What you read matters; so does where you read it
“Let’s turn the page”
Substack truly is the best of media at the moment. It genuinely feels like a community and a space to grow and thrive. I consider myself both a writer and reader Thank you for creating such wonderful opportunities for us.
Thank you for adding audio to our posts automatically. Now folks can listen while driving. 👏👂
Some ideas for attracting readers:
First off, I want to say how much I love being on Substack. My mental health has improved since switching my networking efforts to Substack instead of social media. Most engagements here are authentic, and I'm part of a community. Thank you to Chris, Hamish, Mills, and the team.
I'm grateful, and that's why I want to grow together with Substack's improvements. Here's my idea:
Imagine if Substack made it easier to collaborate with filmmakers, musicians, and animators. Elle Griffin has a great article called No one will read your book, which, in part, explains the supply and demand problem. We have too many writers and too few readers. Most successful writers on Substack (unless they were established beforehand) provide information rather than stories and poems. What if we increased the demand for writers on Substack by attracting film students, producers, and music students — people who need writers?
It would also be helpful to have a formatting system that allows for scripts. Almost all the expert advice on Substack boils down to creating a community and collaborating. Screenplays and TV scripts are the best writing forms for collaboration.
Just imagine if Substack writers found people they wanted to write with, wrote a series, combined their networks, and could find producers right here on Substack.
This is just an idea, but I'm definitely curious if it's possible.
The "Writer Bundle" Pitch.
Sometimes I struggle with our Substack newsletters being in a similar price range as Kindle Unlimted, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, HBO Max, etc. Plus, we're often more expensive than established magazine subscriptions.
How can a single writer offer the same value as a corporation with content from thousands of writers and artists?
Many agree the answer is offering unique and specialized content that caters to niche interests, providing a personalized experience. This allows readers to connect directly with the writer and support their work.
So, discover what you have to offer, define your niche, tailor your work to what your readers want to read, network with those with a similar audience, and publish consistently at the correct times. In other words, marketing.
Unfortunately, there is only so much time in the day, and as an independent writer, marketing often comes at the expense of quality writing.
This got me thinking. Many of us have a similar niche or audience, so why not create "writer bundles." There are ways to do something similar with multiple publications under the same account, recommendations, and gift subscriptions. Still, we don't have the opportunity to subscribe to 5-10 of our favourite writers for the price of _____.
Yes, it would be discounted, meaning each writer gets paid less than a direct subscription, but it also means more paid subscribers. People who can afford multiple $4-$10 subscriptions will continue to do so. Instead, writer bundles would be a way to attract those who want to read as much high-quality work as possible at the best price.
What do you think?
“A Substack reader is someone who might be on the verge of opting out of online media because of their aversion to the toxicity of their social feeds. It’s someone who wants high-quality news and culture. It’s someone who’s willing to consider a range of sources, even ones that challenge their assumptions. It’s someone who wants to find a way to be online with dignity.”
I’m a Substack reader, not a writer, and that’s exactly how I landed here. I no longer have Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Only Substack. I am *begging* you to stick to what you’ve outlined here and not become another gross platform.
Thank you to Chris, Hamish, Mills, and team for creating the best reading experience on the internet. What we read matters, just like what we eat. A healthy information diet is critical to good mental health and a better understanding of our beautiful, chaotic world. I have built my own newspaper by subscribing to over 100 Substacks.
Please continue to protect free speech: https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/how-to-make-substack-the-greatest-network
I am already a Substack reader and there is no going back!!!! This is the future of reading!
“We thought we were going to live in the Library of Alexandria; instead we’re wading through its sewers hoping to find wisdom on wet pages pasted to the walls.”
Oof. Well put.
Substack is doing a really fantastic job of prioritizing community, much better than other platforms. Features like Recommendations and setting up Weekly Office Hours -- this isn't seen on other platforms that I've been on. I've met so many brilliant people on this platform.
What I first thought was going to be my own website a la Tumblr has turned into my favourite place on the internet to learn, connect, and share. Something about the culture and safety of this place makes it really easy to be vulnerable and ultimately build real connections.
Really excited to see this ecosystem develop and build. I have thought a lot about how substack has given so much to it's writers, and supported our growth without prioritizing just certain/popular voices like traditional media; but when I ask friends who read Substack how they are using it, where they read it (in email or on the app) and how many Substack newsletters they are reading, it seems to be far, far less (in some cases, just one newsletter) than those of us who are also writers here. Looking forward to seeing this shift.
I do like Substack a lot, and would *love* to love it. But the subsciption model is a problem. There is no way I'm going to pay more to Substack, per month, than I pay for all my subscription services combined (Netflix, Prime Video, etc.). In fact, psychologically I am unwilling to pay more than about 40€/month in total - so, I can (and do) subscribe to only 5-7 stacks.
I seriously doubt I am the only person to feel this way. The model needs to change. Either you introduce a flat rate plan (like all other services): say, 30 or 40/month and you can read *any* article on Substack, with authors getting compensated for both subscribers and individual "read-article" events. Or you introduce a plan whereby subscriptions go down (dramatically) in price the more subs you have. So readers pay full price for their first 2 subs, but half price from 2 to 6, 1€/1$ for each sub from 7 to 10, and then 0.50€/$ above 10. Under either of these plans I'd pay more to Substack authors (total), and I'd read a lot more authors.
I've invested a lot of time into writing on this platform, and I did so because I thought what Substack was trying to do was very important for the direction of our society. I really like the way everything is set up here because it places a lot of trust in both the authors and users and incentivizes writers making good quality content that helps rather than harms the readers. To be honest, I am astounded by how much support I have gotten from this platform and how much growth it has facilitated for me.
Lastly, I also know a lot of the leading authors here, and I've been consistently surprised at how strong of a commitment Substack has made to supporting free speech (this includes that which I and my colleagues disagree with), and this has made me hopeful Substack will continue to do as it is doing for a while.
Thank you for your constant efforts to improve this platform -- a truly unique place to be involved with. Makes me proud to be involved with.
MAKE YOUR GARDEN A MASTERPIECE
If you spend time chasing butterflies, they’ll fly away.
If you spend your time making your garden beautiful, the butterflies will come to you.
Grateful for this, as a writer and reader, too. 💛
layover in Dallas, and I just overheard someone say, when asked if they wanted a copy of the NYT, “no thanks, I have Substack.”
Folks, this is why I'm here.
I stand against the dumbification of the Internet, and while it often feels like I'm urinating into the wind, in fact my readers here are engaged and thinking much more than I've seen anywhere else.
We are having nuanced, meaningful conversations.
Idiocracy is happening across the Internet, but there are pockets like Substack where smarter folks are having a good time. Let's keep this place smart. The world really, really needs this right now.