that it's a way to fill in a gap in your own publishing schedule if you write an opening with some analysis about the article in question but that kinda feels like cheating...

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I never really considered that possibility. I don't think it's cheating. I'm just not sure what the value is, aside from keeping up a pub cadence without doing a full dive into a topic. I suppose that's the logic of round-up posts, but I prefer those because you get a few different offerings, like a buffet!

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I tried to edit a comment.

Instead, my original comment vanished.

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I've absolutely no idea, Mr. Gottfried!

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✏️ Hi everyone! New to office hours so apologies if I get the etiquette here wrong!! Fairly new to substack, writing weekly about our travel experiences, midlife, parenting and thoughts on the world. I can see a lot of advice here around growth and community and diving onto these boards, notes and comments and so I'm wondering on average how much time/how often people are spending on engagement as opposed to creation?

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I block about 30-40 minutes the day after a newsletter runs to make sure and respond to everyone.

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Great idea! Thank you, that's helpful! I want to be here more but I'm not there yet!

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Try full-time freelancing if you want to feel there's never enough time. You have to create, sell what you create, and keep in touch with your network. My own joke is that I'm Howard M. Cohen looking for Howard M. Clone. Tell me, do you still do useless time-wasting things like sleep?? :)

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Sleeping is so overrated Howard. :D

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I have a time every day where I respond to comments on my posts and read and comment on at least one other Substack. I also try to come to Office Hours 2-3 times a month. :)

I don't currently promote my newsletter in any other way but have been thinking about doing some "old school" promo like a business card or postcard with a QR code.

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Welcome, Louise!

I try to spend about 15-20 minutes a day engaging with other writers by commenting and sharing in notes. But it tends to turn into 30-40 minutes if I add reading pieces and sharing them to notes!

I'll spend about 15-20 minutes a day engaging with any replies I get because of my interactions/any replies on my own pieces. (So I visit my notifications once or twice a day).

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Thank you Cierra! That's really helpful!

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I would say I’m 3/4 creativity 1/4 replies maybe... welcome to Substack!

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Hey guys! Thanks for fixing the problem I signaled last week, with the threads not redirecting correctly. I’m having a wonderful time exploring all these community features. Recommendations, in particular, have been so fun and useful for me. I love recommending other Substacks, and thus sharing with my readers all the cool stuff I myself have been reading. And a very cool thing: it’s happened a few times for a writer to recommend my blog without me asking them to! I can’t put into words how empowering that feels.

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✏️🟧

Hi everyone!

I need some advice on a problem I’ve encountered when describing my substack, where I, at least, attempt to, write funny stuff - because I can’t describe it as funny, because there’s nothing less funny that self-proclaimed funniness. So I’m at a loss on how to describe it! Or am I overthinking this! 

 Any thoughts?



Here it is if you fancy checking it out: https://wrongchannel.substack.com/


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Hi Sam! I write humor too. This is, shall we say, a challenge that comes with the territory. Nothing wrong with telling people your stuff is funny, but a better strategy is always to show rather than tell. I took a look at your Substack, and I think you're heading in the right direction. That is, it was obvious at first glance that you're writing funny stuff. My advice is to keep refining your pitch. Try writing some log lines that express the POV of your humor without saying "this is funny." Then try the best log lines out and see how they work. It'll take some time, but you'll get there.

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In your pitch letter to new subscribers and prospects, post a couple of samples of your humor. You might want to pin one of your best pieces at the top of your magazine home page so prospects can quickly decide whether they get your humor. Be sure that in your pitch you mention that you are known as a humor writer. Jokes often are the truth in the eyes of the writers and at least some readers.

Also, post a list of the best books you have read about how to be humorous. We all pine to entertain.

In the stock, bonds and commodities markets the funniest people pretend they can predict anything. Most people get the joke.

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Thanks Donald! I'll take that all on board. I've pinned my strongest article this second, in fact.

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Another idea. Write funny comments, long and short, on other Substack humorists' comments sections. Be happy when they do the same for you.

My best sources of new subscribers are comments sections where I comment under my byline. That way people can check me out and decide whether to subscribe, or not.

Given my topic, it's mostly not.

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haha thanks Donald, that's a good shout! You've just earned yourself another subscriber with that comment

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Hi Michael, that's some handy advice! Thanks mate

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the POV of the humour is what I've been trying to capture I think, that's very helpful

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It's a process. I think your POV comes early, but it can often take some time for you to see it clearly and articulate it. At least, that's been my experience.

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I think that's it - I think I know what my POV is but I'll be damned if I can express it

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Use words like humor, comedy, funny, parody in your write ups. Or you can just let the writing speak for itself. "Nevertheless, it seems a bit silly for me to sit here in my uncle’s underpants and try to convince anyone they will unquestionably enjoy my writing."

Uncle's underpants is funny!

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You're right, it is.

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I resent that, my uncle's underpants are not a laughing matter.

