This episode, part one in a two-part series on the Creator Economy, explores the process and economics behind creating an independent newsletter. In this candid conversation, host Lauren Murrow talks with four Substack writers—an artist, a technologist, a journalist, and a clinical researcher-turned-psychedelics scholar—about how to find and foster an audience, the calculus behind going paid versus unpaid, the pressure to produce, and financial benchmarks for making a living from newsletter writing.
The pandemic has prompted a reckoning within traditional media and, in parallel, a surge in the newsletter ecosystem. On Substack, readership and active writers both doubled from January through April. The newsletter hosting platform now has more than 100,000 paying subscribers.
This episode reveals the behind-the-scenes experiences of four newsletter creators, all of whom launched roughly within the past year:
And Patrice Peck, a freelance journalist—previously a staff writer at BuzzFeed—whose newsletter, Coronavirus News for Black Folks, highlights the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the black community.
Listen to the end of the episode to hear more about Patrice, Zach, Edith, and Lenny’s top newsletter recommendations:
Patrice’s newsletter recs:
Zach’s newsletter recs:
Edith’s newsletter recs:
Lenny’s newsletter recs:
2PM by Webb Smith
Illustration: Edith Zimmerman