232 Comments

Thanks for the update. I agree, this is not about newsletters anymore. We publish movies!!! Movies in a newsletter and people pay for them!!!

Crazy, uh? 😎😎🎥🍿

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Yes! Substack is for movies 🤗

I made a movie (short, animated) and it’s exclusively on Substack:

https://moviewise.substack.com/p/how-to-make-a-movie-for-beginners

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Believe the sky is the limit for SubStack. Many avenues to explore in writing, film, communication, music, photography, travel, politics and more.

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The community of smart, creative people on Substack is just amazing.

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Yes! We don't just have to be consumers; we can also be a creators:

"Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use." — Steve Jobs

From:

Six Films That Leave You Better Off

https://moviewise.substack.com/p/six-films-that-leave-you-better-off

Substack (like Apple) allows us to build our own things 🥳

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Absolutely true! Steve Jobs the one true big tech plutocrat worth listening to? Definitely a high functioning wizard.

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At the very least read/watch Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement speech:

https://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

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Yes I featured this on a post not long ago. Great link.

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Yes. Precisely.

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The Steve Jobs bio by Isaacson is brilliant. Jobs was a genius. A narcissist and a tyrant...but a genius.

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Another interesting commentary on Steve Jobs magic typesetting machines:

https://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php%3Fdate=2003%252F06%252F23.html

Would we have even seen the development of the Mac if Steve hadn't been powerfully motivated by his typesetting class?

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Very cool! I'll check it out! I'm publishing a musical book with video/audio/illustrations and soon......music! So not a "newsletter". Love this article.

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😎😎😎😎

Thanks??? 😇

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How dare they!?

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Don't forget the #1 ingredient to your success thus far: A total commitment to free speech. If Substack remains a platform that welcomes all different views and opinions, it will remain unstoppable.

Start deciding what opinions are acceptable or unacceptable, what information is true and what is "misinformation", caving to the demands of one side or the other, and it will only be a matter of time.

Don't end up on the ash heap of all the other fallen media empires.

Because I love Substack.

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Absolutely brilliant statement! I too love Substack and agree that for it to survive, especially in these challenging and heavily monitored times, it must remain a platform for free speech that welcomes all different views and opinions - there is always an alternative narrative to any discussion, this brings about healthy debate which empowers the writers on Substack to offer their views, findings and information within a healthy forum. Long May it last!

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That's the Spirit Skye. Down to Earth Truth.

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Thank you! I am publishing my first post shortly. I am a fierce defender of “Down to Earth Truth” literally .. l maybe a novice writer here, and now will be writing for pleasure, but l hope to entertain, amuse, challenge and inform from “a life well lived” ..

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You Can. Great pens don't write Great Stories but a Peaceful Mind can bring a revolution through writings. You Will.

These Four Words are Magical.

"You Can You Will ". Contains the power to build Billion Dollars Revenue. Beautiful Niche to write. Anyways I wish for your grand success. Thanks

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Thank you for your encouragement and kind words.

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This is exactly why I joined Substack, too. Free speech for the win.

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Amen to this!! 🙌🏼 Thank you Substack!

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Mmmm, not full free speech though. According to their content guidelines (here : https://substack.com/content), they "may hide or remove explicit content from Substack’s discovery features, including search and on Substack.com".

I mean, allowing nudity is already pretty good for an american company, but limiting its reach is not ideal.

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I was referring to free speech as relates ideas, opinions, arguments, and artistic expression generally. It makes perfect sense for any speech platform to decide whether explicit content is allowed. I think that’s a fair policy.

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Well, you were the one saying "total" :)

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And I stand by it. Would you agree that a “total commitment to free speech” means something slightly different in practice for Substack than say, Pornhub?

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Pornhub has a defined theme, and basically their guidelines are "anything goes if it's not illegal". Which does sound like a total commitment to free speech.

I agree that Substack guidelines being "anything goes of it's not illegal, and also not porn" can be understood : even if I don't agree that all porn is exploitative, some is, and it could be too difficult to differentiate, and hence moderate. So it's a stance that can be understood.

(Although they do compare themselves with Patreon and OnlyFans, so...)

But that's not what's happening : Substack is clearly stating that nudity is ok for journalistic or artistic purposes, BUT they can limit its reach (basically it's a shadowban clause). This is not, by any mean, a total commitment to free speech.

Why would, say, a sex education newsletter using explicit content (for obvious reasons) should be limited ? What's the reason behind it except considering it shocking, and how is that a total commitment to free speech ?

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Yes this is spoken about frequently among writers. Trust SubStack will follow their winning business model, continue to support free speech and innovate. A great example of the fact that free speech is treasured. It will always be valuable.

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This is a solid manifesto. I especially love the stats and how Substack is upending the model for great writers so they do not NEED to work for others. It's wonderful to know their numbers are growing and there is hope ahead in media through innovation.

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Substack combines the best of both worlds without the downsides. In the long run I bet it will grow larger than legacy media and social media, which is a good thing for humanity. Keep protecting free speech and empowering writers!

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I've been here for two months with "Everything is Personal." I included paying and free subscriptions from the start. I have been astounded by the response so far. My subscriber base is building slowly, but I have gained 100 paying subscribers so far, and the advice here for building a publication has been helpful. My Substack, by the way, is entirely a literary publication. I am writing a hybrid book in Substack posts.

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I don't think readers know I'm here. I have a consistent readership of five people and it isn't because of the writing itself. Any suggestions? (I don't even want paid subscriptions).

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Interestingly enough, not wanting paid subscriptions may be your problem. It's common for we writers to say something like that because, down deep, we don't think our work is that valuable, so we "reject the rejection" before it happens (a lot of us grew up having to do that to survive; it's something we know too well). But if you put up "paid subscriptions," (hell, $5/month is "lost in the couch cushion money" to most people), people will take you more seriously. And you will too. You'll put that extra bit of effort that's been there all along into what you write, because you're a nice honest person who wants to give people value for any money they part with. The result will be a self-fulfilling prophecy: you'll become that writer who has something to offer - which you always were.

I'm telling you this out of experience. I've been a published author for 40 years, but I kept coming to the stream and failing to jump over for a year here, until a fellow author who was doing things here pointed out to me that people have been buying what I write for a long time, "so why wouldn't they also be interested in what you think?" As it turns out, they are.

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TcinLA,

I understand how you're making this interpretation. Others may feel as you do. I have decades of experience selling my paintings. I've just discovered that I feel more free giving my art. It's not a commodity. I don't feel doubtful about its value. Why don't you visit my poetry at Writing From the Heart Jewel and leave a comment? Thank you for your reply!

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I absolutely love (and agree!) with this perspective. Though I’m guilty of not having paid subscription on either.. but I’m new to the platform and want people to get taste of the flavorI offer before paying for it. That may be another self-restricting motivation but trying it for now. Told myself by the new year paid is on!

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Thank you for this! I'm thinking very seriously about putting almost all of my work behind the paywall, other than my first-of-the-month newsletter, and maybe a handful of pieces as a taste of what they'll receive. I work too hard, and have too many 4-5 star readers who've been around for months and months.

I appreciate your words!

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There's a way you can put the first third or so out for "free" keeping the rest of the post behind a paywall. It does increase paid subscriptions.

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Can you clarify your thought here: do you think the access to free material increases paid subs, or going more behind the paywall does?

I've been very generous with the first, and am becoming less convinced it's the path to go. Thanks for your time--

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Give them enough they want it all, and be good enough they'll pay to get it.

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I think we're supposed to keep going & maintain consistency.

The difference here is - we're not playing a game to satisfy some arcane algorithm - but a simple one designed to promote consistent writers, because flashes in the pan or dabblers (as with all blogging) is not what anyone wants here.

