Entrepreneurship Marketing Writing

Newsletter course

Bookmarked NEWSLETTER CLASS by Marlee Grace (marlee grace on Notion)

Expanding the language of your practice, cultivating social expression through knowledge sharing, and leaning into the art of the email list

2 hours



Technology Websites

WordPress-powered email newsletter service

Bookmarked Mail Poet by Quentin FreryQuentin Frery (

The Best Email Plugin for WordPress More than 500,000 websites are using MailPoet to keep in touch with their subscribers. Enjoy everything in one place. MailPoet works seamlessly with your favorite CMS so you can start sending emails right now. Quickly add content and images directly from your media library. No need to upload files […]

The Internet

I asked Substack to add Webmention support

The IndieWeb has had some success in asking nicely for platforms to support web standards — Tumblr recently incorporated microformats into their standard template — so I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask Substack to add Webmention support. I don’t expect them to say yes, but it would be great to have native support instead of manually reposting (POSSEing) in the comments there. And each place that adds support makes it easier to convince another.

Here’s what I posted as a comment, hopefully I conveyed how Webmention works accurately 😂:

Has Substack ever considered adding support for Webmentions? They are recommended by the W3C as a component of an interoperable web, so Substackers could connect with the greater internet community of writers and creators. Adding support for Webmentions could build an even richer conversation between writers across the web. When a Substack newsletter linked to a blog post, the writer of the blog would get notified, so they could join in the conversation. If a blogger linked or replied to a Substack article from their blog, the author could see that along with other comments made directly on Substack. Likewise if a Substack newsletter linked to someone else’s Substack article, their article could be displayed with the original, so it would be easy for readers of the linked article to hear about and discover a new Substack newsletter.

I am concerned that with all the features Substack is adding — chat, podcasting, internal mentions, internal recommendations — they are becoming more and more of an insulated silo. An open web benefits all users, but it doesn’t necessarily benefit silo owners who want to keep all traffic internal. However, because Substack’s revenue is based on subscriptions rather than advertising, I’m hopeful they’d be receptive to the opportunity for discovery and engagement that Webmentions could foster.

There are also plenty of bloggers who also write newsletters, so it could be good PR for Substack among bloggers after the negative press from last spring (IIRC) of funding support voices of hate.

Business Writing

Each email goes to one person

Liked Personal Publishing Principles — CJ Chilvers by CJ ChilversCJ Chilvers (CJ Chilvers)

Only one person is opening this email. Remember that. You are not a broadcaster. You are writing to one, individual reader. It’s never “Hey, guys!”

“Don’t call it a newsletter.” It’s a private email list.

What delights me about other personal newsletters: surprises, fun, odd and obscure links, lack of formality, hand-drawn or original/interesting images.

(Also on a meta level I appreciate writing out the philosophy for using each channel.)


Publishing books online

Bookmarked 10 Reasons Why I’m Publishing My Next Book on Substack by Ted Gioia (The Honest Broker)

The publishing world is changing, but writers can change too—maybe even for the better

I followed for a while someone who was publishing their novel on Substack as a way to make money. She got an astonishing number of paid subscribers — people are willing to pay much more than I’d expect considering serialization makes a story take much longer to read, making for a worse reading experience, and costs much more, being a monthly subscription rather than one-time cost. I have a suspicion a nonfiction book would be better suited to online publishing than fiction.

He makes an interesting point about an accelerating platform. It does feel like the place to be, despite my mixed feelings about Substack. (Alas, I didn’t experience any measure of success with my Substack project Sense Memory, getting fewer than twenty subscribers, most of whom didn’t open the emails, over the nine months of the project 😉) This author, though, has seen incredible success in gaining followers — gaining 1000 readers a week?! It’s a self-feeding process, the more subscribers you get, the easier it is to get more.


Planning a self-pub book launch

Listened Book Launch Plans: The Mega Episode (Reair) by an author from

Episode 130 / It’s back to the archives this week for one of our most popular episodes. Jami and Sara share how they launch a book, covering tactics for low-, medium-, and high-budget launches as well as sharing beau·coup tips about what’s working for book launches right now.

Promo graphics really important for romance

Cover reveals are a big thing in romance

Can ask people to follow you on bookbub

Can ask other authors to do a newsletter swap, post a giveaway on their Facebook page, send them an ARC

Goodreads giveaway, librarything giveaway

Do paid promos in newsletters

Build your list even before you release a book

Fine to do a preorder even if you’re a new author — two weeks even, to give you the promo link to post early

Email your list with the first few chapters as a teaser and a preorder link

Can segment your list and send release reminders on different days

When first starting out, pick just 2-3 tactics to focus on

Advertising romance on Amazon successfully is $$$

Use your back matter effectively and be sure to update with each new release

The Internet Writing


Replied to All writing is centralizing onto Substack by Erik Hoel (The Intrinsic Perspective)

When writing is “decentralized” it just means it’s spread weakly out across the internet, it means different outlets and blogs and webpages all scrounging for attention via a thousand different streams—all of them used to living on the scraps, unprepared for the torrent of attention that centralization will bring. Neither RSS feeds nor hand-rolled email lists onboard the user into an ecosystem where everything has the same rules, the same ways of liking and commenting and subscribing, nor the same format, UI, layout, and mechanisms…

I feel like this article forgets about Medium, which at one time seemed like it would become the central repository for writing on the internet — but Substack offers a better compensation model for writers, and an easier way to follow writing with the newsletter subscription approach. I agree that Substack feels like it’s about at this network effect point.

