All year long we’ve read about editors planting their flag in Substack. Rare is the story about someone leaving it. That’s what Jacob Donnelly is doing. Jacob believes he has outgrown Substack, explaining in a Dec. 15 post that the platform is too rigid and prevents him from growing his business.
Newsletter Spy is a new tool that searches Substack for newsletter authors and topics. It’s exactly what the media-curious have been waiting for, since Substack itself provides little in the way of discovery. Prepare for disappointment.
In trendy and media trade media at least, the Substack-as-new-model-for-journalism story seems to have already come and gone. Yet there’s so much more left to tell. Perhaps the Substack story’s next phase is best told inside out, through the eyes of a newly self-minted author — such as James Ledbetter.
Fascinated with Substack newsletters? Nearly all are niche-y; many are pitchable. As in the world of podcasts, however, Substack newsletters often are launched by gifted, overextended SMEs who wind up writing once or twice -- or never -- and then abandon the project. Those who stick it out create big value for passionate readers.
Add Substack to the list of platforms frustrating to PR -- Product Hunt, Stack Overflow, Reddit, Quora -- that command attention but aren't pitchable like publications. Founded in 2017, Substack is a publishing platform for indie newsletter authors. It's cool and we'll get into why, but Substack's web site is more or less a metaphorical black box.