21 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2021
    1. Substack insists that advances are determined by “business decisions, not editorial ones”. Yet it offers writers mentoring and legal advice, and will soon provide editing services.

      Some evidence of Substack acting along the lines of agent, production company, and studio. Then taking a slice of the overall pie.

      By having the breadth of the space they're able to see who to invest in over time, much the same way that Amazon can put smaller companies out of business by knocking off big sales items.

  2. Apr 2021
    1. Since I’m doing that, I’m also considering whether it makes sense for me to have a substack blog as well?

      Given some of the press Substack has gotten in the past few months, I think there's more to be said for actively leaving Substack to move to WordPress or some other platform where you can use your own domain name and content.

      Congratulations on the move!

    1. I have a feeling some of the money framing in the newsletter space is overblown. Some bigger names with pre-existing platforms (and by this I mean exposure, popularity, voices, and other possible media outlets already) have some serious upside to creating paid newsletters. Many of these platforms are trying to not only capture a slice of these pies, they're trying to leverage those same big names to actively make it seem to the average person that they too could have a paid newsletter (see how easy it is...). The reality is that many of these others are going to spend a lot of time and effort to try to garner pennies on the dollar or ultimately fail. This sort of game works much better in the YouTube space where self-hosting the video and doing distribution is a much higher bar. The VC space for newsletters is going to have a dreadful crash when folks realize that there's more competition in the space than they bargained for.

    2. Jessica Lessin, the founder and editor in chief of The Information, a newsletter-centric Silicon Valley subscription publication, said part of its edge was “sophisticated marketing around acquiring and retaining subscribers.”

      Knowing market efficiencies can significantly help some platforms. Not all platforms have this value built in. Many writers are unlikely to see this sort of value in places like Substack which are trying to buy in bulk while they're experimenting. What happens to well-paid writers a year from now when the experimentation ends or dies completely? Where do they take their business then?

      I don't see this ending well for most.

    3. (Substack has courted a number of Times writers. I turned down an offer of an advance well above my Times salary, in part because of the editing and the platform The Times gives me, and in part because I didn’t think I’d make it back — media types often overvalue media writers.)

      This is an important data point. Almost no one is putting any value on editing and other institutional support that outlets provide. Some writers can see at least a little bit of the future.

  3. Mar 2021
    1. I just wanted a way to send out my irregularly-updated newsletter to a couple thousand subscribers without getting caught in a spam filter.

      This is the short version of what Substack is and why people want to use it.

    2. So Substack has an editorial policy, but no accountability. And they have terms of service, but no enforcement.

      This is also the case for many other toxic online social media platforms. A fantastic framing.

    3. It’s become the preferred platform for men who can’t work in diverse environments without getting calls from HR. 

      This is a damning definition of Substack

    4. Substack’s nice interface and large community made it easy for content to go viral. And that’s what I wanted. I didn’t need to be paid, but I wanted to get some of my weirder ideas in front of a broad audience. What I’m saying is that Substack suckered me in with the promise of growing my readership, and the bait was that they had so many great writers with huge followings. But now I’m left wondering how many of those huge followings were made possible by payouts from Substack. 

      YouTube's model is certainly more mature, but is very similar. Some very high profile creators get paid very well and act as scions for hoi poloi who also think they can replicate the same system and become rich themselves. The incredibly vast majority will never come close.

    5. Substack is taking an editorial stance, paying writers who fit that stance, and refusing to be transparent about who those people are.
  4. Feb 2021
    1. In response to this email explosion, the startup Substack launched in 2017 as a newsletter publishing and monetization platform. Most newsletter platforms and payment systems aren’t integrated in any smooth or meaningful way. Charging for access can be an onerous task. Through the Substack system, though, a publisher can easily set up metered access to a newsletter for a subscription fee. As of October, Substack boasts over 25,000 subscribers across various newsletters, paying on average $80 a year. Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi recently launched his novel, The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing, in serial on Substack. Judd Legum’s Popular Information is also published via Substack.

      为了应对这种电子邮件爆炸式增长,创业公司 Substack 在2017年推出了一个新闻发布和盈利平台。大多数通讯平台和支付系统并没有以流畅或有意义的方式集成。收费访问可能是一项繁重的任务。不过通过Substack系统,发布者可以很容易地设置对新闻稿的计量访问,并收取订阅费。截至10月,Substack拥有超过2.5万名订阅者,涵盖各种通讯,平均每年支付80美元。《滚石》杂志的记者马特·泰比(Matt Taibbi)最近在Substack上连载了他的小说《毒品交易的商业秘密》。贾德·莱古姆的《大众资讯》也通过Substack发布。

  5. Jan 2021
    1. One of the things that Platformer members support is my ability to use part of each week to mentor junior writers. Today I want to tell you about my first mentee: Benjamin Strak, author of Design Lobster. As its name suggests, it’s a newsletter about how objects look and work, with an eye toward connecting modern designs with historical antecedents.

      Example of a writer with a platform helping out new talent.

  6. Nov 2020
    1. More importantly, both systems assume that writers have full access to the full conversation that prompts them into writing. On Substack, there are too many walls dividing up the garden.
    2. Substack is the medium of the solo artist. High-rolling soloists at that.
    1. Substack, viewed as a blogging platform, is a lot like Medium — a would-be walled garden, though run by less unscrupulous folks than own the big social-media platforms. I’m temperamentally suspicious of them, as I am of any platform that is, ultimately, subject to the whim of a proprietor. So although I use both Medium and Substack, everything I write therein is also published verbatim on my ‘live’ blog, which is completely under my control, and for whose hosting I pay with my own money. For me, Substack provided merely a convenient and reliable way of sending out the email version of what really matters — the live blog on the open Web. Both Substack and Medium have fairly honourable business models and have facilities whereby writers can get paid, if they wish to be. (I don’t.) And that’s a good thing (though it leads to the power-law outcome that Greer mentions). But it also has the downside in terms of the public sphere that, ultimately, their writing exists mainly inside a walled, members-only, garden. A genteel garden, but still a private garden. That’s why I’ve always followed Dave Winer’s lead: write wherever you like, but always make sure your stuff is also published on the Web.
  7. Nov 2019
    1. In a world of publishing platforms that are dominated by venture capital-backed operations, (even the newsletter platform Substack has raised $17.5m in VC funding) this is a refreshing state-of-affairs. The Ghost Foundation has an annual run rate of $1.73m (and posts this publicly) — and hasn't taken VC money. Ghost was actually launched as a Kickstarter, which long-term readers might remember…  

      Something to watch with respect to this is Jonah Goldberg and Steven Hayes who are working with Substack to put out a membership driven news website.