Can I direct message another reader or writer on Substack?

The direct messaging (DMs) feature lets you connect with other writers and readers on the Substack app or With DMs, you can connect with others by easily sharing notes and posts, sending images and links, and reacting to messages.

DMs live in the Chat tab alongside chats from publications you subscribe to. DMs differ from Chat because you can privately message one person rather than hold a public conversation with your subscribers.

Initial message.gif

How can I start messaging someone on Substack?

You can initiate a DM from a Substack profile, from the Chat tab, or by sharing a post or note.

Message from profile.gif

To send a DM, follow these steps:

  • From a profile: On a profile, click "Message", and a DM window will open.
  • From the Chat tab: Click on the compose icon and enter the Substack handle or the name of the person you’d like to message in the search bar.
  • From a note or post: On the Substack app, tap the share icon and enter the Substack handle or name of the person you’d like to share the note/post with into the search bar. Click the share icon on the web and select “Send as message.” In the search bar, search for someone by name or Substack handle.

Tip: At this time, read receipts and group messaging are not available.

Who can I receive messages from?

By default, you can receive DMs from anyone with a Substack profile. People you follow or subscribe to on Substack can always message you directly.

Message requests appear in a Requests folder, and here, you can filter by subscribers or all users. You can accept or reject a message request– senders will not be notified if you reject their request.

Accept message.gif

To change who you receive message requests from, head to your Substack account settings and scroll to the Privacy section. Next to “Allow message requests from”, select from the drop-down menu who can request to message you on Substack.

  • Everyone: Any user with a Substack profile can send you a message request.
  • Free subscribers: If you have a Substack publication, readers who are on the free plan will be able to send you a message request.
  • Paid subscribers: Readers who are subscribed to a monthly, annual, or founding members plan can send you a message request.
  • Founding subscribers: Only readers on a founding members plan will be able to send you a message request.
  • No one: Direct messaging will be disabled, and no one can send you a message request. However, you can message other readers and writers on Substack.

Tip: To change these settings on the app, tap the Requests folder and select the Settings icon.

How do I change my notifications settings? 

When someone sends you a message, you'll receive a push notification from the Substack app or an email, depending on your notification settings. By default, notifications for new messages and requests will be turned on.


You can change DM notifications in the Notifications section on the Substack iOS app (Messages section on Android) or your Substack account settings page. In the Privacy section on the web, slide the toggles to the left next to "Messages" and "Message requests" to disable receiving push and email notifications for every new message and new message request.

Click on your profile picture on the Substack iOS app and select Settings. Tap on Notifications and select Chat. Uncheck the boxes under Email and Push for "New messages" and "New requests" if you don't want to receive any DM notifications.

Notifications iOS.gif

Can I block someone from messaging me?

People you’ve blocked on Substack or banned from your publication cannot direct message you. If you’ve been messaging someone and then block them on Substack, your DM thread with them will be removed from your Chat tab.

You can mute a DM thread if you’d prefer to silence notifications instead of blocking someone. Click the three dots on a DM thread on the Substack app. From the menu, select the duration for how long you’d like the muting to last.

If you’d like to report a message, click on the three dots next to the message on web or hard press the message on the Substack app. Fill out the form, and our Trust and Safety team will review the message and your report.

Can I delete a DM?

You can delete a DM thread by hard pressing on the thread on the Substack app and tapping “Delete” or by clicking on the three dots on a DM thread on the web and selecting “Delete” from the menu. 

You can also delete individual messages on the Substack app by tapping the message and selecting “Delete”. This will remove the message for you and the person you're messaging. Deleting individual messages on the web is not possible at this time.

How do I encourage readers to DM me?

On a draft post, click on Buttons in the editor toolbar. Select “Message [name of your Substack]”. 

Screenshot 2024-02-28 at 3.56.04 PM.png

Clicking on the button will open the chat in a web browser or open a new message on the Substack app.

If your message requests are set to paid subscribers or founding subscribers, free readers may see a prompt to upgrade their subscription when they click the message button in the post.

Readers who try to message you on the Substack app will see a paying subscribers only message if your message request setting is set to paid or founding subscribers.

Was this article helpful?
23 out of 39 found this helpful

Articles in this section

See more
Need more help?
Submit a request to our Support team and we'll be glad to help!