How to Start Strong on Substack

Take 15 minutes to understand the basics

Andy Spears


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Is it a newsletter? Is it a blog? Is it a money-making machine for writers?

It can be all of the above.

The it, of course, is Substack.

The site makes it “dead easy” to start and grow a subscriber-supported newsletter.

Here’s the deal: Substack is basically a blog that also serves as an e-newsletter. You can email all your posts to your “subscribers.” Plus, the posts live as independent blog posts in their own right.

It’s pretty great and a lot of writers have found it to be a good source for building an audience and even earning some money from their writing.

Now, you could just go to Substack, sign up, and start writing.

They make it super easy to do that.

Of course, at first, you’d be sending your posts to the ZERO subscribers you have, but with some promotion, you’d likely pick up some subscribers plus people on your socials would see and view your posts.

A better way?

Start Substack AFTER you learn more about how the platform works.

How do you do that?

Well, one writer has some great experience there and has broken it all down in a relatively short Medium post.

YES — it says “17 minute read.”

YES — the 17 minutes is 100% worth it.

Here’s Linda Caroll’s piece on Substack.

I started on Substack almost two years ago — and I wish I’d read something like this before I did.

I’ve done some of what she suggests. And yes, even with a site that is growing at a decent rate, I’m going to be making some changes based on what I learned from Linda.

The point: READ this post FIRST. Then start your Substack.

It’s going to take you 15 minutes. Maybe another 30 to implement what she suggests.

It will pay off BIG TIME in terms of your engagement and growth on Substack.

Want to start Substack ahead of the game? Do what Linda suggests.

If you’re curious about my experience there, here’s a recent post explaining my journey so far:

The bottom line: You can start a Substack and figure things out along the way — or, you can start Substack with some sound advice from an experienced Substacker.

You choose.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .