Substack, Medium or Patreon? Where to Build Your Online Writing Portfolio
“Think in terms of building your audience. And honing your work. And having a home on the net, a safe harbor…”
Substack has been getting a lot of notice lately from serious authors searching for a reliable platform for their nascent writing career. If you’re thinking of making Substack your primary online presence, here are some advantages:
- You can reach your audience either through your page or your email newsletter, or both
- You can post videos (files stored elsewhere)
- If you have a podcast, you can make Substack your home page (same thing, files stored elsewhere)
- It is damn hard to edit/completely delete text and illos; in fact, it’s damn bewildering making your way around the platform, period. I’m not stupid, but you need a rocket scientist
- In essence, before uploading to Substack you’d better have your materials “locked” first — there’s no room to dabble once you’re on the platform
Most writers apparently are drawn to Substack because of the possibility of making real money selling their personal newsletters — the cheapest subscription you’re allowed to offer is US$30 a year but you can go much higher.
You have a home page where you can display some of your work for free perusal, either online or by email newsletter. Your audience is regularly reminded of your presence — one way to get “conversions” or “upgrades” to paid subscriptions. I understand the conversion rate averages ten percent.
I subscribe to a couple of these free newsletters myself. What works best on Substack (and most lucratively) as far as I can tell, are “niche” subjects, especially in the sciences or high-end arts/lifestyle. The heyday of “celebrity” Substacks seems to be waning, thank God. Give this platform back to the real writers, willya?
After Patreon (see below) this is my second-favorite platform. Medium was built primarily for writers who want to try writing for general interest. And although there are (too many, in my opinion) pieces in which the young writer stumbles through yet…