I am once again humbled
and also asking for something
Substack recently added a new audience insights feature in the stats area of the dashboard.
I had seen some more prominent writers tweeting screenshots of theirs—maps showing all the US states and scores of countries filled with varying hues of orange. But I didn’t know what to expect when I opened mine. And I definitely didn’t expect this:
Just Enough to Get Me in Trouble is read across 47 US states and 92 countries.
92 countries?! I got a bit emotional when I saw that number. I just checked it again and now it’s 93 countries.
Then I wondered which three US states have zero subscribers. Vermont. Okay, that makes sense, I don’t know anyone there. Mississippi. Also makes sense, never been there and don’t know anyone there either. Wyoming. Wait, what?
You see, my brother-in-law goes to college in Wyoming. Sure, he probably subscribed when he lived here in California. At least I think he subscribed. But either way, like, c’mon man, shill my stuff! Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.
I’ve been blown away by the growth and reach of my tiny corner of the internet—even before I could see it on a map. There are nearly two thousand of you. And I’ve heard from people all over the world. People I’ll almost certainly never meet in person. This has all been especially surprising because I’ve never had a clear niche that I’m serving. I write whatever I feel like, from stories I’ve wanted to tell for years, to what happened in the past week, and everything else in between (and even the occasional made-up story).
There is a theme that seems to be coalescing for me lately, though. It’s not totally fleshed out (eww, gross phrase) yet, but ideas have been flying through my head lately and I’m excited about them.
As a bit of a teaser, I changed the tagline thingy on Substack, which shows up on this page:
Hanging out at the intersection between the stories we tell and the stories we tell ourselves. Personal, vulnerable, and sometimes funny essays from a husband, father, and disability advocate, delivered every Saturday at exactly 8:08 am PT.
Let me know what you think. Does it make you curious to read (and want to subscribe if you aren't already)? Does it suck? It’s long, I know. But I like it.
Also, hat tip towho recently shared how he came up with his Substack tagline (along with some other stuff that resonated a ton with me) in this recent post (which prompted me to stop being lazy and update mine):
I’m so grateful for the relationship I’ve built with all of you and I’m stoked for what’s to come. Don’t make it weird, it’s not that kind of relationship.
This preamble has all been my way of delaying what I really wanted to tell you about today.
In the past—on two separate occasions—I’ve asked for donations for my daughter Em’s in-home nurse. In both instances, she couldn't work for a while since she came down with COVID. And both times, the generosity of so many of you who sent money to me, a stranger on the internet, was staggering.
But this time it’s different.
Sooo, here’s the deal.
I turned on paid subscriptions for this newsletter. Wait, hold on. Don’t unsubscribe or close this tab or whatever.
And also, I’m charging more than most newsletters do. Wait, wait, wait. Just give me a sec. Hear me out.
As a nod to my 8:08 am PT publishing time on Saturdays, subscriptions cost $8.08 per month, or $80.08 if you pay annually. For each subscription, I’ll not only have to give 10% to Substack, but I’ll also take out another 10% and donate it to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF) on your behalf. If you’re a true baller and opt for the $180.08 Founding Member level, I’ll tack on another 5% to the donation.
If you’re already a free subscriber, nothing will change. It’s more like you’re upping your support from exchanging your email to giving me a bit of cold hard cash.
Part of the reason I turned on subscriptions is because of this recent news:
I’ve been using AmazonSmile since well before my daughter Em was born in 2018. But when she developed severe cerebral palsy at birth, I quickly changed the connected charity to the CPF. My family doesn’t go too crazy with Amazon (we’re generally pretty frugal), but we use it a fair amount. And yet, with how tiny the AmazonSmile percentage is, we’ve only generated $117.56 for the CPF in total. It’s better than nothing. But I’m hoping that with your help we can send way more than that.
By the way, I’m not sure if you’ll be able to write off the 10% or 15% as a charitable contribution on your taxes since I’d be the one doing the giving on your behalf. I’m not a tax person or whatever. And I also don’t know the tax laws in 93 countries lol. But I’m happy to send proof of the donation if you want. I’ll keep a running total and publish periodic updates here too.
There won’t be any special subscriber content, at least not in the near term. But, consider this: if you subscribe, you can call yourself a patron, which sounds pretty fancy, doesn’t it?
I spend a fair amount of my time writing and thinking about this newsletter. And I also have some fun experiments I might—I’m not sure yet, but maybe perhaps—be trying out soon (*cough* podcast *cough*).
Anyway, I’m excited about the future of this newsletter and I hope you’ll chip in to help fund it a little bit.
P.S. Please share this newsletter with anyone you know in Wyoming, Mississippi, or Vermont since I’m a completist.
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