Become a Writer Today

Don't Write A Book. Start a Newsletter Instead Says Elle Griffin.

October 31, 2022 Bryan Collins Season 2
Become a Writer Today
Don't Write A Book. Start a Newsletter Instead Says Elle Griffin.
Show Notes Transcript

What does it take to succeed on Substack today? And if you're thinking of starting your Substack newsletter, are you too late to the party? 

Over the past few years, I've interviewed several popular Substack newsletter owners. I even interviewed the co-founder of Substack, Hamish McKenzie.

Substack has gotten a lot more popular since I first featured it on the Become a Writer Today Show. Now it's used by journalists, writers, fiction writers, novelists, bloggers, and all types of creatives worldwide. In fact, it's so popular that it can seem difficult if you're using Substack for the first time to build a popular newsletter.

This week, I caught up with a Substack fellow, her name is Elle Griffin, and she runs the popular Substack newsletter, The Novelist. It has excellent advice and a great take on book writing and becoming an author versus writing a Substack newsletter. Elle also used her newsletter to serialize a book of fiction that she wrote during the pandemic.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why you should consider a newsletter over a book
  • How Substack has evolved
  • The inbuilt discovery in the platform to attract subscribers
  • The future of publishing for creators and writers
  • Elle's take on Web 3.0 platforms



Support the show

If you enjoyed the show please leave a review on Apple. And if you have any questions you can find me on Twitter @BryanJCollins

Thanks for listening!

Elle: I definitely had big dreams for my book when I was writing it, and to then start researching the industry and realize, okay, there’s not really a market for books, I need to find another way to use my craft, which would be a bit like an actress spending her whole life trying to be an actress only to realize nobody watches movies and so you have to find another way to use your craft.


Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan: What does it take to succeed on Substack today? And if you’re thinking of starting your Substack newsletter, are you too late to the party? Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins. Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Show.

So, over the past few years, I’ve interviewed a number of popular Substack newsletter owners. I even interviewed the co-founder of Substack, and you can go and look in the back catalog for that. Just look for Hamish McKenzie, and the interview should pop right up. Substack, of course, has gotten a lot more popular since I first featured it on the Become a Writer Today Show. Now it’s used by journalists, writers, fiction writers, novelists, bloggers, and all types of creatives around the world. In fact, it’s gotten so popular that it can seem difficult if you’re using Substack for the first time to build a popular newsletter. After all, are you too late to the party? Have you already missed out?

Well, this week, I caught up with a Substack fellow, her name is Elle Griffin, and she runs the popular Substack newsletter, The Novelist. It has great advice and a great take on book writing and becoming an author versus writing a Substack newsletter. Elle also used her newsletter to serialize a book of fiction that she wrote during the pandemic.

My key takeaway from talking to Elle is that the Substack platform has evolved quite a lot and discovery has gotten much easier. In other words, a couple of years ago, if you set up a Substack newsletter, it was quite challenging to attract subscribers to your mailing list. Now, thanks to the app and thanks to the inbuilt discovery in the platform, you can attract subscribers much more easily, and my interview with Elle convinced me to take another look at Substack for a newsletter that I’m experimenting with on my personal site.

My other takeaway from talking to Elle relates to writing a book. Elle cited some shocking statistics about how many books are published worldwide versus how many people actually read them, and she also talked about how many books are published in the US, and she has an article on her Substack that I recommend you check out about just that. But, basically, she puts forward a thesis that for many aspiring authors, writing a book is a little like a hobby. It’s a little like knitting or playing the harp. And in this week’s interview, she explains why you should think about starting a newsletter first if you want to earn a good living from writing or if you want to attract readers or if you want to make an impact or get your story out into the world. By all means, you could write a book later, but start with a newsletter first, says Elle, and she makes a good case for it in this week’s interview. 

We also get into the future of publishing for creators and writers, and Elle gives her take on Web 3.0 platforms. I’ve experimented with some of these Web 3.0 platforms, I guess because I’m nerdy, and I always like trying out the latest writing software, tools, and apps. One platform that I’m using a little bit at the moment is called It basically enables you to turn your writing into an NFT. I know many writers and creatives have reservations about NFTs for lots of different reasons, and in future episodes, I’ll explain why it’s at least worth following the space so you can learn how NFTs could potentially change what it means to work in the creator economy today.

So, it was a great interview with Elle. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please consider leaving a short review on the iTunes Store or simply hitting the Star button because more ratings will help more listeners and writers find the show. Or you can share the show with another writer or another friend who you think will enjoy this week’s podcast. And finally, if you do have feedback, I’m on Twitter at @bryanjcollins.

Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Elle Griffin.


Bryan: Welcome to the show, Elle.

Elle: Thank you so much for having me. Great to be here.

Bryan: So I wanted to get into your take on writing books because I know you’ve done some research into the topic, and you have a pretty interesting argument to put forward for aspiring authors today. But before we do that, what did your journey into writing online look like? How did you get started?

Elle: Yeah, so I’m actually a journalist by trade and, a couple years ago, I decided I wanted to write a book, so I just spent three years in obscurity sort of writing my book before work and then, in 2021, I decided to start trying to publish that book, so I did the usual thing, sent it to hundreds of agents, tried to get my book traditionally published first, and then as I’m going about this and I’m getting pass after pass after pass and sort of researching the industry, and I start realizing that, okay, this industry is a little bit more convoluted than I thought it was and, in fact, there isn’t quite the market for books that I thought there was. So, for example, my book is a gothic novel. It best comps with 100-year-old books like The Phantom of the Opera and Dracula, so not really marketable today, probably has a very niche audience at best, and so I started looking into the creator economy as an alternative, sort of the idea that you self-publish and try to develop a body of work and get people to subscribe to your work as a monthly paid subscriber rather than paying like $10 for the one book that might see a thousand readers. So, as I’m going about this, I started realizing — I start a newsletter, I start talking about the ways I’m thinking about publishing my book, I’m reactively researching the industry and the best way to publish my book and I find some pretty shocking statistics. Essentially, 2.7 million books enter the market every year and 96 percent of those sell less than a thousand copies. 

Bryan: That’s pretty brutal. 

Elle: Yeah, and in 2020, only 268 books sold more than 100,000 copies, so even if you think about the market for being like, “Okay, this book is a huge success,” and it’s still selling 100,000 copies, that’s like nothing compared to how many views a movie gets or how many listens an album gets. The top performing movies, films, and music see so many more patrons than a book.

Bryan: And were those books that sold more than 100,000 copies, were they genre fiction mostly?

Elle: Those are all fiction, yes. Actually, no, no, that was fiction and nonfiction combined.

Bryan: I would say the bulk was probably fiction. It’s harder to sell nonfiction, at least at that scale.

Elle: Well, with nonfiction traditional publishers, they’re basically looking for somebody with an existing list. I once heard it said at a publishing convention that if you want to publish a nonfiction book, you have to have 10,000 newsletter subscribers or 100,000 Twitter followers for a publishing house to even consider you, so there’s kind of like a need to already have a market, which is interesting.

Bryan: In which case, you wouldn’t need the publishing house. 

Elle: Exactly. If you have that many followers, you don’t need the publishing house. 

Bryan: What kind of journalist are you? And I ask because I was originally a journalist in Ireland, technology journalist years ago. Granted, not a very good one but that was my background.

Elle: Awesome. Yeah, same. Tech. Tech and startups a lot and now some Web3 and creator economy businesses.

Bryan: And did you find you wanted to write fiction to switch off from writing about technical concepts and business articles or was it something that you’ve always wanted to do?

Elle: Yeah, I’ve always wanted to write a book and I was reading a lot of gothic fiction, French literature and when I got through with that genre, I just wanted one more with like a female lead character, which doesn’t exist in that world so I just wrote it. And it was just kind of a peaceful thing I did on my own and it was really lovely, but I’m definitely reconsidering how I do things going forward based off what I learned.

