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Newbies and Veterans, give us your best Substack advice. It might be on how to get your first post out or how to celebrate when you get your first paid subscriber. Or it’s wisdom gleaned from two years of writing headlines. Or insights into word count, creating community, or writing sentences that sing. Anything!

Here’s how this works:

-In all caps, give us the one-word topic of your advice, e.g., POSTING or NOTES, anything

-Then share what you’ve learned/discovered

-Include the URL of your Substack

-Find at least 2 other pieces of advice in this thread that resonate with you, comment, thank them, and share their wisdom on Notes! (Click the little wheel or click share.)

-BONUS: Check out their Substack and maybe even subscribe.

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deletedFeb 2
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NOTES - as a newish Substacker Notes have been invaluable to me. I pop onto Notes most days to chat, explore and network. It's a great way to make new connections with zero pressure and no expectations.

Just show up and be yourself, and you'll find people just like you

https://everydayknitter.substack.com/

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Hello, fellow writers! Over the last year, I’ve learned that it’s great if you can define what success on Substack means for you: is it the number of subscribers, the amount of writing you do, the consistency of your writing etc. It’s different for each of us.

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POSTING.

I'm still a newbie here, having been on Substack for less than 6 months, but what I've learned is to write about what's interesting to me. For a variety of reasons, this works - if you're lit up about something, chances are your readers will connect to that excitement and authenticity, too. It also helps to give you space as a writer, and to not box yourself in to one particular topic. Even if you don't think what you have to share is particularly interesting, I guarantee someone wants to read what you're writing. Your perspective has value! (Something I have to remind myself of at least once a week.)

https://marissagallerani.substack.com/

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POSTING My best piece of advice is to craft every post as if 10,000 people are going to read it. It keeps me focused on quality and helpfulness, and reminds me that my work matters (even if my audience is *a lot* smaller than that).

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WRITING

What I've learned: Consistency is key, and write stuff YOU want to read. If you aren't interested or it doesn't feel like you, it's not going to ring true to your audience or yourself. For me, I love reading and talking about books, and the feelings I have about reading different authors, how a book changed me, etc– but I have to inject that with my personality, which is sarcastic and humorous.

Would love if you'd check it out and let me know what you think! Eager for feedback and to collaborate with fellow writers/readers!

https://pointofdeparture.substack.com/

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NOTES : I look for opportunities to add value to a topic or provide my answer to an intriguing or funny question. It's a win-win-win. You're practicing your own writing skills, albeit in very short form, the writer of the Note will appreciate your attention and thought, and you're getting your name out there.

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NOTES/DEDICATED COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TIME. I didn't really understand notes or engage with them for a long time, but it's been an interesting place to find inspiration, things to read, and people to talk with. I can't say I've gotten a ton of subscribers or followers, but people do trickle in here and there, so it seems like a good community engagement strategy.

Related: I set time on my calendar each week for community engagement on notes or otherwise. it helps me focus and not get lost in the scroll!

https://www.readonhand.com/

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ENGAGEMENT

I’ve seen an increase in my views/subscribers when I read other Substacks and take the time to either mindfully comment on them or restack a quote from their work that I love. I think generating views from other writers is good for sustainable growth and for cultivating a loyal reader community!

https://astonished.substack.com

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CONTENT: While I’ve only been on Substack for six months, I’ve been writing a newsletter for 15 years.

Advice? Break your own rules.

It’s so easy to get caught up in arbitrary and imaginary rules that we set for ourselves about what, when and how to show up here.

We think we can’t post two days in a row, or we can’t talk about X or we shouldn’t write a short piece when we normally write long form.

But who says so?

I’ve learned that while yes, there are best practices for every platform worth looking at, often we constrain ourselves (and our creative ideas) by rules of our OWN making.

So my guide for 2024 is to follow my enthusiasm and to be prepared to break my own rules. 😊

You can find me at Worth in Progress: a values driven newsletter exploring our complicated relationship w ambition, burnout, work, balance and self-worth.

https://worthinprogress.substack.com

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WRITING + POSTING

In a nutshell: be consistent, and embrace experimentation.

I've been on the platform for about 6 months now, and I've noticed a real difference in traction when I stick with a weekly cadence. And in order to do that, I've found it really helpful to embrace a "f*ck, it, let's try it!" mindset. It helps take the pressure off trying to make every single piece of writing a literary masterpiece, helps me stay creative, and gives me more data points to see what works (both in terms of what I enjoy writing about *and* what resonates with folks.)

https://michellelacroix.substack.com/

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HEADERS and FOOTERS , I joined @sparkleonsubstack yesterday and did a Claire Venus workshop this morning on this subject. My advice is choose wisely where to invest and keep learning about the wonders of Substack. This was a complete eye opener , although not the sexiest subject I think it’s a fundamental game changer.

