305 Comments

I wish that it were possible to read the occasional article written by someone one relishes WITHOUT having to subscribe.

How about making available one-time koffee payments for all? This would accomplish two things:

1.) Bring in more revenue to the writers;

and

2.) Give readers the opportunity to browse much as we did in the “ old days” of reading newspapers and magazines AND still reward good contributors with small, more affordable, payments.

I am currently reviewing my subscriptions.

I’m spending too much on subs especially on writers that I like but read only occasionally. Yet I DO want to support them, albeit not with a full subscription. Too much of a budget squeeze.

Keep in mind that readers’ time (to read) and money (to spend) is not unlimited.

Let’s find a better win-win for writers and readers alike.

We do want to pay something. Really.

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I think a tip jar option is a must-have. I understand that it's possible to link to your own Buy Me a Coffee or Ko-fi account, but that's a bit of a pain and in any event, someone other than Substack will rake the transaction fee. I think that for small blogs (like the vast majority of us here) $5/month is a big ask because people just don't want to have to remember to unsub if they lose interest, but a one-time payment to reward someone who amused you one time is much more conceivable.

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I like that idea very much! I write a newsletter (of sorts lol) which is basically just an outlet for sharing my creative thoughts called "Life On Smars". It's just random, "deep thoughts" in a goofy, humorous style. There is no content other than what I write and no schedule other than when an idea hits me. As a result all of my stories are open to the public, since I can't justify charging readers a monthly subscription price when I'm not even sure when or how often I'll be writing something. But your idea of a tip jar would work for someone like me & my little newsletter very well. If a reader is amused by my story he or she may prefer to leave a 1-time tip rather than committing to a monthly subscription.

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Absolutely agree!!

Thank you for your thoughtful, intelligent contribution.

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From our mouths to Substack's ears, I hope. ;-)

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Yes I agree with you Douglas.

Ko-fi takes money I want to go to a writer and I suspect sells your info. I do not want anyone to have more info than they absolutely have to in order to get a service to me.

A simple way of giving to the writer is required. Some, only a few sadly, are quite free and just ask for donations. I favour those. Not on Substack obviously, The Conservative Woman (TCW) a UK organisation is really good for example.

I ask people I want to donate to, to give me their bank details. That works well but only if they are in the same country, in my case Australia.

I am a free subscriber to many Substack writers and seek opportunities to contribute by buying their books and in any way I can.

I do hope that your idea can be implemented Douglas.

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I am with you Douglas! Thank you!

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I have been suggesting this for while - that we could buy credits. To read a post for a credit would be more expensive then 4 in a month on subscription but it would mean we could try out more writers before you buy as it were! I simply can not afford to sign up to all the writers I enjoy at one time.

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Even a feature where the writer can specify how many free reads a non-subscriber gets. Say three.

I too have came across something interesting but it has only been available for paid subscribers. With other things I am paying for the bar is high for me to pay another $5.

I know this is up to the writer as they can always give something away for free to attract a wider audience. But I think a few free reads might convert many people.

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I too would love to watch more people BUT I just cannot afford this.

I know substack needs to be funded so I am sad BUT I will carry on.

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These features would be very useful!

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I too think another kind of option is needed, especially as Substack has grown so much. Those of us who started late in the game are entering a field already full of a huge number of paid writers. Our subscribers are less likely to want to add yet another payment—subscriptions are each affordable, but they add up. If someone is already paying for 10, that’s $50 a month. So there’s a built in problem for those of us who weren’t “here” when substack wasn’t so big. When you subscribe to a magazine or newspaper, you get everything in it, but substack works writer by writer, so supporting too many writers can easily become unaffordable. Maybe some kind of package deals? Like a “Movies and television” package? Or a “feminist” package? (Just selfishly mentioning two that are relevant to me! Where you can sign up for a paid subscription to multiple writers? Just brainstorming…..

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Political package.

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I completely agree! This would be so valuable 🤞🏻

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I love your idea Gemma!

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I was hoping to come up with a snarky dumb comment here but tbh this is just very cool great work yall !!

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Sep 20, 2023Liked by Jasmine Sun, Substack Writers

Ooooo. I hope this helps me find some more weirdos to sub to

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the hunt for the weirdopeople

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Why limit to people?

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If this is a Taika Waititi reference, I am here 👏🏼 for 👏🏼 it 👏🏼

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Look no further I’m here ;)

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You have me interested! Just how weird are you? You go first. 😂

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Sep 20, 2023Liked by Jasmine Sun, Substack Writers

"By posting notes, you help readers get to know you before they subscribe. The feed will also foster automatic growth." I like the direction Notes is taking.

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Sep 20, 2023Liked by Jasmine Sun

The power of good design. Great job. After only ten minutes on the new home page, I can tell I’m going to read, find, discover more. Thank you.

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Yes, I approve of the UI and aesthetic.

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Devastated to report that the new front page has not yet recommended me to myself.

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“We’ve designed this queue to boost retention for writers by prioritizing new posts from paid subscriptions.” I understand Substack’s need to generate paid subscriptions. But this is putting more pressure on me to go paid, and I feel ambivalent about that. I’ve worked hard to make my relatively new newsletter known, and I’m nearing 1000 subscribers. But so far I’ve made paid subscriptions purely voluntary. I haven’t pressed for them, and so I only have 55 paid subscriptions. I wonder how many of my hard-won free subscribers I’ll lose if I do what it appears is the “norm” on substack, and reserve some features for paid subscribers, etc. I love substack, but I can’t help but notice that there is a self-reproducing system in which long-standing, well-known, and well-financed newsletters get better promotion, are picked as features, etc. All of which enhances them still more and round and round we go. I want to emphasize that I think you guys are doing a wonderful job, and I’m loving this new stage in my long career as a writer. But self-perpetuating hierarchies based on fame, how big an established email list one enters with, longevity on substack, and--to be honest--certain genres over others (I won’t go into that now; too big a subject) are depressing my enthusiasm. Just being honest here!! I know I’m only one of thousands of writers who are struggling to become better known on substack, and this is not a plea for special treatment. But I do sometimes feel as though my pieces are getting lost in the network. And perhaps others do too. Don’t know how things can be different! Maybe others have some ideas.

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More thoughts on this:

Susan Bordo

Writes BordoLines

1 min ago

I do think another kind of option is needed, especially as Substack has grown so much. Those of us who started late in the game are entering a field already full of a huge number of paid writers. Our subscribers are less likely to want to add yet another payment—subscriptions are each affordable, but they add up. If someone is already paying for 10, that’s $50 a month. So there’s a built in problem for those of us who weren’t “here” when substack wasn’t so big. When you subscribe to a magazine or newspaper, you get everything in it, but substack works writer by writer, so supporting too many writers can easily become unaffordable. Maybe some kind of package deals? Like a “Movies and television” package? Or a “feminist” package? (Just selfishly mentioning two that are relevant to me! Where you can sign up for a paid subscription to multiple writers? Just brainstorming…..

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Yup, it's a self-reinforcing two-tier system.

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I see your point but at the same time Substack Inc needs to pay its bills as well. Unfortunately they'll be forced to make judgment calls like these. At least Substack is free for those who don't want to turn on the paid option.

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Sep 20, 2023Liked by Jasmine Sun, Substack Writers

Love the combination of human / technology driven discovery.

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Looks like I am deleting the app and reading in my inbox again. You had something great and unique going. Why do you creep more toward being a traditional social media every month?

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I agree. It was so simple before.

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Yes and it breaks my heart.

I have given myself 1hr a day to figure this out but it's not working.

I went on CHAT today.

I wrote something but couldn't figure out how to Post it.

I saw my post floating around above comments.

I pressed Enter but nothing happened.

Substack must acknowledge:

Older people

Deaf people if it wants to function properly

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Completely agree.

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As someone who doesn't want to charge subscribers, this sucks: "prioritizing new posts from paid subscriptions"

Wonder if it will also be paid newsletters that are recommended in the discovery feed.

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I’d love to hear more about this as well. Does this new feature reward writers with paid content and penalise those who don’t (yet)?

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The reading queue recommends posts from your inbox based on what you are most likely to want to read next. Paying for a publication is one of the signals we use. Publications you read frequently will also appear in the reading queue often.

Lastly, posts are still ordered chronologically in the inbox.

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It just feels like another instance of Substack propping up paid newsletters over free ones.

I get it to an extent -- Substack doesn't earn anything from my free newsletter. It only makes money from paid ones, so of course you want to promote those.

It just makes me feel inferior and lesser than. And like free newsletters don't get the same level of support and promotion, even though they may be just as high quality.

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Totally understand where you're coming from, and great points.

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What happened to the chronological inbox feed? Mine is completely jumbled now with articles from April and May sitting at the top.

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Yes. Please fix!

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Sep 20, 2023Liked by Jasmine Sun, Substack Writers

Love this update! So far I have mainly been on the desktop but I think I may well start playing more with the app!

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Sep 20, 2023Liked by Jasmine Sun, Substack Writers

Absolutely fantastic. The team continues to impress by rolling out great new features.

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Sep 20, 2023Liked by Jasmine Sun, Substack Writers

love this update!

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I am so excited about being able to save things.

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author

My favorite feature!! And when you save from the feed it appears right in your inbox and your reading queue 🤯

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There are certain posts I want to save so I can refer to them later. But I don’t want them in my inbox as I like to keep that close to zero. I’d really love to see this feature added.

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You could always save things in the previous version of the app.

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Well. There goes my day.

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Can you get recommended things in “read next” that you aren’t subscribed to?

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author

No—read next is only pulled from your inbox, from the subscriptions you've chosen.

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Great update! I've mostly been using the desktop version so far, but the new design invites spending more time on the app 😃

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