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Is your comment referring to Writing From the Heart Jewel? I agree with your first line, but the rest is not for you to judge.

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I’m not sure if you’re asking me. I imported my email contact list to begin with. That’s a good way to start.

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Thank you, Laurie. I get very few personal emails.

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IMHO everything is for a reason. Energy ripples beyond our imaginings. The brightest light is the brightest. I'm interested in energy. I see you are too.

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"Energy ripples beyond our imaginings." Thank you for this!

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Wow .. interesting, that is something l aiming to do .. l look forward to reading your hybrid book!

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Awesome read! I tried Revue, tempted with Medium. But I keep coming back to Substack. Give us an app to write, record and publish and bring it all home.

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Revue is great but it has its limits. It serves well for being Twitter newsletter. For that reason, it wouldn't get out of your hardcore audiences. Half of my subscribers doesn't open it at all.

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It's true that there is no "newsletter economy" -- there's an economy, and newsletters are a small part of it.

But neither is the "newsletter boom" over, nor really even dying off. You can't look at one guy who went back to his Day Job without looking at the thousands who haven't. I quit my awesome Day Job and went full-time with my newsletter in 1996. Took me two years to quit my Day Job because there weren't great tools like Substack (or, for that matter, user-owned online shopping carts!) And there were few online to constitute an audience.

Keep rockin', Hamish.

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Oh, “let me count the ways” in which Substack continues to be a dream platform for me. Spending years creating and dreaming of such a space as this...I feel that I’ve arrived to where I belong. Thank you! Don’t change, don’t charge, keep innovating.

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I subscribe to several Substack newsletters that are, in my view, life-changing and wonderful to read. Thank you for creating a platform for such writing. And yes, "creator economy" = an annoying title/trend.

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Thank you for your contribution to liberty, freedom of thought and expression.

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Thank you Hamish, inspiring words that are backed by actions. I’m excited to see the growth in the platform, and really like the model more than Patreon due to it’s integration with marketing features. It is why I chose to launch my Graphic Novel here instead of elsewhere.

Kudos to the team and the network effect that is being built here between excellent writers and cordial audiences. It is a rarity in social platforms that I’m happy to be a part of!

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I absolutely love how you differentiate Substack’s intention and approach. I’ve also struggled to call this project a newsletter because yes in many ways I’m treating it like a digital magazine - my OWN magazine (as someone who used to work for other outlets this excites me!). I also think the community is a strong asset in Substack and I’m hoping as the company grows, you continue to prioritize that aspect. When I tell people about Substack, I’ve been referencing Patreon but also (maybe oddly?) some fo the thinking behind NFTs: mainly that it is the artist who profits, always, from the work they produce. Eliminate the middle man or maybe more accurately turn the middle man into a democratized platform. Sometimes I also think of Substack as an agent (I used to be one myself) making a commission from each paid subscription, which would obviously motivate them to support writers. The only potential downfall with that is putting more effort behind already-popular platforms... but the weekly suggests seems to be a good way to counter-act that (if emerging writers/Substack pages are included). Thank you what you do! 🙌

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Dang, Hamish, I sure appreciate your confident, bold advocacy for the work Substack is doing and the value independent writers bring.

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I am paying for several subscriptions and supporting this concept as I think it is important and the way we need to go to save the journalism profession from its collapse.

My worry though is that the investors of Substack are going to sell out to the same Wall Street owners of the rest of the corporate media, and/or the company is going to grow large enough that it hires the woke campus bots in administration and those people start dismantling the freedom and independence of the journalists using the platform.

I used to comment on the WSJ and that has been corrupted by woke censors.

I don't have much confidence that success of Substack will not lead to the same. And if and when it happens, I am canceling everything.

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This is why we should always - just in case - write our pieces in Word or whatnot first - so if this place does ever sell out, we still have all of our work. I really hope not though - may this bandwagon continue for decades!

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I'm a humble writer, but a big fan! Thanks, Substack.

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transparency is great hamish. keep sticking to that

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