Substack for Absolute Beginners

Welcome to newsletter creation

Karen Cherry
8 min readDec 11, 2022


Want to get started with Substack? You’ve come to the right place. I’ve been on Substack since August 2021 and I earn more than USD $6.5K per year with my Substack newsletter.

Read on to find out what Substack is and how to use it.

What (exactly) is Substack?

Substack is a software platform for reading and writing email newsletters. Writers use Substack to send emails to readers, and for showcasing past emails as online ‘blog’ posts. Readers use Substack to access newsletter emails and posts using the Substack app or online, as well as receiving emails directly to their inbox.

How much does Substack cost?

Substack is free for readers and free for writers of free newsletters. Writers who charge readers a subscription fee pay a small proportion of those fees to Substack.

Is Substack good?

Substack is a cost-effective way to host a blog. Compared to having a website, Substack is an excellent low-cost or no-cost alternative.

Substack is a cost-effective way to email a group of people.

Substack is easy for newsletter writers to use. You don’t need any special technical skills to start a newsletter with Substack. It’s also easy to add features like paid subscriptions and podcasts without any special technical knowledge.

The Substack app and Substack online are user-friendly places for readers as well as writers.

Alternatives to Substack

There are other platforms that perform similar functions to Substack. The most well-known is Ghost, which, like Substack, is designed for blog-style newsletters.

Most other low-cost Substack alternatives are optimised for marketing emails. These email marketing services don’t provide webpages where past emails or posts can be displayed so they can’t be used as a ‘blog’. However, they usually have more powerful personalisation features than Substack.

For example, email marketing service providers allow you to personalise emails with individual subscribers’ names and ‘segment’ your subscribers so that only certain people get some emails. These services also allow for more flexible email scheduling than Substack — for example, a new subscriber can…



Karen Cherry

Substack writer. Secret tree hugger. Aussie business owner with >$13K revenue on Substack. Refusing to dumb it down.