This post is free for everyone.
I get the sense that many writers, like me, struggle with our worth and, even more so placing a monetary value on that work. E-newsletters have been around for a long time, but during the pandemic, they grew exponentially on platforms like Substack and Medium. A second gold rush to the early 2000s blogging gold rush. It’s getting harder and harder to be seen. And with many magazines going under or cutting staff, it’s even more difficult to get published in traditional spaces. Or as Jenny Zhang tweeted in 2018, “the future of sustainable media is a bunch of journalists subscribing to each others’ paid newsletters and patreons.”
I’ve been blogging and writing for decades. I’ve had some work published. I’ve won an award for my work. I run a popular literary journal. This must mean I have some value, even if it’s just in my mom bragging to her friends who don’t understand the literary landscape but think it’s cool I won something. Does that have a monetary value? So why charge a fee? I’m charging for this newsletter because I’m forcing myself to value my work, put a number on it, and encourage myself to produce content interesting enough to pay for. This year, I’m also challenging myself to post every Friday, rain or shine, even when life gets in the way. To lessen my burden at being a part of the machine, a portion of this newsletter’s revenue will go directly into Five South and pay our contributors. Further, every year, I’ll be selecting two independent writers to subscribe to, paying for a yearly subscription and promoting their newsletters here. You can help me by recommending yourself or others. I believe writers need to be paid for their work, and I know you do too. Whether or not an author values their own work, we the community, need to set the pace and put a number on it.
Artificial Intelligence isn’t just here, it’s already taken over. So how do we ensure humans continue to have a voice? We must support one another on the individual level. I know your long list of subscriptions can get costly, too, which is why I’m actively making sure my rates stay below the major platforms like Substack and Medium where the average yearly cost for supporting your favorite writer is $72.00.
All said, I’m a writer and so I must write. I must also value my work and get paid for what I do. Writing this newsletter takes a good deal of time to produce and the website takes a lot of work to maintain. Although it’s hard to put a number on that, I’m basing my subscription rates on current standards…or just below them. But remember…I’m just a girl writing a newsletter, asking readers to love her.
The benefits to subscribing as I see them:
- You’ll Get Exclusive Content: As a paid subscriber, you’ll have access to content that I won’t be sharing anywhere else. This includes in-depth articles, stories, or insights that won’t be published elsewhere.
- We Can Connect on a Deeper Level: I love engaging with my subscribers, and as a paid member, you’ll have the chance to participate in Q&A sessions, workshops, and even have direct access to me for questions and discussions.
- Enjoy Early Access: Be among the first to see my latest work or insights before they’re made public. It’s like having an exclusive preview of what’s coming up next.
- Join a Community: By becoming a paid subscriber, you’ll be part of a dedicated community of like-minded individuals who share your interests. This can lead to networking opportunities, meaningful discussions, and shared experiences.
- Support Independent Creators: By subscribing, you’re directly supporting my creative work. Your contribution helps me continue producing quality content, investing in research, and keeping my newsletter ad-free.
- Access Discounts and Perks: Paid subscribers may receive special discounts on my merchandise, or other products/services I offer, giving you added value for your investment.
- Ad-Free Reading: Say goodbye to distractions. Paid subscribers enjoy an ad-free reading experience, allowing you to focus on the content you love.
- Quality Matters: With premium content for subscribers, I can concentrate on delivering high-quality, well-researched, and carefully curated material without the pressure of chasing clicks or views.
- Building a Personal Connection: I appreciate your support, and I believe in nurturing a strong connection with my paid subscribers. Your investment shows your commitment to my work.
- Priority Updates: Paid subscribers will always be the first to receive important notifications and updates directly from me, ensuring you’re never out of the loop.
- Exclusive Events: I’m considering hosting special events, webinars, or meetups exclusively for paid subscribers to provide unique experiences and access.
- Your Input Matters: As a paid subscriber, your opinions and ideas can influence the direction of my content. You’ll have a say in topics, suggestions, and even future newsletters, making you an active part of my creative process.
- Trust and Transparency: I want you to know that your investment is going toward a trusted and transparent source of valuable content. I’m committed to delivering quality and maintaining a strong subscriber-creator relationship.
- Protecting Intellectual Property: My paid content is better protected against unauthorized use or distribution, ensuring the safeguarding of my intellectual property.
Your support means the world to me, and I’m excited to continue this journey together.
While Substack and Medium are free to use, their fees essentially mean you’re renting, not owning. I’m cutting out the middle man and going it alone like Dr. David Banner roaming from town to town searching for answers. I want to own my own work, call the shots, and keep (and share) the profits as I see fit. Maybe I’m naive in thinking I can garner enough of a following, but I have to try. I am maintaining affordable membership rates because I prefer a mutualist approach where the community supports one another rather than relying on the man to make it happen. If the majority of my current subscribers pay the minimum of $15 per year, I can keep doing this indefinitely. If paying regularly isn’t your thing, you can leave a one-time donation here with my gratitude. Thank you to everyone who has already subscribed. Your support is much appreciated.
Thank you for supporting my work and helping me to continue being a part of your week.
Some links to get you where you need to go: