My Rapid Rise to Substack Stardom: A Billion Subscribers in Six Days | by Marisa Russello | Feb, 2024 – Jarastyle



It took I Will Donate My Kidney to a Dying Child if You Read This less than six days and just 462 posts to gain one billion subscribers.

Marisa RusselloThe Belladonna ComedyA red typewriter prints a page that reads “ORGAN DONOR.”Image from

Hi Kidney Beanies!

I cannot believe how my Substack newsletter has grown. I still remember struggling to reach that 100-subscriber milestone — until I found that gold mine of an email list from organizing our 20th high school reunion. (Go Squirrels!) But with a lot of persistence and A LOT of Adderall, my Substack has flourished.

It took I Will Donate My Kidney to a Dying Child if You Read This less than six days and just 462 posts to gain one billion subscribers. (And only nine hundred million are bots!) I’m proud to say, I now have more readers than Jesus himself — and of course I’m referring to Jesus, my accountant, author of In Our CPA We Pray.

Now that I’m such a dope influencer, I’d like to give back to my community (aside from my generous organ donation): I’m spilling the tea on my biggest tips so you, too, can slay like Caroline Calloway on a Butterbeer and meth binge at Harry Potter World. If I can do it, so can you!

★ 1. First, make your title stand out so everyone wants to read it. Here are some of my favorites: Cane Snatched: Drama Goin’ Down on Golden Bachelor; My 67 First Dates on Bumble and Why I’m a Lesbian Now; The Poop Scoop Daily: My Explosive Life with IBS; Cry Me a River: No One Cares About Your Divorce, Kevin; How I Got into Witness Protection (that one was mega popular but short-lived).

★ 2. Guilt your parents — and if you’re lucky, stepparents — into subscribing separately as paid, even if they share the same bank account. They paid for your college, your wedding, your house. Why can’t they bankroll your Substack?

★ 3. Determine which of your friends you never really liked anyway. While they wait for the bathroom at Starbucks, borrow their phone to “call your mom.” Open their email and export their contacts as a CSV file. Sign up all their acquaintances for your newsletter. If anybody asks, blame Russian hackers.

★ 4. If you feel overwhelmed by the stress of starting a Substack, turn to family for support. After all, those suckers will sign up for anything you suggest. Harass them whenever they leave an issue unread. What are cousins, really, but a segment of subscribers given to you upon conception?

★ 5. Live-tweet your kidney surgery, like so:

Mama Bean is Saving Lives @TheMamaBean They’re cutting into me now guys. This really hurts. #SoWorthIt #ImAHero #SponsoredByTriscutImage created at

★ 6. Bring a clipboard with a typed sign-up sheet to local grocery stores.
Wave over shoppers in the snack aisle and ask if they’d like to be notified when Girl Scout Cookies go on sale. It’s not your fault if they don’t read the fine print.

★ 7. When you hit a plateau, offer to fund an item from your 500th subscriber’s bucket list, like their midlife crisis unicorn face tattoo, the purebred European hedgehog they want to adopt, or turning their dead dog, Paco, into taxidermy so he can be dressed according to occasion and become the “afterlife of the party.”

★ 8. Steal your kid’s phone when they’re grounded for not liking your posts. Open the group text from their last school project, “TikTok: Friend or Foe to Climate Change?” Tap the three dots in the upper righthand corner and then “Group details.” Click each phone number to see if there’s an associated email. Bingo, new subscribers.

★ 9. Have your grandpa write a guest post about his birdwatching and bowling club. The likes will come rolling in. (Note: this tip works best if your paternal grandfather is Stephen King. Hi, Poppy!)

★ 10. Hold an Instagram giveaway for a private five-course meal with a gourmet chef where a newsletter subscription is an entry requirement. People will only be slightly annoyed when it’s revealed you are the chef and dinner will be live-streamed from their dining room to generate more content.

★ 11. After the novelty of donating a kidney wears off, hold a subscriber poll: Which organ should you donate next? Paid subscribers get to vote twice.

★ 12. Bribe an Atlantic City hypnotist with slot machine tokens, fried calamari, and the return of his recently kidnapped daughter to convince gamblers there’s nothing they more desperately want than to sign up for your newsletter.

★ 13. Recruit a team of unpaid interns from local colleges to create several hundred thousand Gmail accounts for subscriptions. In exchange, let them list you as a reference and put “social media experience” on their resumes.

★ 14. Ask your friend Craig — or was it Greg? — who works in cybersecurity to hack into Yahoo and make your newsletter the number one result for any searches including the word “Amazon.” If you’re reading this, Craig/Greg, please don’t delete my Substack.

★ 15. If all else fails, you can say you thought “paid subscribers” meant you paid for subscribers.

The main thing to remember is that building a Substack takes time. You won’t go viral overnight. It might take a week, or even a whole month. You may need to donate your organs too. But if you put my tips into practice, and if your grandpa writes you a suitable check, I guarantee you’ll see improvement.

And if you want tips #16–30 — the ones that ACTUALLY work — you can earn access to my Super Beany Burrito subscription tier by signing up fifteen friends at the link below.


Mama Bean

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