Substack has been the subject of much attention recently. This New Yorker article sums up a lot of the evolution of blogging and writing on the interent up to this point. I have used most flavors: Blogger, Wordpress, Ghost, Jekyll (this static-site generator), and even some good old-fashioned custom PHP.
I am not, by any stretch, a thought-leader person or even a person who uses such a term. I mean to say that I am not famous for writing on the interent but am very curious about the whole process. I usually blog about things I am interested in, and like most of the interent, relatively few people read it.
That is the coolest part about this internet, however. The niches are small but they are made up of real people and there are people interested in the goings on of whatever it is you may be interested in.
My current blogging subjects include CUSA Football and Basketball, of which there are few fans.
I have added a Spurs Substack to the writing collection mostly because, as always, I have some Spurs thoughts and I want to put them somewhere. The “subscriber” list is friends mostly but I imagine one or two new additional subscribers will join. Aside from the above stated reason, it gives me a nice insight into Substack as writer/publisher.
The true benefit of the platform is that it integrates two disparate things that yes, can be done better or customized further but that integration is a great feature. I find that when I self-publish – and even self-manage memberships – it can take a lot of mental space. I have used MailChimp to do email marketing and newsletter-type things and those can turn into design-fests. Even the time spent writing this thing took longer than it would have if it were a substack post. I spend time upgrading my Ruby installation and configuring my workflow to return it to the “easy” state I thought I had going. Such is the danger of too much customization.
Substack is minimul, focusing on the writing with enough features – photos and links and whathaveyou – to make it visually interesting. The 10% they take off the top for paying sites is reasonable, and as a side-hobby it isn’t a terrible gig to do if you can get it. I would certainly rather be paid for writing an essay than ferrying people around in my car. But that is me.