Inside The Substack
What it does right and what it doesn’t.
Substack is the best new thing in the market. Every journalist, writer and entrepreneur is writing on Substack. And then leaving Substack after a while. Because the core idea of Substack is simple and not attractive for a long period.
The promise is simple - easy to write newsletters that stay on the web. And get paid easily by your fans.
What is being promoted is the technology stack. It’s free. Of course, they make money when you make money - 10 % of the money you make.
But when you land on Substack, it isn’t clear if they want to admit they are selling a technology stack. Instead, they want to tell you that it’s a vibrant community. And see how these people are making money. They even show you a calculator - it’s enticing to see how you can end up making a good amount of money. And all of this seems possible because it’s Substack.
Now let’s compare another technology stack, Ghost, where you can write on the web and send newsletters. Get paid easily, and the prices are lower than Substack. So, why you should start writing on Substack. The reason is simple - Substack promotes itself as a place to write your heart out and get paid to do so. It’s the culture that is being promoted. But in reality - it’s a lie.
The Good About Substack
Substack runs this fellowship where you can apply. If you get selected, you will be supported with monetary sums to try out Substack. If you write something that needs to be defended, they offer the support of lawyers, as of now only in the USA. These seem like small thing, but that’s a nice start to something they promote themselves - a community where you have a good chance of success.
The fonts are good, the newsletter is simple. And Substack actually tries over and above to make it possible for everyone to join Substack. Case in point being - Stripe won’t let Indian writers join USA medium where transactions are to be done. The Medium simply put a disclaimer - no one from India will join Medium Partner Program. But Substack somehow made it happen that you can join Stripe with the consequence that they can’t take their 10 %. The Medium could have done something, but they choose otherwise. This shows the willingness of Substack.