Product news for writers: Fresh tools, updates, and fixes
The latest news from the Substack product team
At Substack, we’re focused on building for and with writers. Read on for a rundown of what’s new, what’s different, and what’s been fixed—and chime in in the comments section with your feedback.
Refreshed homepage navigation bar
We’ve released new header navigation for publication homepages, designed to merge the best of our different layout themes and provide a consistent navigation experience for readers.
The new navigation bar displays links to Home (the publication’s homepage), Archive (all posts), and About (the publication’s About page) by default. If a publication has sections, those section headers will also live in this streamlined navigation bar.
For added peace of mind, writers can now preview what their post will look like in different contexts before publishing. This option can be found using the “Preview” button at the upper right corner of the post editor, and includes options to see what the post will look like for email vs. web, desktop vs. mobile, and for free vs. paid subscribers.
The “Secret draft link” and “Send test email” functionalities have moved out of the general post settings and into the preview screen in the “Test” menu, so you’ll now use the new “Preview” button to access these options.
Finally, the word count has moved into the information icon in the lower left corner of the editor, along with a sentence count, character count, and an estimated reading and speaking time.
Want to use images to greater visual effect? Writers can now use the three-dot menu in the upper right corner of the image to “Set large size,” which will allow the image to break out of the column width without going full-screen. Writers can drag the arrows in the lower right corner of the image to adjust the image size.
Here’s how the large size format looks in action, from 3 Worlds / 3 Moons new comic, RUINS. (Note: the large size will only render on web, not within email.)
Audio embeds on Twitter
If you publish podcasts or audio posts, you’ll notice a change to how non-paywalled podcast posts appear when shared on Twitter. These links now display as an audio player within the tweet, and listeners can play the audio directly from Twitter.
Here’s a recent example from a Booksmart Studios tweet:
Bug fix: Reader view stats
We have corrected a bug in how post views were calculated that caused email opens to be double-counted in the stats on the writer dashboard. As a result of this fix, view counts will now appear lower than before. The stats for open rates were unaffected by the bug.
We understand that errors like this can be stressful for writers. As our team has increased the cadence at which we roll out new features, we hope to keep learning from writer feedback and improving our processes and communication.
We want to thank the writers who’ve already shared their feedback with us, and invite everyone to leave their feedback about these updates in the comments, as well as to bring their product thoughts and questions to upcoming Writer Office Hours threads.