The Future of This Newsletter on Substack

The Future of This Newsletter on Substack

There’s a thousand reasons why this is the only installment of Last Donut of the Night going out this week, but most of them lead back to why I’m writing this right now. Depending on how online you are beyond reading this particular newsletter with a level of regularity, you may or may not be aware of what’s been going on with Substack over the last, idk, several weeks? Months?

The long and short of it is that Substack has increasingly sought out to platform and elevate writers whose work is often bigoted and, in some instances, legitimately dangerous when it comes to inciting violence, hatred, and discrimination against trans people and cis women. This passage from Jude Doyle’s newsletter sums it up pretty well, I think:

…Here’s what I think: Three years down the line, I’m still a feminist, I’m out as a trans person, and in the time I’ve been writing here, Substack has become famous for giving massive advances — the kind that were never once offered to me or my colleagues, not up front and not after the platform took off — to people who actively hate trans people and women, argue ceaselessly against our civil rights, and in many cases, have a public history of directly, viciously abusing trans people and/or cis women in their industry.

I would strongly recommend reading these newsletters from Doyle and Emily VanDerWerff for further reference, as both clearly and eloquently state the problems with Substack as they stand today.

As I write this, there’s currently debates on Twitter on some of Doyle and VanDerWerff’s finer points, including whether or not writers like, say, me are actually and involuntarily helping fund the generation of those massive advances through their own paid subscriptions. But unlike, say, Twitter, there are users who pay me through my use of this platform, and Substack gets some of that money, which means to me that on some level (even if it’s on a very small level) my subscribers are helping enrich a platform that’s shown an interest in elevating writers whose beliefs I find repulsive and harmful.

To the point: I do not want to use Substack anymore for these reasons, and I’m going to be looking for a new platform to publish this newsletter through. I’m hoping to make this change within the next month, and I am also a gigantic idiot when it comes to doing anything that isn’t some variation of “Hey, have you heard this song,” so any suggestions about what other publishing platforms that are out there would be extremely helpful and welcome. You know where to find me if you got ‘em.

Part of why me switching platforms is going to be a little protracted is because, again, I have people who currently pay for this newsletter—both on a monthly and annual basis. Specifically, I need to figure out what to do with the annual subscriptions that will be left in the lurch here, whether it be comping subscriptions in the new platform or offering a direct refund through Venmo. Either way, I want to make this fair to anyone who’s been generous enough to contribute towards this thing’s existence, and I’ll be communicating how that will break down once I find a new platform.

I’ll continue publishing regularly here in the meantime. (And by “regularly” I mean two times a week, a measurement of which I’ve missed the mark on a few times recently due to life stuff. Sorry!) I’m also actively discouraging people from signing up for paid subscriptions for the time being, at least until I’ve found a new platform. And if you’re signed up for this newsletter—in free or paid form—you’ll be the first to know what’s next.

Thanks for reading as always.

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Jamie Larson