Happy 2023, Alison!

Good, clear advice. I've come to the conclusion that, no matter what I write, no matter how I encourage interaction, most of my subscribers will simply read the current email. At least, the stats indicate that's what they're doing.

Then I find there's a whole bunch (well, a small bunch) of peeps who've been listening to my podcast via various apps, including my biggest and most loyal 'day job' client, and I was unaware of it for months, as they haven't signed up to my Substack.

When I feel frustrated by all this, as I often do, I look to my own online activity and ruefully admit: I'm exactly the same, well-intentioned, but continually distracted by new bright, shiny things.

I hope to spend more time here in 2023.😊

Expand full comment

Oh wow, this was useful, because it alerted me to the fact that I should figure out how to do something similar for my own subscribers! Given that I post every day, I know that it is very difficult for someone who might want to go back and look for something like one of my father's poems I've published. The solution I've come up with is to create tabs, one for his poetry, one for the posts I call Historical Tidbits, and one that I just created called the Authors Corner where i have posts directed at providing advice to authors. But I doubt whether very many, if any, of my subscribers know about these tabs.

In addition, I usually go to my inbox to read other people's posts, so I haven't spent any time looking in detail at someone else's home page. Therefore, I loved finding out about the index you created. Perfect for me to look through some of the posts (like who and that!) before I start on my major rewrite. Grammar in particular has never been my strong suit (my major professor didn't give me a grade on my first paper, making me rewrite before I turned it in, he also gave me Fowler's Modern English Usage book when I passed my orals...hint hint.) And, because most of my career I wrote non-fiction, I never did have any experience with dialog--so that one I really had to learn. Anyway, thanks so much for this.

Expand full comment

This is a really great tutorial, Alison! A lot of readers can benefit from what you’ve laid out here. Thank you!

Expand full comment
Jan 5Liked by Alison Acheson

As a librarian, I am fond of indexes and can never hear enough about them! ;)

Expand full comment
Jan 5·edited Jan 5Liked by Alison Acheson

Happy New Year Alison!

I thought this was very thorough information and I greatly appreciate that there are writing resources and actual people to interact with when finally getting the gumption to write and share our work.

I also think it's great how you broke down how we see Substack posts versus emails and such.

I'll admit that I read my emails and get intrigued then forget to go back or just make my "TBR" pile of Substack reads. I need to get better at actually going back and reading them as there is alot of useful information and interaction happening.

Resolution and Goal this year is to write more, take a few writing courses, and find the right platform or site to begin sharing. Whether it be here or somewhere else.

Happy to have found you!

Expand full comment
Jan 5·edited Jan 5Liked by Alison Acheson

Alison, thank you SO much for taking the time to explain this. I will be able to make fuller use of your Substack articles, especially as I often look for earlier entries. I didn't know that they were indexed!

You would think that as a paid, longtime subscriber I would know my way around. And I've not had much difficulty finding older posts, even though I've scrolled through them chronologically and not by subject.

But the embarrassing truth is, quite often when I have tried to post a comment I've gotten lost and sometimes have not been able to write a response. I have assumed that's because I usually pick up your Substack emails on my phone and read them then, while I originally registered for Unschool on my laptop. I thought that the app didn't work as well on my phone. But it turns out that I had just never explored enough. Thank you for the guided tour today.

The reason I hadn't had difficulty finding previous posts, is that I always click on "Unschool for Writers" after clicking on the post of the day in my email. Previous posts immediately load up on my phone's screen. However, I had never noticed that menu (quite tiny on the phone) that included "workshop space," "about," and "archive," etc. So, when you referred to workshops in your posts, I had been a bit fuzzy about how people were gathering. I've been missing opportunities!

I now see that the reason I've had difficulty consistently commenting on your posts is that the app works differently on the phone than on the laptop, and I had attributed the difference to my having first subscribed on my laptop, rather than to slight differences in the app design. (It's always been easier for me to respond to articles on my laptop, but I usually read them on my phone.) I am comparing them now while reading your helpful article, and see where I went wrong. I now see that the "heart" and "bubble" icons appear in a fixed position at the top of the screen, while on my phone they appear at the bottom of the screen but disappear when I scroll down to read the article, likely so as not to take up screen space. They reappear if I slightly scroll up again. I have often gone looking for these icons, knowing that I just saw them, but often don't find them because they are not actually in a fixed location on the article page, but function as pop-ups. I never grasped this until following your directions just now, and comparing the laptop screen to my phone's. Of course, the "leave a comment" button later in the post always works. That's what I usually use.

Thank you so much for this information. I look forward to being able to comment more frequently, and also to being able to make fuller use of your site. It's often the case that something you post begins to resonate for me, or match my needs, days or weeks later. I look forward to finding posts by topic. Also, I may investigate workshop options in a couple of weeks. Ready for that, I think!

Thank you for this VERY helpful entry.

Expand full comment

Alison, appreciate all the wonderful information. Hadn't really thought before about the readers who just read the email and never visit the site. Those who subscribe later are missing out on so many wonderful articles written by their favorite Substackers. I'll have to play with the headers and graphics to see if I can get more to click through to the website. Thanks!

Expand full comment

Thank you for the work you do. I don't remember how I stumbles into your blog but I am so glad I did. I'll look around and hopefully, someday I can be part of your workshop space.

Expand full comment