Do you have an idea to improve fiction on Substack? Maybe a way to boost visibility, or a platform feature enhancement? Have you stumbled across something that works well on your Substack now, or something you’d like to try to bring in more paid members? Or maybe you have an idea for building the Fictionistas community.
We want to hear from you!
This thread is an open forum to discuss ideas and suggestions, so feel to drop them in. Nothing is too big or too small!
I would love to have templates for newsletters. I currently use a draft story as my template and copy and paste the items into a new newsletter, but a template would be better.
Following up with you after today's Writers Office Hours in which I asked Substack to implement a dedicated format for serialized novels.
The newsletter format doesn't work well at all.
The new Magazine layout gives me hope that Substack will soon give us novel writers a format that serves the needs of novel readers.
I am new to Substack and an expert in business networking. I am also a published fiction novel writer. My newsletter on Substack is its first if its kind on the platform. I am looking for subscribers. https://bonniea.substack.com/p/the-end-user
I think it would be nice to reverse the chronology of posts, especially within an individual section. For instance, I house all my official chapters under a heading.
Some things I've seen work well and implemented are navigation related, using custom buttons, always having forward and backward nav at the top AND bottom of each serialized post. At the end of each chapter I list each all section-numbers with links so the reader can jump back. I've also found it useful to number the posts in a very obvious and definitive way, and put the number at the beginning of the chapter name.
I also use a dedicated heading / section with a Table of Contents. This area also gets used for the synopsis, introduction, reminder posts to readers, etc.
I think the magazine format is confusing for new readers. A new format for serialized fiction might look like the standard format, with the posts in reverse order (oldest - newest) and the top hero pinned post could be two columns instead of one. For instance, you could have chapter one pinned up next to your table of contents or the synopsis post.
Better late than never to this post! I think the podcast aspect is a great function, but it's unfortunate that we can't have a recording function native to written posts as well ... I've been experimenting with saying a quick hello and reading my serialized chapters out loud, and folks seem to respond well to having the option to listen versus read, especially now that the smartphone app is online
I am thrilled that Substack has added the ability to include audio with your posts. That means that in addition to a podcast, I can give readers the text AND my audio narration. So a reader can read the text--either here or in their email; they can read and listen or they can listen. My plan for my upcoming novel is to distribute it in as many formats as possible so I can broaden my audience. Some may just want the ebook. Or paperback. So I'll have that, too.
A note: As someone who is fleeing Medium.com, Substack's introduction of AI bot audio narrations of posts was, at first blush, worrisome. Medium's can't pronounce my name and destroy the rhythm, tone and meaning of what I write. HOWEVER, unlike Medium, Substack folks told me today that you you can opt out by writing to Support with the link to your publication. You ALSO can now record your own audio (or upload your own audio file) that will replace any potential bot narration.
But you were really asking for possible improvements:
I would love to see a linking system (like most blogs) on the bottom and/or top that allow for an easy link back to a previous chapter or to the next chapter.
It would be great if the story summary appeared automatically at the top of the post. ...
AND, I would love a space here where people could talk about their experiences of publishing fiction on Substack (perhaps there is one--do give me a link if you know of one) to share what worked and what didn't. And I don't mean what I see constantly on medium: "7 ways to Make $$$ Writing Fiction on Medium." I mean something more informal; the exchange of ideas.
Because we all want the same thing, right? ENGAGED readers.
Thanks for this.
Not much of a suggestion. But I live rural and have an unstable internet connection. The autosaving of edits with this kind of connection is quite poor on substack. I may make several minor edits on my way down a post only to have an orange bar at the top telling me I'm offline and there is no way to get my connection stable then save the edits myself. I've been caught out with small edits that were not saved and worse, partial edits where an unintended word was inserted into the line. The lack of a save button is frustrating as I can't prompt the page to save once my internet is back online.
For the moment I'm writing every post in an offline app and editing there before uploading to substack. But it would be nice to be able to use the drafts feature online for shorter pieces.
So cool to find you. I'm trying to build readership: So, the spiel: The arts, books, movies, all things literary but primarily: Write it! How to Get Started. I post once a week on Thursdays. All early posts are free. Posts on Sundays, always free. For “Write It! How to get started” eventually you hit—I know I know—that paywall. I’ve been writing (award winnings short stories collected _The Woman Who Never Cooked_, novel, memoir--none self-published) and new stuff in lit. mags and been teaching a long time— have loads of advice to get folks going or going deeper.
Sundays, I post a literary essay, movie review—or something I couldn't keep quiet about. Here's an example: https://marytabor.substack.com/p/time-for-the-united-states-to-do.
I'm finishing a novel offline, short story based on it out now to lit. mags.
Wondering how I might help you or anything you think if you've got time to take a look.
It would be great if the Substack editor had a few more features, it is pretty basic and not as good as even the one on Medium?