Have you ever had any interests in becoming an independent writer? Substack has become the premier advocate for independent writers. Founded by Chris Best in 2017, Substack captures an author’s dream of being independent by implementing very few restrictions. The online newsletters of Substack encourages readers to browse through author’s articles that includes topics such as culture, politics, and technology. Through Substack’s system, authors have the freedom to write as much as they desire or as little as they want. Substack at its core, makes life simpler for authors, because of the ability to work remotely. Not only is the ability to work remotely an advantage, authors are met with a WordPress like interface when they sign up with their email. Through the simplicity of the interface, writers are actively able to focus on their creativity and editorial skills. Working with this platform, authors often find themselves to be freer than working in the corporate publishing world. With no editors and time constraints outside of self-imposed ones, authors no longer need to look over their shoulders.
Why should an author choose Substack in the first place? With Substack, authors ultimately have the utmost capability in paving their legacy. Not only do authors have the control over their perception, they can choose their creativity level. One of the platform’s biggest selling points is their advocacy for authors to be free. While freedom is encouraged, guidelines have been put into place to prevent nude content, misinformation, hate speech and harassment posts from being uploaded. Outside of these few areas that are addressed in their guideline’s; writing content is mostly an open-game on Substack’s platform.
Substack isn’t just interested in newsletters, they have branched out to accommodate podcasts and various comic books. Media producers can easily find themselves at home with the vast selections of media content that the company offers. The addition of podcasts and comic books options entices authors to join the buttery smooth interface. The smooth interface also makes it easier for Substack to diversify their library. Through their interface, features such as leaderboards come into play to encourage authors and readers to stay active.
One of Substack’s most notable features is their leaderboard system that designates who the top writers are. The leaderboard challenges authors to get to the top slate if they choose by accommodating the authors with various perks from the company. Perks can potentially include more recognition or large financial contracts that are offered by Substack. The leaderboard also introduces a simplistic interface that not only show-cases an author’s work but also keeps the reader engaged by making new content easier to find. Substack believes that their leaderboard benefits both the reader and the author by implementing obtainable goals that can result in the success of the author. With the simplicity of the leaderboard, readers can easily find new content which keeps them motivated to come back.
Through the application of the leaderboard top notch writers can easily earn up to six figures from 4 the company. Substack doesn’t just give these types of figures to everybody however, authors need the experience and reputation to earn such figures. Danny Lavery a writer of Substack, shows us a great example of what the platform can offer to its top content creators. In 2021, Mr. Lavery signed a two-year contract with the company that was worth $430,000. From being a blog founder of The Toast, Substack has been able to take his writing career to the next level. Mr. Lavery’s audience includes 1,800 paying subscribers to a newsletter of his called the Shater Chatner.
The beauty of Substack is the financial freedom that it gives to its authors. Authors like Mr. Lavery, are able to choose whether they have an annual subscription for their newsletter. For example, Mr. Lavery sets his subscription rate at $50 a year. He also can choose to alter the subscription fee for his readers or not have one at all. While Mr. Lavery will make most of his $430,000 contract, fees are included so that Substack makes money off of his articles and subscriptions.
Dependent on how Substack’s contracts are written, the company may deduct anywhere from 10 to 15 percent off of the authors subscription income. From that point, credit card fees are taken into account when readers subscribe for the authors newsletter. After the credit card deduction fee and the subscription fee, authors are clear to harvest whatever the remaining income is. The key caveat for authors that are attached to Substack, is from having the ability to use paywall subscription at their leisure.
Since 2017, Substack has slowly grown into a prominent publishing enterprise. Though the COVID pandemic definitely helped bolster their popularity, Substack has equipped writers with a new foundation of freedom that very few publishing houses offer, especially corporate level companies. Substack’s insistence on the freedom of authors to be creative and the ability to adopt financial security entices authors to stay with their system. Authors who cherish the simplistic nature of working on their own have the capability of finding their niche with Substack. Most importantly as Substack exemplifies freedom, authors often have an opportunity to create their own media empire.