Substack: Nirvana or the Emperor’s New Clothes?

It seems lots of people are deserting WordPress for Substack, lured by the notion of creating ‘newsletters’ that people will pay to receive. That and knowing they’ll be rubbing virtual shoulders with famous names and literary goliaths – and the fact that Substack is currently ‘free’.

So is it a good move?

It’s tempting, of course. But the average person is surely already swamped with ‘too much stuff’ when it comes to internet content; won’t a new $5 per month charge force them to re-evaluate the worth of what they get now for free? I suspect many will cease to ‘follow’.

Or perhaps subscribers – lured by the promise of only getting the content they really want to see – will regard the $5 as a small price to pay to avoid time-hungry website trawling in favour of friendly emails turning up and feeding them personally.

You can argue it both ways.

I suspect Substack works best for those who are already ‘known’, who have hundreds – if not thousands – of current WordPress subscribers, and who have something unique to sell: their name, their talent, their position and access, their celebrity etc. For the average blogger for whom success is getting 50-100 people to read a post… Well, I doubt it.

Still, it is tempting – partly because I’m the kind of character who loves starting new things. Maybe it has a role to play.

The Jury’s out.