Get on the team

The Top 5 (Free) Email Newsletter Platforms for Writers in 2024

Straight up writing or email marketing

Let’s start with a simple question: Why do you need an email list in 2024?

The most significant reason boils down to one thing:

Your own audience.

You’re in control, you own it, you can take it with you from platform to platform. It’s yours.

That’s it.

This simple fact makes an email list much more valuable than a X account, or a Facebook profile, a TikTok account, or a YouTube channel.

You can take your people with you.

Best email list platforms

In the ever-changing landscape of social media and content platforms, the only constant you truly own is your email list.

We’ve established that now.

But what platform is the best email list builder 2024?

Here are the top newsletter services for writers in 2024, based on my extensive testing of multiple platforms over the years. Not in order! They’re all great for different reasons.

Substack*

No surprises here – Substack* continues its meteoric rise, with a sleek mobile app in tow, and many features that make Substack much more than a simple newsletter app. It’s a social network, a writing community, and a recommendation engine.

For writers, Substack shines for several reasons:

The Positives

  • Sublime simplicity. Sign up, write, publish – that’s it. Get basic stats and a consistent cadence with flawless ease.
  • Elegant design. Substack’s interface is both eye-catching (while simple) and user-friendly. Customize your publication’s look with the nice “magazine” layout to make it super useful.
  • Best of both worlds. Your posts go to email subscribers and publish simultaneously on your Substack website (custom domains available for $50).
  • Discoverability. Substack’s Discover pages and X integration give your newsletter a chance to get found organically.

The Negatives

  • Too simple? More advanced metrics, subscriber segmentation, and targeting aren’t available yet.
  • Spam woes. Some subscribers report issues with emails landing in their spam folders. That plagues most services to a degree, though.
  • Sign-up forms need a lot of polish. You can’t customize them, and integrating one into your website isn’t pretty
  • 10% fees on paid subscriptions could be lower, but are still reasonable.

MailerLite*

A powerful yet easy-to-use contender, MailerLite* packs a ton of features into a beginner-friendly package that keeps writers in mind. The free plan is good with up to 1000 subscribers and a solid range of features. Additionally, the paid plans are reasonably priced.

The Positives

  • Free for up to 1,000 subscribers with most core features included.
  • Modern, intuitive drag-and-drop email builder with mobile-friendly templates.
  • In-depth analytics covering opens, clicks, locations, and more.
  • Subscriber segmentation and targeting for paid plans.
  • Automations, popups, landing pages, and website embedding.
  • free SparkLoop* integration

The Negatives

  • Limited integration options compared to more established platforms.
  • Can get pricey for larger lists (e.g. 10,000 subscribers is $50/month).

Gumroad*

Best known as an online storefront, Gumroad low-key offers a compelling newsletter solution – especially if you sell digital products.

Now, the feature set isn’t as rich as the other competitors, but Gumroad is constantly improving and updating the platform with new features. It’s also free. For unlimited subscribers.

The Positives

  • Totally free regardless of list size! Fees only apply to sales.
  • Seamlessly combines paying customers and subscribers (“followers”).
  • Laser-targeting by product, sale period, and more.
  • Simple but solid editor for writing newsletter issues.
  • Connect a custom domain for free.
  • Modern, bold, minimal (brutalist) aesthetic.

The Negatives

  • Customization is limited outside some color and filtering options.
  • Not really built for running a blog.
  • Lacks more advanced marketing and engagement metrics.

ConvertKit*

Shifting gears from writer-focused to full-blown marketing automation, ConvertKit* layers powerful functionality over email newsletter basics. It’s the most capable on this list. Also the most expensive.

The free plan isn’t great, let’s put it that way. You get limited features for up to 1000 subs.

The real deal are ConvertKit’s pro plans which offer anything and everything you’d ever need for email automation.

If you can afford it, ConvertKit is the top solution.

The Positives

  • Precision targeting and subscriber segmentation galore.
  • Launch marketing campaigns, sales sequences, and funnels.
  • Set up an integrated online store and accept payments.
  • Automated email workflows and sequences.

The Negatives

  • Steeper learning curve than simpler newsletter tools.
  • Not really optimized for the core writing experience.
  • Free plan is limited; pricing gets steep as you scale.

EmailOctopus*

If ConvertKit is out of your budget, this next option is a price killer.

Don’t overlook the budget-friendly all-in-one platform, EmailOctopus. It covers newsletters and far beyond at affordable flat rates.

Even the free plan is very solid with a lot of pro features. The paid plans are extremely affordable, starting at $8 a month.

The Positives

  • Simple campaign builder with mobile-responsive templates.
  • Integrations for forms, analytics, CRMs, and more.
  • Out-of-the-box automation recipes even on the free plan.

The Negatives

  • The interface can feel clunky compared to newer competitors.
  • Less focused on writing/publishing than some writer-first options.
  • Limited customization for templates and emails themselves.

The Bottom Line

Start building your email list now – no matter which platform you choose. It’s the key to fostering a loyal, evergreen audience you truly own.

When selecting a service, think about your priorities.

Do you value:

  • Ease of use and a distraction-free writing experience?
  • Built-in blogging, discoverability, and audience growth?
  • Powerful marketing tools for targeting, automations, and sales?
  • Budget-friendly pricing as you scale your list over time?

The right email service makes all the difference in 2024 and beyond.

Quick round-up:

  • For focused writers, Substack* is king.
  • Writers with a need for some marketing features will love MailerLite*.
  • If products are your game, Gumroad* rolls newsletters and sales into one.
  • For full-funnel marketing mavens, ConvertKit* pack a punch.
  • And for beginners who want to try email automation and marketing, EmailOctopus* is the perfect start.

Recent Posts

Learn How to Write For Money

From someone who makes money writing ↓

Dive into the life of a full-time content creator with me. And get great discounts on my digital products. Just sign up 👌

From my store

Creators’ Toolbox
Superwriter
Moviebuff