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NOTES + INSTAGRAM: I haven't been here that long, but I have noticed some successful Substack writers say Notes is a waste of time for gaining subscribers and I have not found that to be true. For my viral post on leaving the U.S which reached 50,000 views even though I only sent it to around 3k subscribers, 22% of people came through the app which to me means Notes. Correct me if this is wrong.

I've also seen people say you can't convert from IG but for that viral post 18% came through Instagram. This only happened b/c I included n the post "DM me too have post sent to you" and I sent it to hundreds of people (yes, this is time consuming). I got this tip from someone on Substack, but I can't remember who.

My IG following is not huge compared to the really successful writers here (it's around 37K) and I almost never go on there so the algorithim doesn't like me, so the conversion would be higher for people who stay active there.

Here is the URL of my substack: https://kirstenpowers.substack.com/

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NOTES. Ever since Sarah explained how Notes works and why it’s important to participate there, my subscriptions have gone up. In addition, I’ve felt a greater sense of belonging to a community by replying to posts I see on Notes that I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. That in turn makes posting my own stuff less scary!

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POSTING

One of the joys of Substack is the creativity and possibility to really EXPERIMENT and change things up every once in a while. I've found that something you think might not resonate with your audience could actually go down really well and surprise you. So keep that element of creative play if you're tempted to do something different! It's so exciting to see the results from that, so keep following what sparks your curiosity!

https://tamzin.substack.com/

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POSTING + COLLABORATION

I've loved using my newsletter to connect with and celebrate other writers--talking about books I love and how they're shaping my writing practice, interviewing writers about their craft, co-hosting zoom events with other writers. I think the more people and perspectives you can involve in your newsletter, the more it feels like a community. (And, practically, that's also good for growth, if that's a goal you're working on.)

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JOY

Substack is a space that's primed to reward generosity and kindness and authentic belief in each other. So many of the features here--recommendations, Notes and what seems to be the algorithm there and on posts (favoring engagement), the restacking feature, and so on--make it so that growing together is where it's at. My biggest piece of advice is this: If you find someone whose work you love, shine a light on it. If you see someone who's starting out and could use some support, boost them. If you feel that twinge of jealousy because someone has achieved something you want like a feature or whatever, realize that really means you think they're doing great. Cheer on that achievement with enthusiasm, explore how they're doing things, become a fan. And jealously will likely be replaced by the much more productive inspiration. Figuring out that growing together is better is what we need in the world at large. Doing it here is joyful.

Thank you, Sarah Fay, for providing this space where we can do just that. First Friday I've been early to one of these fantastic threads. :)

https://hollystarley.substack.com

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BE GENEROUS.

That means expecting nothing in return. Don't be afraid to use the the "give away subscription for free" button. Use it more than you think you should.

https://www.introvertdrawingclub.com/

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CONNECTION AND POSTING

What I've learned after nine months on Substack is that my subscribers grew more rapidly when I started POSTING weekly rather than every other week, so the number of posts matter. Then I began to CONNECT more by commenting on posts after I read them, and that brought in more readers. My attempts at Notes seem to fall on unseeing eyes, but I know from other writers that it pays off to keep posting Notes and to persevere with Chats.

https://patriciacusack.substack.com/

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POSTING + NOTES - Thank you, Sarah!

https://jenniferbochik.substack.com/

I've learned always to remember why I'm here writing. Am I here to play the Substack game to work to get noticed and build subscribers? Or, am I here to write and share authentically? As a new and unknown writer, it has to be more about learning the craft and sharing authentically. Connecting with a community of writers who can teach us all something is really nice. But be warned! There is a game to play here if you want to get noticed. Sarah Fay is an expert!

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CROSS POSTING

I am new-ish to substack, but my wisdom to share today is the absolute joy cross-posting will bring.

My friend Boysie Gordon @TheBluePath and I are working on our first cross-post this week. Besides the prospect of new subscribers, the collaborators get to know each other on a deeper level, and bond over shared interests!

My newsletter- Dear People Pleasers is about leveraging emotional intelligence to cultivate self-care into our routines and relationships.

