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10 Reasons to Consider Substack

If you are writing books, you’ve heard this advice repeatedly: You need a website, you need to get subscribers, and you need to send out a regular newsletter.

But what if you don’t have any money coming in yet, you’re starting at zero subscribers, and you’re not a WordPress expert?

photo of a pink pggy bank
Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

What do you do?

After a lot of thought, I think Substack is a good answer for any author just getting started and maybe long after that.

My Personal Journey to Substack

Before I get to the 10 reasons to use Substack, let me fill you in. I’ve been turning this question over for the last six weeks because:

  • I want to trim my budget.
  • I want more eyes on my work.
  • I want to attract more subscribers.
  • And, someday, I want to earn a decent income from my content.

Many years ago, I started my newsletters on MailChimp.

After that, I moved to ConvertKit when it was still brand new. ConvertKit just didn’t hit me right at the beginning, so eventually …

I moved my lists to MailerLite and stayed there for a couple of years. I even stuck around during the awkward switch from Classic MailerLite to New MailerLite. It’s possible that the folks at MailerLite aren’t old enough to remember the New Coke fiasco, but someone should have told them.

Classic coke bottle beside an iced cola drink
Photo by Andrey Ilkevich on Unsplash

MailerLite managed to accumulate three strikes in a row during July and August of this year. (I’m not speaking for anyone else; this was my personal experience.)

So, I decided to move my current subscribers to a different email service provider which led to playing around with Beehiiv. Briefly! Gadzooks, they are expensive, and sending emails to segments is currently behind their tallest paywall.

Finally, I chose to return to ConvertKit; to give ConvertKit credit, it has improved dramatically since I used it before.

What does that have to do with Substack?

Well, a friend showed me Substack a week or two ago, and I fell in love.

My personal solution, then, is to use both ConvertKit and Substack for my services business, and soon, to use Substack as my fiction author newsletter home. I need the automations and the segments ConvertKit provides, but I love the freedom and utility of Substack.

Here is my rapid fire list of reasons I chose Substack and why I think authors starting from zero (or simply starting again) should give Substack serious consideration. Phew!

Example of a Substack publication, complete with menu
Example of a Substack publication, complete with menu

10 Reasons to Consider Substack

  1. New eyes – Substack is a community where authors meet readers; this means there is a decent chance of discovery, of getting new eyes on your content. For me, that means readers self select from a bounty of offerings, so if folks find Writing Pursuits Tips and like it, they can subscribe immediately. I realize Substack also means instant competition, but there are new readers finding Substack every single day. I cannot say the same for my WordPress website.
  2. Reader centric design – Substack is geared to attract and retain readers. The pages are beautiful with no effort on my part.
  3. Low barrier – Substack has no barrier to entry. It is completely free to use. Unlike a traditional email service providers (ESPs) like MailChimp or ConvertKit, there is no monthly fee. More about this under Paid Content.
  4. Excellent newsletter/post editor – I’m not kidding; the Substack editor is the easiest, most sophisticated editor I have used on any app. The writing interface blows MailerLite and ConvertKit out of the water. The toolbar is packed with options, but it is not cumbersome to use.
  5. Website standin – Your posts and newsletters are available in an archive that lets new subscribers dive into your content, and this is the perfect stand in for a website. This requires no effort after a couple of settings are made, and it’s much easier than creating a website. (So, now I’m a WordPress heretic. Sorry. I still run three WordPress websites, so obviously, I’m a WordPress fan, but it’s easier for a novice to get started on Substack.)
  6. Substack Notes – This is a built-in social media platform where Substack readers and authors interact.
  7. Community – When enough folks subscribe to a publication, then it makes sense to utilize the Chat function to interact directly with your readers.
  8. Referrals – Substack includes a referral feature. When you find Substacks you like, you can share them in your referrals section. And of course, other writers can refer their readers to your newsletter.
  9. More than one – You can produce more than one publication with a single user account. If you have a service business or you write fiction AND non-fiction, then you can operate a publication for each. There are also “sections,” but that’s beyond the scope of this discussion.
  10. Paid content – Substack doesn’t make money until you do. If you never put paid content on your Substack pages, they never collect money. Contrast that approach with paying a monthly fee to Beehiiv or ConvertKit while you work hard to build a list.

Those are my 10 reasons to use Substack, especially if you are just starting out with zero dollars and zero subscribers.

What email service provider do you use and why?

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