When should I turn on paid subscriptions?
At Substack, we believe that writing is inherently valuable. We make it easy to earn money for your work, supported directly by your readers.
If you want to earn money today on Substack, we recommend enabling payments by connecting to Stripe, our payment processor. This takes less than five minutes to set up.
Then ask yourself:
Do you have an audience already, on Substack or elsewhere?
Are you committed to writing consistently for your subscribers?
If you answered yes to both, you’re ready for a full launch. We’ve created a comprehensive launch checklist to help you pick a price, build a content strategy, craft an announcement post, and promote your publication far and wide. Don’t be shy; punctuate this moment by letting the world know.
If you’re still building your list or getting into the hang of regular writing, we recommend launching quietly to start. You can still enable paid subscriptions and pick a price—some readers might be ready to support you already—but wait to start paywalling posts or do a marketing push until you’ve found your rhythm and grown your audience.
Note that there’s no one way to succeed with paid subscriptions:
Publish some free posts to attract new subscribers, but paywall your deep dives or behind-the-scenes content.
Examples: Recovering and Lenny’s Newsletter
Keep posts free, but paywall the community like comments, Chat, and events.
Examples: Blocked and Reported and DrawTogether
Keep everything free, but use the social mission of your work to encourage paid subscriptions.
Examples: CAFÉ ANNE and Popular Information
Paywall all posts, but use the free preview tool to share teasers. This works best if you already share free work elsewhere, like on social media.
Examples: Doomberg and Morning Person
Still not sure about paid subscriptions?
All new publications have Pledges enabled, which lets your readers commit to paying a future subscription. Pledges help you build confidence that readers love and value your writing.
If you decide to turn on payments, pledged readers will be automatically converted to paying subscribers. You can turn pledges off via your settings if you’d rather not receive them.
Learn more: Check out tips and stories from writers who have gone paid on Substack. Plus, download our going paid checklist.