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I don't think there's anything wrong with self-proclaims funniness! I think it's actually pretty awesome.

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Stick with it! It's a process, like most things. Check out Flourish if you ever want to pursue a residency or grant. I try to keep them updated.

I just posted a fresh residency program and a grant program with no deadline.

Warmest regards,

Elizabeth

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I think a good workaround for you would be to ask for short testimonials from your current readers and hope one of them says something about your newsletter being funny. Or, if that doesn't work out, ask your friends to describe you and use those as quotes on your about page or newsletter description. This way, you still describe your newsletter as funny but with someone else's social proof.

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Hi Jenn, that's a great idea. Thank you I'll do that. Once somebody comment on my article "If ever words were to dance on a page." Then on the same article someone comments "Like a child that stumbled upon a thesaurus." I reckon I'll include them both on my page

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Both sound great!

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Humorist, Sam Briggs. I, too, am of the personal humour persuasion. I try to lead with voice and humanistic reasoning without being gimmicky! Funny is a tricky thing!

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Thanks for the advice! Yeah I think that's it - humour is the closest thing in the english language. I can just about bare calling my writing humour writing, I think

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I know what you mean, Sam. I always avoid novels or tv progs that are billed as "Fred Blog's hilarious new..." I agree with Paul: let the humor speak for itself. That's what I've done and it seems to work.

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Thanks Terry. Yeah I think you're right, that's the way to go. It's a tough thing to condense and get across in the ehe welcome page thingy though

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Are you saying you're not sure how to categorize your newsletter besides humor? I think it's okay to put yourself in that category if that's where you feel it belongs.

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thank you! Oh no, I'm in there already! The secondary one I'm surely not sure, I've gone for culture... but that's a quantum stretch, so I don't know! I was more thinking about how to describe my substack, especially on the welcome page

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Do they have a category on the "explore" page for comedy?

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They have humour! but it's right at the very end

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✏️ Looking to cross-post or recommend each other with writers in the software or data field

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Hi Ivan! Please check out biztechjournal.substack.com! Thanks!

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Just signing up today on advice of a well-known author. I'm planning to dive in over the weekend. To fellow writers and Substack team: what would you recommend as the first thing to do to immerse myself for a quick start? Thanks!

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🟧 What do the activity stars mean next to our subscribers? If a subscriber only has one star beside their name, what does that signify? Did they read our newsletter? Most of my subscribers have either 1 star or 5 stars—why is that?

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If you click on subscribers individually in Settings, Substack provides a detailed account of when they received the email, if they opened it and when, and their history. It's really cool to figure out who is actually keen to read your stuff. I check from time to time and it provides excellent feedback on core readers, who is enjoying the writing.

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Thanks for that tip! I did not know I could click on individual subscribers to get more detailed info like that.

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Thank you, Faith! That's very helpful.

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Thanks for this! I didn't know it got that detailed! Gonna spend some time there in the next few weeks to get ready for June.

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The stars next to your subscriber's email on your Subscribers dashboard represents how actively the subscriber has used your newsletter in the last month; this includes email opens and web views.

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oh good to know it's only for the last month

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did not know it was only last month, great to know this.

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✏️ 🟧 Oof, too late again! I was wondering if it's better to name your handle after yourself or your newsletter ...?

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I’m unable to find the emojis

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Did you find the emojis Anju? Can you please tell me where they are (I would insert one here if I knew!).

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Can you copy and paste them?

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Yes I will try that. Thank you.

I see you write about mental health. I just subscribed to your newsletter.

I write about Positive Solitude. Hope you you will check it out.

Anju Jolly

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🟧 When I cut and paste or try to drag images within a post, the captions disappear. Is there a way to move them without having to retype the captions?

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I've noticed this too! Such a pain. I'll report this. What web browser do you use?

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Hi Bailey, thanks so much. My workaround is pasting the caption into text edit and then moving the image and repasting but it can slow me down as I have a lot of images. It is probably because I am using Safari. It probably doesn't happen on Chrome.

Separately I did UX for a long time so I notice bugs and wondering where/how to report them? These are minor quibbles given there is so much great functionality.

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🟧 I often use the footnote feature in my newsletter. But, that doesn't work while using the "Pull Quote" - though, it does while using the "Block Quote" feature. If possible, can that be enabled?

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And please, let's expand our definition of "value" too. Think about the readers, of course. Always keep them in mind and what they are wanting, but that could be a laugh. To see something pretty you created each week, you writing about something more vulnerable that is a "everyone's thinking it but no one is saying it" type piece.

I've been stressed for enough years trying to figure out niches and super sterile strategies and am opening my mind to what value gets to mean.

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Hello Cierra.

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Ah, I found it! Hiiii!

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I feel like maybe Rihanna *would* go to the Oscars dressed in her pajamas, but only so many of us can pull that off I suppose

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True that Bailey.

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