My latest post came out on Tuesday as an Advice column answering a question from our community about how to be MORE of a people-pleaser (without loosing yourself)

Post: kaylenalexandra.substack.com/p/ask-a-people-pleaser-you-never-saw

Boysie’s newsletter is about building a personal brand, and discovering our purpose… 🪷

His URL: thebluepath.substack.com

We hope to connect with y’all soon, happy Friday and TAHNK YOU Miss Sarah Fay for starting another thread to bring us together! 💌

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HERO POST AND NOTES TIP

I started my Substack a month ago and have grown by 125 subscribers in that time. I had a big jump after posting my ‘hero post’ introducing my publication, Letters From Therapy. (Link below) That’s tip one!

Tip 2. And then I shared it on notes. All my notes had been tumbleweed until then, but I believe the post got so much engagement is because I tagged some other substackers to thank them. I think the algorithm liked it.

This is my hero post attached, and you can see I have one note with 42 likes, about 42 more than usual! ✨💛✨

https://lettersfromtherapy.substack.com

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CONFIDENCE

As a newbie, I would say to others who have just launched that confidence in your platform is key. These last few weeks I decided to keep my head down, focus on the message and the content I wanted to share and just go for it with wilful abandon, channeling in the mindset that The TEN was the publication that the world was waiting for. I found my groove. That unlocked the floodgates of inspiration for me. That energy, excitement and confidence also attracts others.

https://lisamarkswrites.substack.com/

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COLLABORATIONS

I've met so many lovely humans through inviting them to be guests on my Pathfinders series, guest posting, hosting a community art share, being interviewed, or simply having a conversation about the hard things in life and sharing it with others. Most recently, I started a Resources for Grief thread, inspired by this community and have since connected to so many who are navigating grief with courage, compassion, and grace.

My advice would be to put the call out for collaborations, keep an open mind, and be creative! It doesn't always have to look like a guest post or interview. There's so many ways to build relationships and the momentum is really contagious!

This was one of my favorite collaborations with @Dr. Renée Eli about presence, making decisions, and soothing our nervous systems. 💗

https://thebarefootbeat.substack.com/p/how-do-we-decide

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CONTRIBUTE WHERE YOU CAN: whether it’s new content, a note, re-stacking, commenting, or sharing something you found on Substack is VALUABLE. I’ve serialized a memoir, offer poems and short essays, but I’m mostly known for none of that. Most know me as THE HEADLINE BOSS. Click here for my latest plum https://open.substack.com/pub/johnmoyermedlpcncc/p/the-wisdom-of-wrinkles?r=3p5dh&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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POSTING

I think the best piece of advice I have to share is to just be CONSISTENT. There are so many wonderful writers on here who post a few times and then disappear forever. Not everyone is an overnight success and sometimes it takes time to get momentum. Personally, posting every Tuesday has worked well for me.

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COLLABORATION + PROMOTION

I've been sending out my newsletter for about four months now, and one of the most successful ways I've driven new subscribers (I just hit 500 free subscribers earlier this week!) is by collaborating with other Substackers and experts in my niche. I've written guest posts for a couple of other newsletters, plus I've done Q&As with a few fellow writers in my newsletter. This helps get your name out to a wider audience, and you get the bonus of the other person promoting you to their network. And you help them in the process too!

Additionally, I go hard on promoting my newsletter. I'm a professional health writer, so when I first launched, I sent a mass email to every writer, editor, and publicist I've worked with in the past 10 years letting them know. This resulted in my first 50 subscribers! I also share every newsletter I write on IG and LinkedIn, my two most-engaged platforms. Finally, I had business cards made, which include a QR code for my newsletter. Anytime I attend an event or meetup related to my niche (celiac and gluten-free living), I introduce myself to people and hand out my card.

https://celiacselfcare.christinaheiser.com

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POSTING

When I wake up and can't go back to sleep, one of the reasons is because I start thinking about ideas for future posts. I've become somewhat obsessed. I'm always thinking, "that would make a great post." Does anyone else do this or am I just weird?

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POLL: I just discovered this and have used it to get my readers' help on choosing a cover for my novel.

https://jamesrmarshall.substack.com/

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DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

I've been on Substack since October 2023, and I've had to turn down the volume on the competitive energy I sometimes see here to monetize, grow your subscribers and essentially measure yourself by a certain set of metrics. I'm on Substack to share and offer stories, guidance, strategies, tools and resources to provide comfort, inspiration and practical help in making the human journey--specifically, the spiritual path--easier. I want to enjoy the experience, not spend time worrying if I'm not growing fast enough or losing subscribers or not experiencing enough engagement. The fact that I'm here at all is what I'm celebrating. If you're new here, I hope you're celebrating your willingness to share yourself and your writing. It's a big deal! I appreciate you!