I’m a proponent of the own-your-content IndieWeb approach so a new silo frustrates me, while acknowledging that it’s ideal from a user standpoint to have a consistent experience and provides a discovery platform. My compromise when I ran a Substack was to cross-post on my own domain. (What would be lovely from an IndieWeb standpoint would be for Substack to accept Webmentions as comments so this post would appear under the original article, but that’s not going to happen — there’s no incentive for Substack or creators to support decentralized users in their siloed ecosystem.)

I am encouraged by the number of people committing to longform writing online, especially in a world where hot takes and microblogging are top. (I agree that blogger isn’t an appropriate name for newsletter writers — they are different formats — and would propose ‘essayist’ for writers of article-centric newsletters, unless that sounds too pretentious 😂)
There’s something about newsletters that feels different to write than a blog, and it seems to be more welcoming and inviting to new writers (whether inherently or via zeitgeist) as well as traditionally published authors drawn by easy monetization and the plug-and-play interface.



The same thing that makes it easy for readers to join — consistency — makes it harder for writers to create their own brand beyond Substack: every Substack newsletter looks the same. They offer some personalization but the emails that land in inboxes look nearly identical. I frankly have no idea which writer is which. Last year I subscribed to a bunch of Substacks from women in their 20s through 40s, and it was disorienting to have no idea who wrote the current email I was reading, and which previous emails were by them. I wound up unsubscribing from pretty much all of them because I couldn’t figure out consistently which ones I liked 🤷‍♀️ While blog posts may look the same in my feed reader, I can click through to open the article in its original website to remind myself who the author is. The unique look of the website is enough visual cue for me, while apparently a logo in an email header isn’t.

This makes me think of Etsy, which could be a glimpse forward of the risks of a silo for writers who lock themselves into the Substack model, like lower payments or mandatory advertising to get traffic to your newsletter. I try to be conscientious about it now I’ve noticed it, but the usual answer about where something came from is “a seller on Etsy” rather than the actual shop’s name. Likewise, I’ll find myself prefacing comments with “some Substack I follow” — which I might also say about a blog, but I’m more likely to actually remember the author’s name of a blog because it’s a distinct entity in my mind versus part of the Substack collective. Earlier today, I was reading a new email newsletter, and didn’t realize the same author also wrote another newsletter I already follow, but they happened to link to an article in it 🤷‍♀️

Resources and Reference

Send newsletters to your feed reader

Bookmarked Feed Your Email (Feed Your Email)

Generate an email address you can use for any newsletter, and a corresponding feed you can use to read those emails.

Also: Kill the Newsletter

Future Building The Internet

The Dominance of Newsletters Over Websites

Liked Newsletters by Robin Rendle (

Team RSS all the way!

I do also enjoy the renaissance of newsletters we’re experiencing, but wish it were on blogs instead. Email offers writers a certain perceived intimacy granted by privacy through obscurity. Yet websites can offer that as well, plus so much more control over presentation and access.

As someone who sometimes sends newsletters for work and projects, the myth of email being a means to reach the audience of people who have signed up to hear from you is a lie. It puts that power into Google and Microsoft’s hands to judge whether you’re sending junk. They don’t care that people signed up to get it, their filters “know better” and shunt emails to promotion purgatory or spam hell. The email clients don’t give people the option to elect to receive emails they deem unfit. There’s no way to tell Google, “Hey, I’m a real person and I promise I’m sending good content that people will like! If only you let them see it.” As big corporations, they could care less about the little one-person brands doing their best but lacking the tech savvy to game the deliverability system. But of course it sounds like a system where we have more control than social media with its opaque and ever-changing algorithm, you send an email and people just get it.

I find it somewhat ironic that so many people complain about too much email and yet email newsletters are having a heyday. I think Rendle is onto something with this idea of a browser integrated update and subscription tool. Firefox integrated Pocket for upgraded bookmarking, I don’t see why they couldn’t integrate a rebranded RSS (of course it failed with a non-name like that). I imagine people could be relieved to not get both their work and entertainment and learning all in one box.

I feel the lure of newsletters myself. Something about them feels less daunting than a website, less permanent, less demanding of perfection with lower expectations for design, more of a place you can experiment in a safer version of public, easier to “projectize” and make it an ephemeral of-the-moment *experience* that people can miss out on. It feels more active and participatory that people have had to take the step of giving you their email – it asks for some commitment from the reader. So while I agree with Rendle that the three barriers he’s identified are key, I think there are some psychological differences in how we perceive newsletters that might also need to be addressed to bring more people back to the light of a connected web.

Added: another good point from Craig Mod about why readers like newsletters: they influence writers to write more personably.


Newsletters and New Writing Formats

Bookmarked On projects, newsletters, products, and formats by Patrick Tanguay (Sentiers Media)

Instead of structuring something solid out of thin air and based on reckons, Peter and I settled on the idea of working on quarterly projects in parallel, which would occasionally be collaborations between us. So basically a more open form than my four publications but with a more “official” rhythm

  • “special projects” to combat subscription fatigue
  • seasons or series of newsletters and projects
  • zines and reports

I think “season” or “series” will also be a big thing. My hunch is that seasons or series on a topic have a different feel for buyers and sellers, a finite length of things to read / listen to / view / pay for but also a finite amount of work / creation to consider / price as well as a more defined thing to sell ads (see podcasts) / sponsors / find a financial partner for.

–Patrick Tanguay