Coming tomorrow: paid posts

I'm replacing my Patreon campaign with a paid version of this newsletter. (The weekly version will remain free... forever.)

Dear reader,

Apologies, as it is the weekend, but we must briefly talk business.

This post discusses the introduction of paid, subscribers-only content into my Substack workflow. For $5 a month/$50 a year, readers get access to 1-3 extra blog-length posts each week. Also covered is the suspension of my current Patreon campaign, which began last Spring and has extended long past its expiration date. My current weekly email will remain free and with format unchanged.

Allow me to further explain:

Why I’m introducing paid content:

Those who have been (paid) supporters of my blogging and newslettering for a while are likely familiar with the Patreon page I have set up to receive donations. It takes a lot of work (~5 hours) to produce each weekly newsletter (and even more to write technical blog posts) and supplementary income makes the time investment much easier. Several reasons (detailed here) have caused me to reconsider Patreon as an avenue for obtaining this revenue, and I have decided it is best to end the Patreon campaign and move my efforts for sustaining income over to this platform.

Some brief notes on why:

  • Consolidation. Substack offers me the ability to collect money (via Stripe, the same system small businesses use at, f.e., food trucks or bodegas) in exchange for access to subscribers-only content. Why not just move over here and cut out the middle man? Patreon has a ton of (otherwise useful) features that I wasn’t utilizing, essentially equating it to a bloated payment platform.

  • A feeling of exchange. On Patreon, people could donate simply to support my blogging and not read my newsletter. I felt a bit dirty accepting money from some of you for little-to-nothing in return, especially when I have a full-time job. By enabling paid subscriptions on Substack, everyone gets access to something for their support (whether they want it or not) and I don’t feel like you’re paying me for access, something or other.

  • Extra blogging. I’ve been wanting to write shorter bits on political/social science, the 2020 race, polling, etc. for a while but felt I had no avenue for them. Free subscribers here signed up for weekly content, not 1-3x additional weekly emails; Twitter is… Twitter; and my writing for my actual job needs to be much more fleshed out (not to mention actually interesting to a wider audience). A paid newsletter provides an apt solution.

Thus, a paid version of my Substack newsletter will be born. What is it, how much does it cost, and when should you expect the change?

What it costs:

The lowest Substack will let me set a monthly fee for the paid newsletter is at $5 a month, so that’s what it costs. You can also opt for an annual subscription which costs $50 per year—a savings of $10 annually or 83¢ monthly.

What you get for your $5:

I will be sending out an extra 1-3 emails each week with some brief thoughts on subjects such as the 2020 race, social science, polling, or whatever comes to mind. A paid subscription gives you access to these thoughts. I will, of course, be distributing a summary of them in my free weekly email—as I do for everything I write. (You can probably expect to see 280-character versions of some on Twitter, too.) But the full version is reserved for those that support my newsletter with a paid subscription (again, see quid-pro-quo point above).

Paid subscribers also get the ability to leave comments below any post, public or private, and will have access to private community threads whenever Substack goes live with this feature (sometime soon, I am told by their co-founder).

When to expect the change:

Tomorrow morning EDT, I will send out the first subscribers-only email: about 400 words on impeachment polling, Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic primary. You can expect most to follow this template of short takes on a singular topic. Always with plenty of data, of course. I’ll do so before my free weekly email is circulated.

Free for the first two weeks:

For the first couple of weeks, I’ll be making all the paid content available to all readers, free-signups and paying subscribers alike. It only seems fair I give you a taste of what this will be before you decide to fork over some money for it. Of course, if you’re a current Patron and your original intention in supporting my work was just to supplement the effort it takes to produce the free version (about 4-5 hours each week), you should feel free to continue doing so. I will not (and cannot) make you read the extra content. I want everyone to feel free to take this at their own pace.

A final note

I hope this doesn’t turn anyone off of my weekly email (which, again, will remain free forever—or until global warming, nuclear war, resource conflict or the rapture ends life as we know it). I’m not trying some get-rich-quick-off-readers scheme here. Primarily, I felt it was time to get rid of my Patreon campaign, and I have been wanting to write more traditionally bloggy thoughts for you all for a while. I feel this is a good solution, and I hope you do too.

Thanks all—and I hope you'll consider subscribing and sharing!


(PS for Twitter users: Tweets drive >90% of traffic to my Substack home page. Please do share—if you didn’t already know, I’m @gelliottmorris.)

Off to write…

I’m off to write tomorrow’s emails now. Enjoy this cat gif intended to symbolize me attempting to do so in a reasonable amount of time, and after having a few too many cups of coffee. I need help, please call the fire department (this is a joke, mom).