Welcome to Chill Subs’ Startup Diary!

We tend to over-brainstorm, so what better way to introduce the things you might see in this newsletter than dump a lot of ideas for posts we’ve got?

Let’s break it into categories, so we don’t scare you (or ourselves) away.

Behind-the-scenes looks at how we create everything at Chill Subs without losing the few cookies we’ve got left (will include: surprises, fuckups, and fun nonsense)

  • How do we manage to collect all of the data on litmags we do? (By force-feeding our eyeballs to our computer, obv.)

  • What we are (and what we absolutely are not)

  • Why two of our team members can not return home & the challenges that creates

  • Why did we decide to create a startup diary (pure theft)

  • How to start a business with two people who’ve never met from different countries

We’ll be including internal communications—mostly us making each other chuckle over outrageous ideas and making plans we can’t possibly accomplish. Like this:

Oh—yeah, we also talk about like 6 things at once (Lilith was a writer who published a fantastic poem with us).

And—yeah, this is how it starts, “Sure, let’s do monthly!”

Ahem, now we’ll be posting three-four times a month.

Because we’re masochists.

Commentary on the indie-lit world. Things we’ve noticed, are trying to change, see being changed, and so on.

  • Editors are actually some of the nicest damn people in the world. (or: Editors are doing god’s work. Because they’re our gods)

  • What does it really cost to start and maintain a litmag (and what does it really mean when they vanish?)

  • We’ve reviewed over 4,000 submission guidelines—here’s some constructive feedback.

  • Please go fuck yourself all the way back up that follow4follow chain (and other ways social media has been abused to hurt the writing community).

Cause we think we’re funny, we tend to theme our months internally. So, each month, we’ll have a post with that month’s theme, why we chose it, and updates on all our inner workings.

For example:

February (actual screenshot of our shared google doc)

(What’s that red line? Psh, I don’t use Grammarly. Nope. I’m an editor—that’d be silly…)

Other examples include:

  • January: MONEY!…maybe.

  • December: We’re going to have merch for Christmas! Shit, maybe not

And so on.

(These will be the free monthly posts available to anyone. They’ll talk about current challenges, in-the-works features, planned features, financial updates, and more!)

And last but not least! The business side of the indie-lit world:

  • Theories on why so many startups have tanked in the indie-lit world

  • Why does every company say “we are writers” yet never show their faces? (Because they’re not writers)

  • Guest posts from other folks in the industry trying to make a living in a space notorious for only having coffee & cat food budgets

  • Periodic investigations into the inner workings of different companies in the space.

We tried to come up with some internal labels in our task manager to help us keep organized (so, here is more or less what to expect each month!)

*Don’t worry, these will only change about thirty-six more times by the end of the year.

Oh, and wtf is with the comics?

Yeah, we just thought it would be a funky way to set this newsletter apart from our Chill Subs vibe. They will be made custom for us each week based on whatever we write about. They’re all done by Mariam Chagelishvili, a bat-shit-talented friend of Chill Subs who you should go hire to draw some stuff instead of piddling with DAL-E.

As we make more money here we hope to be able to afford to pay her to create everything in color and add multiple images to each post. So, speaking of money…

Administrative stuff!

Every paid subscription goes to support the work we do and help us do even better.

How we've decided to monetize this is that one post per month will be free. To access the other posts, it is $5 per month through Substack OR you can donate straight through our website and earn even more rewards (like merch) and donate more than $5 per month (if you're—like—a super amazing person [with some excess cash]).

If you would love to read this newsletter but don't have the means to pay monthly, no worries. Shoot us an email at hello@chillsubs.com explaining your situation and we'd be happy to help you out until your situation changes.

We really really tend to overthink things, since this project was started by two writers who thought 'hey, you know what would be pretty cool...' and has since evolved into something resembling a company. So please, never hesitate to reach out to us with any feedback.

Paying subscribers also receive access to Substack's "chat" feature so you can always find us there.

Whew...I think that's it. This will likely change a dozen or so times over the year as we re-think features & posts and adapt to how things flow. But for now, this is the meat of it.

-Ben & Karina


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Bizarre sightings and harrowing accounts of all the nonsense that goes on behind the scenes at Chill Subs.


Co-founder of Chill Subs | Writer currently living in France.
Free database of 3000+ literary magazines, 1200+ writing contests, a tracker, and other fun stuff to make your writing life not so freaking exhausting
Aleena Rose is the author of THEIR BROKEN KNEES. She is represented by Emily Forney at Bookends Literary.
building Chill Subs and writing sad songs
The Forever Workshop & Social Media for Chill Subs