Bryan: Did you write your novel during the lockdown or was it prior to the lockdown?

Elle: It was prior to the lockdown but I started — so I ultimately decided that I would publish it for my newsletter subscribers as a serial, kind of following in the footsteps of how the Count of Monte Cristo was published and a lot of Charles Dickens’ stuff and so I actually started publishing it in 2021 on my newsletter, The Novelist, and then that finished serializing — or finishes serializing in July of 2022 and then I’ll publish it on Kindle in August.

Bryan: Interesting. So, yeah, loads of questions to ask. So, first question, what drew you to Substack over perhaps building a website or using some other email marketing software or a different type of newsletter?

Elle: The answer is pretty simple, I just want to write. Substack handles everything else for me. They handle monetization, they handle — they’re constantly AB testing their products to make sure this is the best way people subscribe after reading one of your newsletters and so I don’t really have to do anything apart from just write a newsletter and Substack handles everything else, which is great because now I’ve been on Substack for a little more than a year and I have 5,000 newsletter subscribers and $15,000 in annual revenue, which is much better than if I had just put my book up on Amazon and maybe got less than a thousand sales.

Bryan: Yeah, so I would say a lot of people set up Substack newsletters and they find it’s actually quite hard to grow a newsletter and to run one so I suppose my next follow-on question is what made you decide to still go the newsletter option and not to self-publish on Amazon? 

Elle: Well, I am self-publishing on Amazon this fall but I wanted to serialize it on my newsletter first because I wanted to develop a following for it. It didn’t make sense to just blind put it up on Amazon and hope that it finds readers because that’s not really how Amazon works. You can add a book to the pile but there’s like millions of pages you’d have to like scroll through to find a book on there. And nobody knew me. That was my first book. There was no way you would be searching for my book. So I wanted to develop a following, not just for this book, but for my overall body of work as I continue to write other things and so I started the newsletter in a bid to grow my audience over time and continually have that as I debut books.

Bryan: You write on a Substack newsletter that it’s time to face to music and writing books, like knitting or playing the harp, is nothing more than a hobby. That’s a bold statement. Did you find it difficult to switch from putting a book first to a newsletter first or was it a natural transition for you?

Elle: Well, I think that I’m still experimenting. I definitely had some dreams that I would become a novelist and that my book would get picked up by Oprah’s Book Club and be adapted into a movie by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, like I definitely had big dreams for my book when I was writing it. And to kind of then start researching the industry and realize, okay, there’s not really a market for books, I need to find another way to use my craft, which would be a bit like an actress spending her whole life trying to be an actress only to realize like nobody watches movies and so you have to find another way to use your craft, maybe like as a Disney princess at Disney World. So I feel like I’m still developing that and I’ve run some experiments in the last little while. So one of the main key points in my research that I found was that, in America, at least, about one-fourth to one-third of the population doesn’t read books at all and the ones that do spend about 15 minutes a day reading, and, in fact, most of that reading happens on MSN and Facebook. But, comparatively, the average American spends three hours a day on social media. So I started thinking, okay, it’s not that reading or books is dead, it’s just that the format that we’re taking information in has changed and now people are doing all of their reading directly on social media. So I figured, okay, so writing and reading needs to feel more like social media and Substack is already starting to do this, they debuted an app this year so now I can, in my Substack app, find and follow writers the same way you can find them follow somebody on Instagram. I can see who they’re following and go follow those newsletters. I can comment, like different articles, there’s like thread discussions in there, so it’s like a very social experience, and so I’ve started to write for Substack as a way like, okay, here’s a market for my writing and, obviously, that’s done really well for me so far and now I’m even experimenting with other things like I crowdfunded a short story using cryptocurrency, I wrote some NFT lore. Now I’ve been writing rap songs for TikTok. I’m very interested in the experience of like writing for modern mediums.

Bryan: For Web 3.0. Very forward thinking. I would say a lot of writers could find opportunities there if they get to grips with those tools. So, I’ve set up Substack Publications. It’s a great tool to use. I even interviewed Hamish for the show a few years ago, but big challenge is growing a publication and while the app is a good tool now that it has discovery built into it, how can somebody go about growing their first Substack newsletter? What advice would you offer?

Elle: I did mine in a unique way. A lot of people develop the following on social media and then start a newsletter and like invite other social media followers over to the newsletter. When I started my newsletter, I started social media accounts at the exact same time because I didn’t have any at the time. And so —

Bryan: Was this Twitter or any other networks?

Elle: Yeah, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Clubhouse. I did all of them. I’m still trying to decide which ones to keep. I’m no longer on Clubhouse and I’m still — the jury’s out on Instagram but I love TikTok and I’m still on Twitter to an extent. But I think that — so my strategy was unique in that how I grew my newsletter was solely by pitching, which is, as you know, in the journalism industry, that’s like a very common way that you get your work out there. Essentially, every idea I had for an article, I wrote the article and then I reached out to every journalist I could find who had written stories for the Atlantic, for the New York Times, Business Insider about that topic and was like, “Hey, here’s my take on this. Here’s what I’m doing. Here’s how we could change publishing,” and that started to attract press as I started to get mentioned in various press outlets and that’s how I grew my Substack newsletter. I also published every article to Medium and Vokal to like add more discovery.

Bryan: Oh, what’s Vokal? I’m not familiar with that platform.

Elle: It’s It’s very similar to Medium.

Bryan: Okay. Yeah, I’ve used Medium. Medium’s fantastic. So, when you’re publishing your articles on Substack and also publishing them on social media and then outreaching to journalists, is that through your own personal network or are you using a service like Help a Reporter Out?

Elle: I just Google their email addresses.

Bryan: Nice, barebones, no need for any fancy tools or software. And did you get a good response?

Elle: I think like anything, I reached out to hundreds and hundreds of people, most of them with no response, but some did respond, like Business Insider wrote a story about the future of publishing and featured my newsletter. I’ve been on a couple of podcasts that then reached that. One of my newsletters went viral on Hacker News, which is a site a lot of journalists use. So, just like a handful of things worked and that started it. Now that I have 5,000 newsletter subscribers, things have started to work on their own. I haven’t done any pitching really in the last month and, in fact, this is the first podcast I’ve accepted in a few months and now it seems to just be growing on its own. And there is a big network effect on Substack as well. About 500 to 700 of my newsletter subscribers just found me through the commenting feature on Substack so there’s a big network effect there.

Bryan: Interesting. It sounded like a lot of upfront work. You almost spent as much time in outreach as you did writing the newsletters.

Elle: Oh, yeah. Totally. Early on, I wrote the newsletter in the morning before work and then after work I would like pitch five people and that was the way that I worked for a long time.

Bryan: And were you sending out a newsletter or writing an article every day?

Elle: No, I was sending one once a week. 

Bryan: Okay. So what does it take to run a newsletter in terms of content? Did you have your novel written and ready to serialize and did you have your articles researched or did you figure it out as you went along?

Elle: My book was already done so I serialized that, just one every week, for about a year. And then my newsletter, I just was writing. I created a content calendar of articles that I wanted to write over the next several months and because I have a day job, I wasn’t able to write a new one every week so what I did was write a new article every other week and on the alternate of Mondays, I interviewed an author who was successfully living off of their work in the creator economy so I alternated article, interview, article, interview, and I still do that now.

Bryan: That’s a good approach. Did the writing process take long for your nonfiction articles?

Elle: No. It probably takes me a week to write an article like every day in the morning. Some are more labor intensive, like I just wrote an article on the future of Web3 publishing which was a pitch I did to Esquire and that’s going to be published with Esquire’s Shortly and that one has taken me like months to work on. So it depends on how labor intensive and interview intensive the articles are.

