Here’s how writers can make up to $100k monthly with Substack

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
Here's how writers can make $100k monthly on Substack
Image source: 9to5Mac

Substack is a newsletter subscription platform founded by Chris Best in 2017. But in the past few years, it has found favour among writers, scholars, thinkers and everyone with “big” opinions.

The venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Ayomide Tayo, the journalist who writes The Naija Way and Emeka Ajene of Afridigest have all accepted Substack as a new home to share their takes on everything from Big Brother to interviews with founders of soon-to-be multinational banks like Tosin Olurunda of Moniepoint.

In the West, it has also become the linchpin for cultural dialogue, as the grip of old social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter thins. Creators have been looking for new platforms to build their communities fully owned and controlled by themselves where they are not in service of the social media companies and their rules.

In all, it has presented an opportunity for thinkers to make money on their own terms, if they are lucky enough to find an audience willing to subscribe, or even better, pay a fee for their ideas.

Substack has already inbuilt technology that collects subscription fees. However, the company takes 10 per cent of the proceeds, leaving writers or creators with the bulk of the earnings. Substacks like Lenny’s Newsletter, one of the biggest newsletters for businesses, have reported making as much as $123,000 monthly writing daily posts delivered to the emails of over 500,000 subscribers.

Here's how writers can make $100k monthly on Substack
The Nigerian Substack, Sober Sundays

Substack, a relatively newer platform for writers, has very quickly begun to go head to head with older platforms like Medium because it offers writers more creative options for making money. On Medium, the subscription fee is a flat $5 per month and $50 per year. Writers have the option of signing up to the Medium Partner Program and get paid  $15 to $30 for every 1,000 views.

While Medium’s option is itself not that bad for a young writer, especially for writers in Nigeria, Substack gives more season writers and authorities in disciplines leeway to earn more because they take a huge chunk of what subscribers pay.

Writers on substack also get to decide how much they want to charge for their content and how many payment options they want. Afridigest for instance offers regular Monthly and Annual plans. But it also offers a Founding Member package for $150 per year and a Group package for $84 per person, a year.

Read also: Moniepoint personal banking app says all we need to know about the future of fintech

How to write a successful Substack

The path to success on Substack is not as different from on other creator-fueled social platforms. It’s about consistency.

The newsletters at the top of the pile when it comes to earnings on the platform are the daily newsletters. Newsletters like Letters from an American which made $5,000,000 last year and even Afridigest post multiple times a week. This keeps readers engaged and in a way a sense that their time and money is worth it.

As opposed to writing less frequently, it is easier to roll out a paid plan for subscribers which is the goal on Substack when content is consistent.

The successful newsletters are also written by seasoned authors, authorities most times in their field. Letters from an American for instance is written by Heather Cox Richardson, a professor of history at Boston College. The Substack rakes in more than $400,000 per month from subscriptions.

Other Nigerian substacks have pursued other means of profitability. Culturally the online content subscription model has struggled to gain mass appeal in the country, where millennials and gen-zers are not used to paying for the news. Traditional methods of monetising online content like advertising have been adopted.

Here's how writers can make $100k monthly on Substack

The tech Substack NotADeepDive by the journalist Olumuyiwa Olowogboyega has included advertiser content in multiple editions. It doesn’t have any premium versions but it accepts financial support from subscribers, starting at $8 a month.

Another way to pursue success is to pursue niche categories. As opposed to regular commentary on every subject, an easier path to succeed is by zeroing in on niche fields like tech, public policy or Afrobeat.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!