I am very sad to say I may have to give up Shrew Views. Let me tell you why.
I write these articles in order for as many people as possible to read my writing and to hopefully get something constructive out of it—new information, explanations, support, a feeling that there are others out there who think and feel the same way. The community is of equal importance, as it shows there are people out there feeling and thinking the same thing and are willing to connect with other like minds.
The problem here is that so few people are paid subscribers that my word is only reaching a tiny handful of people. “Make it all free!” you say. Well, that IS an option. But then I have to grapple with the fact that I spend all this time researching and writing that isn’t very well monetized. Sorry, I do want to make enough money that my time is compensated at least to some degree. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but a bit more than it is now.
If I can’t do that, I will have to focus my time elsewhere—either writing for news outlets that have a higher readership so more people get my material, and then spend more time writing books that I can sell, or seeing more clients (less writing) to pay the bills. I am moving into semi retirement mode, and my vision was to spend more time writing, more time on Shrew Views responding to comments, etc. That is my dream.
So far that isn’t really working out.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to happen tomorrow. I am still trying to find ways to get more subscribers, and more paid subscribers, so this vision turns out the way I want it to! I have loved doing this, and have loved “chatting” with all of you that comment. It would be very sad to give it up.
I hope I don’t sound like a whiner. I just thought it best to let you all know what was up, and if there was any way you could help me keep this alive. Plaster Shrew Views all over your social media, send out emails to friends, and other online freedom focused websites. And if you have a few bucks laying around (ha ha) buy a subscription—either a year, or monthly. Let me know you are out there!
I recently sent out an invitation for you to invite your friends and social media contacts to subscribe to Shrew Views. You may then be rewarded free months of a paid subscription to Shrew Views depending on how many referrals you bring in! It’s a nice and easy way to get a paid subscription without having to give up a cent!
It won’t take much to keep me in the game. Let me know you want me to stay at it. If not, we can let it die a natural death. Again, I have not given up yet!
And don’t worry, if you paid for a year subscription recently and I fizzle out before the year is up, you WILL get a refund for the unused portion of your subscription. So please do not let that stop you from subscribing! And as I said, it will not take much to keep this going…
Long Live the Shrews!
The key is recognizing that everybody and his/her dog wants to be a content creator that makes money. And that the sector is over-saturated; supply exceeds demand. It doesn't matter how good or creative a person is - not when the market is full to the brim. Excellent tools are there, such as Substack. But the tools don't bring you traffic, subscribers, not paid subscribers.
It's about marketing. What does a given demographic want in terms of content? Isolate that, then figure out a marketing budget, probably at least $1K a month for ads and PR. It could take a year or more to make a profit. Plus one needs to "fail fast" if the ads and PR doesn't bring subscribers to any degree.
Nowadays there is little or no discovery. SEO is dead and was hijacked by big money. So organic reach doesn't work.
Thus we are back in the old days - marketing and budgets.
Etsy is a prime example. Everybody and his/her hellhound wants to be arts and crafts people making cash. But very few even make minimum wage money.
Some might see this as grim. It's reality - and more importantly it's business and marketing.
I've been published by Random House, Orion, St Martin's Press and a fair few more. Yes, it helps to be a skilled writer; but the game was always about credibility and potential sales... I was okay due to being in national newspapers like The Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, etc... Plus Loaded Magazine and The Sun.
Also, my pal at Discovery always says they check people's following... has to be a million or they won't even look at them. Again, I was okay, as I was seen as an expert in my field; or could be pitched that way.
So my advice is simply: isolate a "hungry" demographic and provide what they want. It's old school; but marketing is king. And you need a budget... that said, I managed it on less than $200... hosting and forms being the main expenses. But that was in the days when SEO worked. I would write a post and BBC news would be in touch in ten minutes.
Those days are gone... the internet was quite new.
At very least you need an ad budget... probably not for big tech like Twitter, TikTok, and Google Ads... they'll sell you ads but don't want visitors leaving their eco-system... or rather social media doesn't... Google Ads is more just hellish, or it was very good in the early days, then they played a fast game that doesn't generally benefit you.
I'd recommend booking ads directly on other sites relevant to your target demographic. Keep an eye on costs vs results. Again, you get through money testing ads. But that was always the case.
The internet is a luscious siren that lures unwary sailors into the thraldom of believing that organic reach can do it... that's luck, and very rare.
i refused to hit like on this article. i saw the email and had to skip my chronological reading to type this after reading it. If you do decide to give this up, please don't give up on writing, no matter the platform for your work. I've followed Shrew Views for a while now, and I've also read your personal work you've had published. From your more personal wild life story and anecdotal experience book, to your academic book, you have a flair for authoring that is rare. If i had to relate you to anyone in the self help/psychology field for talent in authoring, i would relate you to Robert Johnson. While your talents and style are unique and separate from his, your ability to make the reader feel personally involved and included for whatever content you're aiming to deliver, is unmatched. Keep up the good work, and i hope your fan base here continues to support it, even if it's off this platform.
A lot of comments after your decision, no doubt many people are reading your articles,you can't let us down now, the times are tough and we need your light among others to go on
I have no paid subscriptions at the moment as dictated by my circumstances. However, you are surely worth a paid subscription! Just a thought: why not postpone your charitable donations so as to keep writing in the short term? That way, everybody wins. Either way, I hope you keep writing!
As a writer and researcher myself, I share the same problem.
I now focus on pleasing myself. Enjoy your retirement!
Hello Todd, I write to you from France. Thank's for all your great work I passionaly read every paper you publish, I admire it. Have a beautiful life, and interesting projects. Be fine,
(I'm a storyteller)
I support a few stacks including yours as well as Covenant House, True North and Open Media (they fight for internet freedom etc) and a subscription to Epoch Times and that’s a lot more than I realized 😂😂😂 I hope you keep at it, but you should really want to do it for your own sake I think. And if it becomes a burden let it go!
I must say I appreciate so much all of these very constructive and useful comments. My "paid subscription campaign" however seems to have been a failure. I received one new paid subscription as a result (THANK YOU!!!) and about 10 unsubscribes from free subscribers.
I suppose begging never works, eh?
I understand a bit more now...even though true, as the tired mantra goes, "a subscription only costs 2 cups of coffee a month!!", it seems that many of you simply don't have those two cups of coffee to spare...and if you don't, most of the time it is because you are already subscribed to 10 other substacks!! Of course, then my response would be, "what makes them better than mine?" ...don't bother to answer that, I don't think I could take it.
Anyway...I love you all. And I am particularly appreciative of those of you who have been able to pay for a subscription. I much prefer the concept of "all free---but please donate!!" but I am not sure if that would get anywhere.
One thing I know for sure now, I really have to find a way to keep this going. In my previous comment I did mention my gracious and altruistic heart being willing to give most, if not all, of what I make on my substake to various other philanthropic causes. This is true, but it is also true I am going to do that anyway...just any extra dollars from anywhere makes that easier to do. It also feels creepy to me to use that as coercement.
Please keep supporting...even if you just think of it as a donation, it keeps the wheels greased. I love this community, and I will not let it go.
As Gwaihir says, "Please reconsider. Take a reverse mortgage. Die broke. Spend the step-kids inheritance on this Substack. Anything to keep this going."
I will find a way.
I have been thinking about this and although I didn't want to bring this up originally because it feels like I am twisting your arm, but it is interesting how I have spent all money I've made on ShrewViews on charities and other substacks! Money is a funny thing, and when you allocate it like that, it is interesting to see what money goes where.
My income from my therapy work, my social security payments, my musician's pension, are enough for me to live on. I spent quite a bit last year on gifts to Druthers, a freedom focused Canadian paper, I spent about $5,000 (all that I have made so far from ShrewViews) to buy school supplies for poor kids in a small town in Egypt, and about $800 on substack subscriptions.