Bryan: I have to ask you about that, what is the future of Web 3.0 publishing?

Elle: Well, basically, my stance is that it’s not a sustainable model to charge or to monetize books by charging $10 per copy, like unit sales are not how we should be measuring art, like if you think about how you view a Monet painting, like you’re viewing that Monet painting because you’re going to these visiting museums that has lots of other paintings in it. The person who’s getting rich in the art game is the person who actually owns the Monet and is lending it out to museums. And so I just think that that’s an interesting model. And, actually, music works that way already, there’s like usually a really rich entity or like a record label that owns a musician’s masters and then any of us can listen to an album relatively cheap on Spotify but there’s like this entity that’s like getting rich on all those streams. So kind of my case is that we could make books the same way by allowing fans of a book to sort of buy ownership in a book, like owning part of the intellectual property of the book. If you can imagine like buying stock in Harry Potter back when it was one book, if you owned 3 percent of the series, then you’d be like a billionaire now. So my idea is to kind of like take that same stance to monetize book publishing, sort of the way that we monetize art and music, rather than this weird unit sales model.

Bryan: Yeah, that’s a good take. I guess the main concern will be a lot of new artists struggle to earn any money on Spotify and even artists who have been around for 20 or 30 years, it’s only really the superstars, the big bands, people who own the back catalog who would actually earn a good living from streaming.

Elle: That’ll always be the case, in books too, like there will only be like a few that are really, really amazing, and do really well, like the Harry Potters of the world are super, super rare, just like the Game of Thrones series of the world are super rare compared to how much content is produced. That’s just always how it will be.

Bryan: When you were investigating Web 3.0 for writers, did you come up with a take on NFTs for writers?

Elle: Yeah, so that’s kind of what would enable that is if the book is sold as an NFT on the market, then essentially the NFT means the book’s intellectual property so that would be how that would be facilitated, that idea.

Bryan: So the idea that the author would earn a percentage of secondary sales of their book on the secondary market?

Elle: Yes. Well, so imagine if I crowdfunded a book and said, “I’m thinking about writing this new book, invest if you want to get interested and you’ll own part of it,” so everybody makes a donation, only it’s not a donation, they’re actually buying ownership, the crowdfund closes, and if somebody bought 14 percent then they own 14 percent of the book, then when the book’s done, I can sell the book as an NFT, essentially that being the intellectual property, selling off the rights, and a publishing house could own that, a studio could own that, the original author could retain ownership and a percentage of that and then it could essentially sell on the market the same way a Monet painting continues to sell on the market.

Bryan: That makes sense. You’re a Substack Fellows, is that right? 

Elle: Yes. Yeah, that was really exciting. 

Bryan: Yeah, I can imagine. Wow, congrats. How did they help you with your newsletter? Are there any insider tips that did you learned from them that other people could use?

Elle: Yeah, totally. They were super helpful. I think some of the most important things I learned were, well, one, that it’s even possible like having exposure to all these mentors who are making $300,000 a year and up just from their Substack newsletters and kind of hearing about how they got there was super helpful, because my mentor was exactly where I am and, two years later, is making $300,000 a year. So, I think that there is a trajectory and one of the ways you get there is you have to publish every week, like people that try to do longer stories spread out don’t do as well because you need constant contact so shorter stories more often and then you have to have ways to monetize and everybody does that differently but, for me, now, I monetize commenting so if you want to comment on my newsletters, you have to be a paid subscriber and if you want to receive my interviews, you have to be a paid subscriber as well so every time you get a newsletter, you read my newsletter for free but there’s like paid options if you want to be part of the community.

Bryan: That’s a good approach. And when I look at your Substack newsletter, it’s quite well built out. So you have articles, interviews, the Literary Salon, resources, there’s a few other sections as well. Did it take long to build out what’s essentially almost like a website with a few different hubs for readers?

