How to Start Writing on Substack: The Complete Guide

Nicolas Cole
8 min readJan 24, 2024

I want to talk about Substack.

Specifically, I want to teach you how to start writing on Substack.

This platform is making waves in the writing community — and for good reason. You can build your newsletter without dealing with a complicated email marketing service. It’s free, you have full editorial control, and you keep 90% of your income from paying subscribers.

Oh — and the best part? You technically own your audience. If (when) you leave Substack, you can export your audience and upload them to your own email provider like Mailchimp, Klaviyo, etc.

Sounds pretty enticing, right?

And in just a few minutes you’ll be ready to get started building your first Substack newsletter post and following in the footsteps of the early Substack writers making a living on the platform.

First — what is Substack writing, exactly? Here’s an introduction to the platform if you’re unfamiliar.

What is Substack Writing?

Substack is a newsletter platform that lets independent writers publish directly to their audience and get paid through subscriptions. It combines a blog, a newsletter, and a payment system into one place, so you can focus on writing while they take care of the technical details for you.

Unfortunately, finding readers for your newsletter requires you to dial up your marketing efforts to garner those coveted email addresses from people who don’t know you. This begs the question…is Substack writing the right choice for you? Keep reading for our take on the matter.

Should You Bother Learning How to Write on Substack?

So, is building a newsletter on Substack worth your time and energy?

Here’s the golden rule: Start writing on Substack when you have an audience.

The hardest thing about starting a newsletter is finding and growing your audience on social platforms, first.

It’s not enough to just “start a newsletter.” You first need to find people who want to read your content for free, out in the open. Because if you already have an audience, it’s way easier to ask…



Nicolas Cole

100M+ Views | 5x Author | Co-founder of Ship 30 for 30 | Want to start writing online? Get the Ultimate Guide: