No, probably not — a this article states, setting it up as the “side-hustle” of publishing. But from Rushdie saying he wants
“a slightly more complex relationship with readers” (dude, I would argue that your relationship with readers is more than adequately complex) to everyone with a built in audience who wants to more control and possibly to publish things that hover somewhere between tweets and books, it’s apparently the way to go right now.
Writers flirting with the Substack idea would be better seen, says Lawson, in footballing terms: they are probably going out on loan from their existing publishers, not transferring for good. He doubts that big names will turn their backs on traditional publishing.
“If you take crime fiction, which sells hugely now,” he says, “the big names have long-established series, so if Substack signed up, for the sake of argument, Ian Rankin, Peter James and Val McDermid, they might get a new book out of them but they couldn’t have their backlist. And that’s where the value is for a lot of crime authors.”
That said, Lawson thinks readers would definitely shell out for a Substack subscription if it was the only way of reading their favourite author’s newest novel. But he wonders if the model is sustainable.