Here it is mid-April and I remain torn between two HE futures — (a) Substack, which is a whole new universe of function and operation, vs. Patreon, which would retain the classic HE look, structure and functionality but on a paywall basis.
In favor of Substack, according to Adviser #1:
(a) I can keep the www.hollywood-elsewhere.com domain and use it for the Substack website; (b) I can import HE’s RSS feed of previous posts into Substack easily, so the historical work is preserved; (c) For every post, I can decide in the settings where or not this post is for paid subscribers or not; (d) I can use Substack as a website AND a newsletter. You determine which posts are for the newsletter and which are for the just basic posts on the website. The posts still combine in the backend.
That said, it’s obviously in my interest to keep the majority of HE behind the subscriber paywall.
Plus there are some cool features in Substack. (1) Substack offers an easy-to-use tool for embedding podcast / audio content. (2) There’s also a community tool called “Threads” which are basically topics for the community to get into vs writing a full post for people to comment on. Example: What is the most hard-to-rewatch Steven Spielberg film ever made? And then it just becomes a comment board on its own. Plus I can determine if it’s a subscriber-only thing or a free-for-all.
Visual representation of how I, Jeffrey Wells, am feeling right now about the Great Substack vs. Patreon Debate at this stage. At times I am of two minds at the very least, and possibly of three. At other times I am all in on Substack. At other times I find the idea of jettisoning HE, which I’ve built up over the last 17 years, upsetting if not shattering. I’m just sittin’ on a fence. You could say I got no sense. Trying’ to make my mind, it really is so hard to find. So I’m sittin’ on a fence.
All in all, Substack “is way more versatile that I gave it credit for,” says Adviser #1. “You can create different types of content with less struggle using code and servers to host image files. All of this is super user-friendly and built-in.”
Plus there’s no cost to using Substack. No server fees. I just pay $50 to use the HE domain for the substack. No Liquid Web speed issues. No upkeep. No maintenance. I’ll save a fortune, I’m told, and stand to gain consistent income through platform that is universally trusted.
Adviser #2 says…
“I think Substack is the best possible pathway forward. I can’t tell you how liberated I feel since being in the subscription realm. I feel like I’ve been set free to do the best work of my career. You have a dedicated readership already…you’ll have to trust they will stick with you.
“I would recommend reaching out to Substack and talking to them about whether they could port your archives and URL over if you made the leap. They did that for me when I moved to them, and it went pretty painlessly. The only downside is that it would entail a change of look to HE…but it’s a season of change. And once you are on Substack, it makes all the backend stuff and the money collection completely painless. Before I was on \Substack, basic administrative stuff was taking up a day and a half a week for me. Now its maybe 15 minutes a week.”
“Substack doesn’t support ads, but you can drop them in as image Jpgs, which is what i do and basically, they look the other way on it, They wont help you, but they don’t stop you either.
“Plus I figured out a way to jury-rig the template to put a banner above the logo.