This is money I would spend no matter what...but just realized that the more I make on the Substack, the more I would probably give away!! Now, again, I hesitate saying this because I don't want to come off as some angel spreading his "wealth" around...but I just thought it was interesting that my desire to make more money is really to cover my other philanthropic pursuits. In fact, once I make a certain amount, that goes beyond what I would typically give away, I will say my intention would be to spend at least half of what I make in these pursuits...the other half will go to pay for my luxurious vacations in the South of France...but that's only after I hit 1,000,000 subscribers!!! HA. I doubt if I ever will make enough to anything like that, I will be happy to make enough to continue what I am already doing...
Now, doesn't that make ME a nice guy!!!??? Well, it is true. I really do love giving this money away to others that need it as well. It's fun, and makes me feel good!! So I don't know if that makes a difference. And of course, if I start to stave to death, and this is my only income, I can't promise I won't spend it on food. But that is unlikely to happen!
Please keep going!! Everything you write resonates with me!! 💙💜
Todd you have a gift and are a skillful writer. Shrew Views is a vital source of reference and information….I know we will find a way to make this work.
This is such sad news. I love your writing and I appreciate your views on everything.. Your words and the words of so many of your subscribers were truly a help through the tough covid years... a God-send really. It was so nice to know that I was not alone and for so much insight. However, I cannot afford to pay for subscriptions to anything... that would be a luxury beyond my grasp. I WANT to so much but my income is non-existent and my husband's income covers our bills. I thank you so much for all you have given us and I do hope that things work out for you .... and for us shrews :) Wishing you all the best.
I hope you keep up the good work. I try to share your blog with like minded friends.
There are only a few writers on here that I can afford to pay for and most of those others do not post a tenth of what you do.
Even though I can respond, comment and post notes on here myself, I have never been able to write and post blogs. I seem to be missing something.
Our world is going to hell because of the deep state lie peddling politicians and media so we really need good people like you!
That would be sad, sad, sad. The Shrews feel like a wonderful family, wholly unlike my real family of scapegoating morons.
I’m not on social media and I don’t have many friends who have taken the red pill so I won’t be any help spreading the word.
Please reconsider. Take a reverse mortgage. Die broke. Spend the step-kids inheritance on this Substack. Anything to keep this going.
Noooooooooo! Just no.
We need you. You have a way of cracking through the bullshit layer to the nuggets of truth. And the “why”.
In the musical words of whoever-the-hell-it-was... Nobody Does It Better.
I would encourage you to think about how you could do other things for money and post some for the exposure. There are too many subscription services now. People can't afford to subscribe to all the Substacks they might want to. I looked at my list earlier this year and found I had subscribed to about 20 for pay, and I just can't afford for them all to renew automatically so I cancelled a bunch. I did recently become a paying subscriber for you but I am suggesting it isn't a realistic goal to pin financial need on, but is good outlet for letting people know what else you are up to.
I just encourage you to keep your Thinking Cap on a bit longer. Affiliate marketing is another way that a blog can help other income streams.
Modern discontent wrote a great article on his substack writing experience, and it is similar to what you have written here. He encourages people to spend their subscription money on smaller accounts, rather than big accounts that are already bringing in a lot of money.
It takes a long time to write great articles regularly. I have appreciated your writing, I get off-guardian as well.
Unfortunately some(many...?) of us here are squeezed financially because of covid job loss. I lost half my income because I didn't want to be injected with this product, and had to leave my 23 year healthcare career. I wish sub stack had another option for supporting writers. It's difficult to support many writers at the yearly subscription rate.
I know you're not leaving right away, but I wish you well. 💕
I respect your view on this subject and would hate to see you go. Although I subscribe, I admit I am not a paid subscriber. For me, it's just not economically feasible. There are times where I wish I could pay as there are some writers who I can no longer link their articles because you have to be a paid subscriber to read them.
Not to pick on any one in partcular, but I have been a follower of Jon Rappaport for many years and have linked many of his fine articles over the life of my site. Since he has primarily moved eveything to a paid only Substack, I no longer link much of his work, although it's still just as good. To me, that's a loss for Jon. But then again, Jon is not getting any younger and he did his sites for free for many years, so I can't blame him for wanting to be compensated.
