Three months in: an update on Unmade's progress
Some hard data on how my adventure in email-first publishing is working out
Welcome to Unmade, written in snowy West Sussex, while you were sleeping on Tuesday morning.
Happy National Mason Jar Day, hipsters.
The UK’s biggest media properties appear to have angered the gods of live broadcasting. The last four nights of I’m A Celebrity have been cancelled because of extreme weather. Usually the British version is filmed in Queensland, but Covid restrictions saw ITV switch the show to a ruined castle in north Wales, which then proved to be the bullseye of Storm Arwen.
And a few hours ago, BBC Radio 4’s flagship show, The Today Programme, was forced off air because of a noisy fire alarm. The nearest such radio moment I can think of in Australia was perhaps Fran Kelly’s dog barking at the postie when she was broadcasting RN Breakfast from home during lockdown.
Today’s email is, as promised on Monday, an update on Unmade’s progress since launching three months ago.
The same thing applies as last month’s update: this is worth skipping unless you’re interested in the minutiae of business models in publishing. I plan to share the ups and downs. As I hit a rhythm, I suspect that this type of update will become quarterly, and eventually only annual.
There have already been a few monthly milestones.
The first Unmade email was on August 23, about three weeks after I left my staff role at Mumbrella.
The next month, on September 30, I announced that we would be launching a paid tier, and had joined the Substack Pro program. This sees Substack - the platform this newsletter is built on - offer some of its writers financial and practical support including a subscription to Getty Images, funding for podcast audio production and access to the Rev transcription service, among other things.
We published Unmade’s first post just for paying subscribers on October 27. Like this one, I shared all of the data I had so far, including subscriber numbers.
I’ll get to that updated data in a moment.
Before the paywall kicks in, it’s worth mentioning for those still considering subscribing to the paid for tier of Unmade that I’m currently running an offer which reduces the annual price from $650 to $169.
There are just 17 days left of this price. It’ll never be as low again. My aim is that, come next year, as Unmade hits its stride, anyone who subscribed now won’t be able to believe what a bargain they locked in.
Some of those who have been following the journey have suggested my relatively low pricing strategy is not entirely rational. After the paywall, I’ll explain one factor that’s not so obvious from the outside.