The Real Sarah Miller on Substack

(COMING ALSO: a podcast called Very Specific Interviews)


I named my Substack The Real Sarah Miller because there are thousands if not billions of Sarah Millers in the world, and I want you to be able to tell me apart from them.  

It is possible you already know which Sarah Miller I am: Sarah Miller, 51, reluctant resident of semi-rural Northern California, proud Australian Cattle Dog Mom and author of essays like Heaven or High Water, The Movie Assassin, The Bridge Dog, Death to the Maxi Dress and My So-Karen Life.

You might have read one of these essays and now you’re thinking, “Oh, you wrote that!” or “You’re Sarah Miller?” or you might be thinking … absolutely nothing. You might be busy throwing your device across the room and shouting “Argh, who cares.”  

Anyway, hear ye hear ye to anyone listening: yes, I got one of those Substack deals and I’m stoked. Goodbye pitching, at least for now. Goodbye spending all day signing up for an invoice portal to get paid. (I will still be writing for Hodinkee, who are very nice and have no portal, and for the New Yorker website, because I want my parents to continue to love me.)

Seriously though, I was actually about to try this for free, because I was about to try anything. I am so ready to just write things and publish them without jumping through any hoops. I could say more, but why bother?

If you have read my work before and already like it, thank you and hello. I like that you are a fan. I like that you get that I don’t actually want to cancel New Year’s (I do and I don’t!) and I don’t actually hate rosé (I do and I don’t).  You read me because you like my writing. I hope you subscribe. I need your support, both psychically and financially. 

If you've never read my writing before, also hello, and now I will sell it to you: It’s funny and it actually makes sense. Right out of the gate, that makes it better than most. I don’t have a particular subject. I write about everything and nothing in particular, about how we can’t politely ask governments and companies to stop killing us, about one of my favorite people, the Badger, and about dieting, and also about the opposite of dieting—food and food’s faithful friend, alcohol.  I’ve written about the pitfalls of watching Netflix and the problems of having relationships and several times I have just described a day in my life


If you are already a fan, I am pretty sure you will like my new podcast, Very Specific Interviews. If you are not already a fan, I kind of think you might like it too. Listen to my first one, out Thursday, May 27, about what Lolita might have been like if Humbert Humbert was dumber and Lolita was a math whiz who liked to smoke in orange groves. Don’t listen to that one if you don’t like swear words or controversial subjects. If you want to try a more innocent Very Specific Interview (and that’s fine, not everything is for everyone) wait for the one next week about a man throwing away a Jennifer Convertible Sofa, which may or may not have actually been convertible, and the complicated feelings throwing it away brings up about life, love, and living rooms. 

IMAGINED FAQS (because no one has actually asked me these questions yet)

What is a newsletter?

It’s just an email you get every week but instead of having to do a work task you get to read or listen to something fun or interesting.

What is Substack?

Substack is a newsletter company. They’re a tech company with a comprehensible business model: writers create newsletters on their website and Substack gets a cut.

What will I get with a free subscription to your newsletter?

Long essays, like the one I’m currently writing about the bad Couchsurfer who almost accidentally killed my dog, and medium-sized essays, like the one that IS GOING UP TOMORROW about hickeys. Very Specific Interviews, in both audio and written form, debuting Thursday, May 27. Also shorter essays, like this funny one about dudes and TV. Here is one, not funny, about how everything is fucked. Here is one about my lost wallet. Sometimes I’ll write something like a book or movie review that might detour into a rant about bagels in Northern California (just don’t) or praise of my dog, or of beer, or cheese sandwiches, or Elizabeth Jane Howard. I write about my boyfriend a lot, apologies in advance, mostly to him. Since these are kind of my forte I’ll be doing one of these a week, and sometimes they will be free and sometimes they won’t and I AM THE DECIDER.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE: photos of Australian Cattle Dogs, which are also called blue or red heelers, or Queenslands. Don’t worry, this is not a heeler Substack, though, what a great idea. Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about here is my dog, Ruthie, in her adoption photo.

What will I get with a paid subscription?

I was trying to think of a really sweet thing that would be special for my paid subscribers and I think I’ve come up with it: every week, paid subscribers will receive a mini-essay that is a spin-off of my longer (free) essay or the (free) podcast. The mini-essay will either be about a person in the longer essay, or an idea in it, or more details about where the action in the essay or podcast takes place.

Other SUBSCRIBER ONLY PERKS: SESTINAS ABOUT DAVID BROOKS, and “Movies Keith and Sarah Have Never Seen,” which is my Twitter friend Keith Harris and me being smug jerks about never having seen movies like The Shawshank Redemption or Sleepless In Seattle. I will also do lists. I have one planned about Celine Dion, who I love without irony.

Why should I subscribe and if so why should I pay you if Substack is?

I will be writing for other publications rarely if ever, so, if you want to read my work, you’re going to have to find it here. Also, Substack is not paying me forever and I also didn’t get one of those “fuck you” deals, just a chill one, and in a year I’m going to be on my own and if I don’t get any paid subscribers in that year I’m back to selling my wares on the open market and if you like me, I hope you will spare me the pain.

Everything in the newsletter is going to be free for a month or so, but I encourage you to sign up for a paid subscription sooner.

I have this dream that a Substack will feel like the old days, when I would wake up and toss off a few words about Miley Cyrus, send it to The Cut, not hear from the editor there who commissioned it and who, upon being eventually contacted, would admit “It wasn’t what I expected,” at which point I would send the thing to The Awl where the editor would write back “lol sob putting it up now,” and then lots of people would read it and I would feel happy. But at the end of this dream I get more than $75.

Seriously, my most fervent hope is when The Real Sarah Miller and Very Specific Interviews show up in your inbox you will feel a slight lift in your mood. Unambitious? Too ambitious? Probably both. 

Thanks for reading this and there’s more on the way.