Those of you paying attention to social media know that things have gotten a touch weird online. Facebook has mainly become a way to stay connected to old friends and family members you’d maybe rather not see at Thanksgiving. Twitter, after its acquisition by Elon Musk, is slowly degenerating into fingerpointing, snarky memes about the new owner, and general crabbing about what it used to be. I’m mostly interested in social media as a way to keep in touch with writer friends who don’t live close enough to lunch with and to keep up with publishing news. I hadn’t given much thought, beyond the monthly blog post, to actually presenting my writing online.
I ran across Substack by following Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American, an invaluable source of sane commentary about American history and elections in the context of everything that has gone before. If you haven’t run into it, I highly recommend a sane voice that also makes serious points about the seriousness of what we’ve been going through.
Poking around the site, I got interested in the potential of Substack as a two-pronged approach for my work: first, as a single place to archive the writing I wanted to preserve, and second, as a venue for presenting that writing to the world.
Substack is a free service, at least at the moment. You create an account, which allows you to post items and build your subscription list by supplying email addresses. You can make some or all of your postings free to your subscription list and, if you like, you can put certain items behind a paywall. I know several romance writers who are using the Substack platform to serialize novels and present them to their subscription lists (as paid posts). As a subscriber, you receive an email every time I put a new piece of writing online.
If the notion interests you, you can look at my (skinny at the moment) Substack, called The Far Northeast. Subscribe, if you like—there’s no cost—and follow as I build up a library of material that I thnk is suitable for the outside world. I’ll also be writing about my experiences with the platform as I get more comfortable with it. And coming in January, I plan to pull a Dickens and serialize a new novel. I’d love to hear what you think about it.
So if you see me disappear from Twitter (and I’ve already been disappeared once from Facebook), come look for me on Substack. Comments encouraged . . .
Dick…I got behind and am just seeing this now. Very interesting. How is working so far? I’ve been on the fence about what to do next to keep in touch with readers.