https://thecosmicyes.substack.com/

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MIGRATION

Don’t rely on social media to get you more subscribers. It’s a waste of time, instead focus on your email contacts. I just spent a month off of IG/FB/X/TT and doubled my subscribers and views, finally going over 100 and 1k views per month after 4 months of stagnation.

https://open.substack.com/pub/adamscheiner?r=2sbbt3&utm_medium=ios

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SHOWING UP

Be your weird self, showing up authentically makes the process more fun and rewarding. Show up for others-engage on their substacks, restack, comment. I make a mental intention to restack the work of someone else daily to continue to support a thriving writing community.

https://mindfulinthemud.substack.com

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Consistency — if you’re new, first focus on the very practice of writing! It’s like building a muscle. And it takes strength to do it week by week. But be consistent.

Engage — spend time reading and commenting on other posts; share, restack and be active in notes!

Do what you love — it’s so much easier to write what resonates with your spirit, and you can be assured others will resonate with you.

Category fitness — Be conscientious of the category you’re in, you can double check in your settings and then go to the explore page and see what others are posting in your category. Check out the writers on the leaderboard, engage in their communities. If you find that your work isn’t suiting that category, go back to your settings and change it to something that might suit you a little better. Again, the explore tab is great for research here 😉

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FREE EXCERPT IN WELCOME EMAIL - hi everyone! I’m newish to substack (imported my mailchimp list over about a year or so ago). My tip: In my welcome email to new subscribers, I send an extended excerpt from my latest novel as a welcome gift.

Love this community! You can find me at:

evelynskye.substack.com

where I show behind-the-scenes of a writing career, including my work with Netflix.

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COMMENTS

Leave comments on posts you've enjoyed reading, or that have stimulated your thinking or sense of well-being. Not necessarily War & Peace, but more substanhtial than "Great article".

Eclecticism: https://terryfreedman.substack.com/

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COMMENTS- go put a comment on your post after it goes live, people feel free to engage if someone else has started the conversation even if it’s you

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CONNECT with kindness and genuine curiosity.

A month ago, I was so discouraged here. Poured my heart out. No response. Thanks to this Party, commenting in chats, posts and notes, I’ve met so many delightful souls. We care about the same things. We open our hearts, so quickly. We share common passions, vulnerable truths (beyond getting more subscribers!!)

Feels great. Now I get to regulate my extroverted, overly excited puppy self. Calm down! 🤣

Grateful. This post engaged people. 🥰 🙏🏽 https://heartsquest.substack.com/p/just-three-months-to-live

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POSTING

Okay, so this is serendipitous, as I was already composing a note about this. Tomorrow's post is about my evolving relationship with perfectionism, which has given me a lot of opportunity to reflect on how being on Substack has really forced me to ignore (begin to overcome?!) perfectionism. I make "mistakes" left and right with my posts: the images don't look right, I can't get a decent headline/subject, the run-on sentences only reveal themselves to me after the fact. AND IT'S BEEN OKAY EVERY SINGLE TIME. I don't draw attention to these missteps, or let myself ruminate on them for too long. I (of course) recognize them, and try to improve upon them in subsequent issues, but otherwise, I just keep it moving.

https://mskerrygraham.substack.com?utm_source=navbar&utm_medium=web&r=1tvq0

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RECOMMENDATIONS -- by far the most helpful thing for me in growing my Substack has been Recommendations from other newsletters. I never asked for these generous recommendations, I simply subscribe, comment, and participate in Notes discussions as much as I can for the sake of learning and connection. Put that good karma out there and it will come back to you!

My Newsletter: https://sarahallen.substack.com/

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DISCOUNTS AND FREE SUBS - I was amazed at how many of my free readers converted to a paid subscription when I offered a pre-Christmas discount. The uptake was huge. I left monthly subscription as they were and discounted the yearly price because I noticed that there were more stripe fees over time on the monthly subscriptions. The conversion rate was huge. I’ve also had good success from switching on referrals and rewarding my most engaged readers for bringing in new free subscribers. Telling people that they are helping me to find the time to keep the free content going and thanking them regularly has also really helped.

I love writing my journal and associated posts and I always get a little buzz from a new paid subscriber, knowing they value my work enough to pay for it means an awful lot.

https://rebeccaljones.substack.com

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ENERGY

Like many of us here I have a full time job (not writing) and posting regularly can be a challenge. I therefore often find myself writing from a bit of a low-energy place. When this happens I try and start where I'm at, what's resonating with me this week, what's been happening, what's irked me or inspired me. From this place I feel much more connected to what I'm writing, instead of just writing about something I 'should' write about. It's often these posts that do better.

https://josephrivers.substack.com/

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GETTING STARTED. Don’t overthink it. Write something you are passionate about and post it. Nobody will read your writing if you never share it, and we all get better the more we write.

Marktpalmer.substack.com

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POSTING + VULNERABILITY

Perhaps my top performing post in 2023 was my year in review essay, where I tried to return to the rawness and vulnerability that brought me to Substack originally. After a year of experimenting with different paywall strategies, a live workshop (with a replay), and other things that didn't feel natural, I opened up about more personal things and tried to articulate my "why" for 2024.

The result was double the traffic and 20 new subscriptions, 6 of them paid. That's pretty good for me in a given week. And there was no paywall. I think my lesson was that instead of trying to put forward a false front of confidence or search for a lever that would nudge readers to upgrade, I just need to lean into the mess sometimes and think of paywalled content more as an expression of appreciation for my paying subscribers, rather than as a sales pitch to free subscribers.

https://joshuadolezal.substack.com/p/the-recovering-academic-in-2023

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POSTING

I'm brand new to substack but so far I've been focusing on being present and acknowledging the self-doubt, but pressing publish anyway. Of course the doubt is going to be there but that shouldn't prevent you from sharing your words. I'm proud of myself and what I write and I hope others can gleam something from it as well.

At the end of the day, if I'm the only person interested in what I have to say that's ok too. It's about the experience and feelings I get from writing, not the metrics.

https://catieshine.substack.com/

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COMMUNITY. After creating an annotated directory of other substacks in my niche (addiction recovery and sobriety), I started making many genuine, heart-sourced connections here - this feels so good! Totally changed my experience on the platform!

An unexpected but very welcome bonus: lots of new subscribers and 67 pubs recommending me (leading to 431 referred subscriptions so far).

I update the directory every few weeks (we're at 106 writers and counting!). I'm over at Sober Soulful (and you can find SoberStack in the navigation bar): https://danaleighlyons.substack.com/

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DEVOTION

Numbers, success, readership, growth, yes! But also: my writing practice has never, ever, ever been stronger. What I've learned is that creativity is for the world, but that it's also always for us, first.

Knowing this will *only* help the writing (& the living) get better.

https://sarahcook.substack.com

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GETTING FOLLOWERS

I found that interacting with writers who write about stuff you're interested in (not necessarily the topic of your Substack) will help you get likeminded people to follow you. For example, I write about computer tips, but I'm also interested in Energy, so I interact with people who write about that field. I have no plans to write about Energy myself, but getting them to follow me (and viceversa) works on the long run because I help growing their follower base by commenting, recommending, liking, and restacking, while they do the same for me.

https://www.pcisdeadagain.com/

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Feb 2·edited Feb 2Liked by Sarah Fay Writers at Work

RECOMMENDATIONS

Newbie here! I was lucky to receive a recommendation from a fairly large Substack account early on and it's garnered dozens of new free subscribers for me so far. I think building relationships with other writers and collaborating with /recommending other writers on here that you really resonate with is probably the most impactful way to grow and get exposed to other similar audiences.

TABS

I love that you can have separate tabs for different types of content. I recommend that others try this method as well. My Substack is about Eating Psychology and Culinary Nutrition. I have one section for my main articles and a section called "quick bites" that I post to for mini-blogs or resources and value type content. I also host a series on that tab called 5-Senses Sunday.

You can find me at - https://jennyedenberkmsed.substack.com/

I'm definitely looking to connect and collaborate with more writers in a health, Nutrition or psychology-adjacent field!

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Feb 2Liked by Sarah Fay Writers at Work

EDITORIAL CALENDAR: I’ve been using an editorial calendar since about 6 months, and it’s really helpful for the times when I’m not sure what to post about. Since my substack is about art & creativity, I need to schedule out time to photograph, record, edit video etc. Knowing what I’m posting when is incredibly helpful in streamlining the process.

HOW TO KEEP AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR: There are many ways, but for starters, keep it as simple as possible. I have mine in a paper planner, scheduled out for 3 months. Just note down the themes for each month’s posts and flesh it out as you have ideas. As an example, one of my themes is “Watch the process” — an art journaling video or photographs of my process. I’ll just put that into my calendar & then weave that into my regular creating so I have all the pieces ready to post. As I have ideas, I just go into my calendar & note them down.

My substack: https://shinjinim.substack.com

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