Creator Spotlight

How this Fashion Merchandiser Became a Substack Writer

Sunaina Patnaik
Sep 5, 2023
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minutes read

As long as human race is around, stories will always be around. And for that reason, writers and storytellers are celebrated across the world.

In today’s Morning Rush, we’re bringing your way an immersive conversation we’ve had with Elle Griffin — a writer who writes a lot about future of publishing, and of course, fiction.

Before we jump right into the conversation:

Who’s Elle Griffin?

Now, let’s unfold the chat! 👇🏼

Thousand Faces Club: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Elle: I always wanted to pursue a creative career, and while growing up, I desired to be a Broadway actress. But in college, I realised I wasn't a good singer or actor — so I started looking at major options and decided to go with fashion merchandising. I was into Friends then and inspired by Rachel Green, who grabbed a job at Louis Vuitton in France, I took up fashion merchandising. At my first job, I wrote a blog on the side, but never thought I could stir a career out of it. Later, I landed a job at a content marketing agency and a business publication, where I started my journalism career. Soon I started writing for The Muse and Forbes.

Thousand Faces Club: You wrote a book! But you self-published it. Why?

Elle: After writing my book, I was compiling the stats and discovered only 268 books sold more than a hundred thousand copies in 2020. The market for books seemed smaller than video, audio, or social media posts. Since I was working on a gothic novel, I realised it was too niche to reach the mass-market audience. My best-case scenario was to sell a thousand copies, where I'd make $5-10 per book. Understanding the returns for years of work wasn't lucrative, I decided to publish it chapter-wise on Substack.

Thousand Faces Club: Interesting! You were also one of the first writers to monetise fiction on Substack. Can you tell us about your journey?

Elle: When I was getting started, there were about eight fiction writers and a small group serialising fiction. Then I wrote an article — could the creator economy work for fiction writers? — and it went insanely viral. That article led to a growth in the community of fiction writers, and eventually, Substack brought asked me to lead a workshop for fiction writers. Later, they roped in writers like Salman Rushdie to focus on fiction writing. Thousands of fiction writers are on Substack now!

Thousand Faces Club: You're also quite active in the web3 world. How did you start?

Elle: So, I wanted to explore the funding scene for fiction in web 3, and discovered that a writer did it, and even Lee Siegel raised 25 ETH to write a young adult novel. I was also curious because the wealthy tech elites were spending $20,000 on graphic art NFTs and wanted to see if they'd get involved in books. That's when I joined Mirror and came up with a novel specific to the platform — I wrote a prologue for a book called 'The True Story of Scott Paul', a fictional biography of a web3 angel investor.

Check out: Elle’s Etsy store

Thousand Faces Club: What’s your take on success?

Elle: I already feel successful. But I want to explore making a living out of her newsletter, as it would be a dream come true for any writer. However, I don't need that to be happy as I have projects and goals I'm working towards. Whether I get there or not, I'll feel successful at the end of the two years.

Want to know more about her journey? Check out the creator journey we’ve written. 👇🏼

Elle Griffin: A fashion merchandiser turned novelist

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