I do see some drawbacks in doing this, in the fact that many readers miss some very good articles simply because, like me, they can't afford to pay to see them. Consequently, I won't usually link any paid articles as I don't feel any one who follows my site should have to pay to view an article, I too spend a lot of time daily doing my site, several hours every day. I get nothing from this other than the fact that I am trying to get truth out to people as well as good opinions and views such as yours. Call it a calling, I guess. Hence my moniker "The Watchman". Will continue linking you @https://nothingnewunderthesun2016.com/ for as long as I can. Afterall, you are my favorite shrew 🐀!
will be sad to see you go todd. take care. as someone who dumped cable tv 15 years ago, i was able to support independent media more easily and i now pay more on a monthly basis towards alternative sources than i did to corporate types. i believe that an actual free market makes the best outcomes, though sometimes, sad ones. you should keep writing though. i'm part way through your book on the ma at. and i'm enjoying it. (the f'n font is too small even with the old man specs on) i spend hours on photographs. sometimes hours on a photograph. nobody sees them but me. yet i continue..... think you should too.
Todd, to keep Shrew News alive you could invite other writers to write. You could become a super Shrew overlooking the publication, an editor Shrew :)
OK, I'm in the same boat regarding subscriptions, as previous comments have indicated.
I'm retired a paid subscriber to 6 or 7 Substacks.
I've just added you to that list with the hope that you'll carry on...
Regarding you last comment - I am a REAL free subscriber!
At the moment I only support OffGuardian (where I know you write). I don't support any Substack writers, and I guess part of it is that I'm sort of still in the "what is written on the internet is free" camp - I also don't pay any major news websites for content.
I do also write and in the current climate I would be happier with 1000 free subscribers creating a community than 10 paid. Getting the word out would rank higher for me than financial gain - with the belief that sending that positive energy out, financial security will also make its way back to me even if along a different route.
Since you mention that you are looking for community (and I assume many of us shrews feel desperately alone since 2020), I wonder whether it actually wouldn't be better to use Substack as a community hub, but focus your writing on paid publications. Because you could still post links to those articles on Substack and we could all still discuss and comment.
To finish, I do hope you find a way to make this work for you - I very very much enjoy your writing!
Drat! I just inadvertently deleted my comment, but the jist of was I think many of us try to support those Substack writers who have lost their livelihood. For example, I think Steve Kirsch is doing excellent work, but he does not need my support. Whereas, Byron Bridle has been treated dismally by Universtiy of Guelph, and I always try to find some dollars to support his work.
Thanks for all you do!
I think your articles are great, but realistically imo it’s a tough prospect for any Substack writer to monetize their work. Even if a significant generator of revenue for a writer, Substack could be shut down or the writer cancelled at a moment’s notice, if the winds of censorship and the elitists’ coercion blow a certain way. And we have seen that they can.
Very sorry to hear this. Hope something works out to allow you to continue. I enjoy your thoughts
Todd - thanks for all you do! I think one problem but you are up against is that many Substack writers have lost their livelihood through the horrors we have been through, and I expect many of us try to support those who may be having trouble paying their bills first. I know there are many excellent blogs, but if I know the writer it’s not hurting for money [Steve Kirsch, for example] I do not subscribe. However, Byron Bridle who has been treated so dismally by the Universtiy of Guelph, is one I find $$ to support.
I enjoy your articles and would be sad to see your blog expire.
Let me explain why I don't subscribe.....I already subscribe to a handful of stacks and the monthly payment mounts up. There are loads of writers I would love to subscribe to but I can't afford to support everybody.
Some kind of arrangement where we could pay a flat fee for 10 stacks and you could share the money would be really useful.
The world needs your voice! Have you considered what some SubStack writers do; offer some Shrew View articles for free, but then offer others for paid subscribers only? I know I pay for Coffee & COVID News to get the “paid weekend bonuses”. This also lets you crank out shorter versions for unpaid, while spending more time of the more lucrative paid for articles. Market your “paid articles” with teasers in the free articles. Just a thought.