Goodbye Substack, Hello Ghost

Goodbye Substack, Hello Ghost

Dear Readers,

I am in the process of completing the move from Substack to Ghost. I hope to be 99% done this week. All the content has been moved, and you are receiving this email because all the subscriber members have been moved as well.

Why did I make the move?

You are either a paid subscriber or a free subscriber who has been active over the past year and will — hopefully — upgrade to paid subscriber.

With this move, I intend to take the opportunity to widen the gap between the offering to free and paid subscribers, more for folks who pay and less to those who do not pay. This is with an eye towards ultimately transitioning all free subscribers to paid subscribers by offering one-month free trials and a low-priced basic account that will replace the free account.

The basis account will offer these subscribers headlines, links, cover photos and teasers (first 1-2 paragraphs) but not the full articles. Only paid subscribers will have access to the full articles.

I want / need to do this because the business model at Ghost is different than Substack.

Let me explain.

With Substack, there is no fee for free subscribers but they take 10% commission off all revenue from paid subscribers so there is no cost to have large numbers of free subscribers but a large commission fee on any revenue.

With Ghost, they do not take any commission but charge a fee based on total number of subscribers whether free or paid so there is a large cost to have large numbers of free subscribers but no commission fee.

Bottom line, it is not financially sustainable for me to carry thousands of free accounts in perpetuity. I need to transition free to paid, even low-priced paid, subscribers as rapidly as possible.

Towards that end, I purged a large number of accounts during the migration.

Free accounts, inactive and subscribed more than a year ago, have been deleted from Ghost. They will receive separate notification via Substack and be encouraged to subscribe to Ghost. As they are inactive accounts, this may be relatively pointless, but I want to make the offer anyway.

There is still bits of work to do on the Ghost-hosted version of Words in Edgewise, but it is mostly cosmetic or under the hood admin stuff. As I have been mostly holding back publishing for the past week and I would like to get cracking on posting some new stories. I figure you will not mind if the theme colors or layout changes as I tweak the site, so long as you receive emails with my articles.

Note to Paid Subscribers

It took this switch to discover that Substack takes their 10% commission for paid subscribers even after I migrate to a new service like Ghost (if you are a free subscriber this does not apply to you).

Ghost has tools that can remove Substack’s unearned commission, so I get 100% not 90% for my content published on Ghost. I asked them to go ahead and do whatever it is they do.

They tell me Ghost recreates the subscription but with no fee, and cancels the old one. As Ghost is creating the “new” paid subscriptions, Stripe will attempt to charge anyone who was past due. As all paid members are current, this should not apply to my paid (or free) subscribers. This is meant to be totally transparent to paid subscribers, but if you have questions, please reply to this email.

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