Elle: No, on Substack it’s so easy, like there’s just one Settings page and you can just like set everything how you want it so that part is pretty easy. And those sections are nice because people can unsubscribe to certain things if they don’t want them, like if they don’t want to receive the interviews, they can unsubscribe to just the interview section and still get my articles so that’s kind of nice, a nice functionality.

Bryan: Did you build out those sections when you realized that you’ve got interviews and you have your fiction and you decided, “Look, I need a way of segmenting all of this”?

Elle: Yeah, exactly. When I was publishing my fiction, I was like, well, some people might be interested in just my articles and not wanna read my fiction so now they can unsubscribe to my book if they want to.

Bryan: So if I’m listening to this and you’ve convinced me to set up my first Substack newsletter, what would you say I need to do before I fire up a Substack account?

Elle: I think in the beginning, don’t focus on paid because you just want to build a following so it’s just like you have to create your community there and wherever you like find those people online, you’ve got to bring them back to Substack. I kind of think of it like all roads lead to Rome and Rome is my Substack so all my social media, everything I do on Reddit, all my pitches are just trying to get people to come back to Substack, and when they do, they tend to subscribe. So, just trying to gather it all there.

Bryan: And have you ever gotten in touch with any of your subscribers to learn more about them or interviewed them or perhaps ask for feedback?

Elle: Yeah, so my pay subscribers are really vocal, they tend to comment on everything I do and give me a lot of feedback and advice. And then I also host literary just long discussions where I ask them questions and that’s just for paid subscribers and they provide a lot of feedback there. And then I also have a higher paying tier, that’s $200 a year, and that’s for anyone who wants — I produce like a print edition of my newsletter once a year and also the print hardcover edition of my books so those subscribers I’ve actually met with one on one, we’ve had like zoom calls together and just learned more about each other.

Bryan: A print edition, that’s interesting, because I was going to ask you online writing is fantastic but even though less people read books, they still have more of a sense of permanency than an article or a blog post or even a newsletter, even though it may have more readers. So, how do you go about creating the print version?

Elle: I’m using a company called Edition One and I just designed it myself and then uploaded my print files to the company and then they’re printing it out for me.

Bryan: And are you still working as a reporter as well or do you imagine doing this full time at some point?

Elle: Yes, I’m still a journalist right now, although I’m deep in interviews so probably by the time this comes out, I’ll have a different job.

Bryan: Oh, fantastic. I’m sure The Novelist has helped raise your profile with potential employers and editors.

Elle: Yeah, it’s been really interesting just seeing who has subscribed to my newsletter, I can see that there’s like New York Times reporters following it, I can see there’s literary agents, big publishing houses following it, so a lot of really influential people in the publishing industry and as a journalist who’s very comfortable with pitching, whenever I see those people subscribed, I instantly pitch them ideas so it’s helpful in the job market as well.

Bryan: Nice. And do you spend much time talking to other writers or newsletter owners on Substack to figure out what’s working for them? 

Elle: Yeah, so we actually have a Discord server called Substack Writers Unite that I founded when I started Substack and now there’s thousands of Substack writers in there that share all their tips and tricks and their every process of their journeys so it’s like super helpful. If you ever need help with anything, you can just go in there and be like, “How did you guys go paid? What are you guys charging?” and all this stuff and everybody will pile on and answer so that’s been really helpful.

Bryan: So I have to ask, what do you think about the fact that some Substack writers have left Substack for platforms like Ghost?

Elle: I think that’s fine but I think, for me, the community element is so important and, like I said, I have more than 700 subscribers who have come just from the Substack network alone and, in fact, all of my paid subscribers have come from the Substack network. There’s some stats like if somebody’s a paid subscriber to one Substack newsletter, they’re like 50 times more likely to pay to subscribe to another newsletter so just having exposure to all these people that are already reading Substack newsletters and already paying for them, it’s like having a bunch of hot leads kind of so it makes it much easier to find people. If I was doing a Ghost thing, I would have to find people on my own. Not to mention, as a reader, I have gotten kind of crazy because now I only read in the Substack app because I subscribed to like 75 newsletters and my inbox was just —

Bryan: Seventy-five, wow. 

