156 #WhenFansPay

156 #WhenFansPay

It's hard enough to start a subscriber email. But what if--like freelance writer Lyz Lenz, who has two books coming out in the next twelve months--you asked your fans to pay for it? It's so crazy, it might just work.

Hello from the Mom 2.0 conference, where Jess and I just did a panel on Launching a Speaking Career. More on that in an upcoming episode--but meanwhile, this one's a real thought-provoker. Most of us struggle with what's a good use of our time in our writing careers. We've talked a lot about the value of an email subscriber list when it comes to selling books and sharing your work--but what if the email is your work, or becomes a way to share your work?

Journalist Lyz Lenz uses Substack to share a largely subscriber-only email with a group of readers/fans whose financial support has helped to carry her through the ups and downs of a freelance career.

Other links mentioned in the episode:

Lyz Lenz's Contently

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, Roxane Gay

Ann Friedman's Newsletter


Heavy: An American Memoir, Kiese Laymon

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, Dani Shapiro

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, Erik Larson

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, Mark Bowden

The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation, Mark Bowden


Lyz Lenz's fave is Next Page Books in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "Bart knows all the local gossip and has always been a great supporter of my work."

Find out more about our guest, Lyz Lenz, here—and check out the first of the TWO books she's working on this year, God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss and Renewal in Middle America on IndieBound.

This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwritingfor details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s 2-tier outline template (the one KJ swears by).

Find more about Jess here, and about KJ here.

If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.