In my experience, a newsletter subscriber is a higher value, higher attention reader than someone who only follows you on Instagram or Twitter or TikTok. From high-quality attention flows literal economic value: I sell significantly more books when I pitch 10,000 newsletter subscribers than 35,000 Twitter followers.
The highest-value readers, though, are probably those who buy and read books, because this requires the greatest commitment of attention. These are the readers most likely to go to bat for you and your work out in the world. Books, in this way, represent a special overlapping of attention, idea density, and (potential) economic sustainability.
I have long written against the “newsletters”. Even though I encourage users to use Inoreader and track the updates to the blog through RSS feeds, there are some brave souls who gave their email to WordPress. I don’t operate the mailing list and to make it easier for everyone, I schedule my posts everyday.
Twitter is only noise. It is an advertising medium that masquerades as “social media”- even though its express purpose isn’t clear to their originators themselves. Content policing is difficult on medium at scale and it is easier to fall in the trap of doom scrolling.
Newsletter means you need to invest significant resources (e.g. in Substack), but external agencies control the visibility. What’s the point? You don’t own the billing relationship, you part away with a significant percentage of your earnings (as they grow) and “subscriber-only newsletters” will become difficult to keep track of. How can you indefinitely pay for some journalist who decides to stick out his/her neck from the confines of job security? (It is an example). The law of averages is heavily stacked against you.
A blog is cheaper- hook it up to MailChimp and Stripe. Simple.
Subsctack uses a white label solution to distribute newsletters – most of VC money is going to increase the moat of content creators. Soon they will realise it is a wasteful enterprise.