Elle: Yeah, my inbox was just getting flooded and so now I still subscribe to newsletters that are not Substack but they’re in my email so I tend to just delete them all because I don’t want my email to be busy and now I basically only read my Substack newsletters because they’re all in the app and I can just read and comment in there and it’s like a nice quiet place to read.

Bryan: Must try out the Substack app. I haven’t really used it since they’ve launched it. One last question, you mentioned a content calendar so how far ahead do you plan your newsletters or how many do you have in the tank or scheduled? And the reason I ask is we’re recording this in the summer so I’m sure you’re planning some holidays so how do you use your calendar to take time off and focus on your other work?

Elle: So I just have — I have about two months scheduled right now but mostly I have all the interviews scheduled because those are so easy, I just send a bunch of people Google Docs with questions and they fill them out on their own time and like as I see those getting filled out, I add them to my calendar. The ones that I write myself, I’m kind of just winging it every two weeks, unless like, for example, I know I have this Esquire article coming out so I’ll schedule that to my newsletter subscribers the week it debuts and I have a couple other stories that I’m working on. Like I said, I’ve been doing rap songs on TikTok so I’ve been sharing those as I write them to my newsletter subscribers as well. So I’ve just been — it’s kind of more — I’m kind of winging it with my own writing, just depending on what inspires me.

Bryan: I suppose I have to ask as well, what drew you to TikTok?

Elle: TikTok is amazing. I am a really big fan of just the arts in general, but specifically Broadway theater and so I started following a lot of Broadway musicians and actors and then that led me to discover a lot of other kinds of artists on there, Cirque du Soleil performers, a lot of authors do book talk, and then I saw this New York Times article that said like book talk was changing the publishing industry because, essentially, these authors that had zero fans were getting on TikTok and making these little videos of what their book looked like and publishing them and then becoming like Amazon bestsellers in one day, essentially, so I was like, okay, I’ll start doing stuff directly for TikTok. And, yeah, it’s been a really interesting experiment. I’m still pretty new and I’m doing some experimentation over the next couple of months but I think it’s a game-changing platform for creatives of all kinds.

Bryan: Have any of those followers come through to your newsletter or is it too early to say?

Elle: It’s too early to say. I’ve only just started publishing there like a couple of weeks ago.

Bryan: Great, fantastic. One last question before we go, just back to your Web 3.0 take, have you used any of the Web 3.0 publishing platforms like

Elle: Yes, and I am interested in using — I crowdfunded a story on Mirror that got me about $5,000 and I wrote like a short story that was 2,000 words in length, which was awesome, and then now Mirror just debuted where you can actually collect specific articles so I’ll probably release my top five best-performing articles as collectibles on Mirror where you can essentially own that article. And some people are using this to great success, the newsletter Dirt, for example, they’ve raised $80,000 for their Substack newsletter just by launching a tiny little NFT collection that like only 150 people purchased but it was enough to fund the whole newsletter for a year. So I think that there’s some — it seems weird, like why would you do that, but there’s definitely an audience there so it’s worth looking into.

Bryan: Yeah. I feel like writers and authors are maybe a year or two behind other types of creatives with using Web 3.0 platforms so perhaps Mirror will change that. So, Elle, where can people go if they want to read your newsletter or learn more about you or your work?

Elle: Yeah, my newsletter is just

Bryan: It’s great to talk to you today. Thanks.

Elle: Thanks.


Bryan: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. If you did, please consider leaving a short review on the iTunes Store or sharing the show on Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you’re listening. More reviews, more ratings, and more shares will help more people find the Become a Writer Today Podcast. And did you know, for just a couple of dollars a month, you could become a Patreon for the show? Visit or look for the Support button in the show notes. Your support will help me record, produce, and publish more episodes each month. And if you become a Patreon, I’ll give you my writing books and discounts on writing software and on my writing courses.