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The Future of Screenshot Reliquary
Is this subject line a little too dramatic? My apologies if you thought for a second that I might be announcing the end of Screenshot Reliquary. Nope! Quite the opposite, actually.
I started Screenshot Reliquary all the way back in 2017 as a way to share things I encountered online and IRL. I wanted to take all of these links, images, and information taking up space in my Bookmarks folders, my Notes app, and, yes, screenshots saved to my Desktop and Camera Roll and put them out into the world in hopes that someone else out there on the Web might find them interesting too.
This has always been a labor of love, something I did in my free time as a burnout undergrad looking for some escapism all the way to now as a more grown-up version of myself with several jobs, bylines, and now one semester of grad school under my belt. Some of you reading this were here with me from the very beginning when I launched this project through Tinyletter and all of its wonderfully archaic formatting. Some of you may have found me more recently and got curious about this thing I share on my Instagram and Twitter each month, or you heard me mention my newsletter when you met me offline. No matter how you got here, I’m happy you stayed and I hope you’ve been finding my little musings inspiring and intriguing.
I have long put off trying to put a dollar amount on this work I do. Joining Substack, there’s this pressure to monetize your work and to turn your creative production into a profitable venture. I’ll admit, I’ve been really lucky that I’ve never been in the position to have to rely financially on my writing alone. This is why, for so long, I’ve never offered any sort of paid subscription to this newsletter, since I didn’t want to constrict the kind of content my subscribers could have access to as a result. I have, and always will, make my work accessible to everyone. In a time when it feels like every publication has a paywall, it’s a principle I firmly stand by.
That being said, this newsletter takes a lot of time and energy to make. Each one you get in your inbox is the result of months and sometimes years (seriously) of compiling things, connecting pieces by themes, and finding patterns in what I’ve been gravitating towards. Drafting these letters always ends up taking about a week or so since I always go back and review what I’ve added, curating it to meet my own editorial standards. This creative work is labor—my labor—and I need to value it as such if I want this to be a sustainable project I do in the years to come (even if admitting that I think I deserve some sort of financial compensation for this silly little thing I’ve spent years working on feels very, very scary).
What does this mean for you?
I’m rolling out a paid subscription at $5 a month. What I really wanted was a sliding scale, pay-what-you-wish system from $1-$5, but this is Substack’s minimum and I have no plan to switch to a different platform any time soon. My goal is to offer about 1-2 pieces of additional content every month. I’d love to do more (and may do more depending on my capacity) but I need to be mindful of my own creative bandwidth seeing as I’m currently juggling work with grad school with freelancing.
As a paid subscriber, you’ll get:
Previews of upcoming essays and in-progress drafts of forthcoming works - I’ve kicked my writing into high gear in 2022, and I’m excited to share what’s coming down the pipeline. These will be pieces that won’t be published in the next few weeks, but rather are expected to go live months from now. Yes, eventually these pieces will be published somewhere, but I get impatient and I want to be able to share work that I’m really proud of.
Short essays, reviews, thoughts, and hot takes - What you get in my monthly reliquaries only scratches the surface of the media I’m consuming and, frankly, there’s a lot of stuff I encounter that I don’t include because it doesn’t match the theme in some way. These writings will usually focus around one or a couple of things like books, exhibitions, movies, TV shows, current events, whatever is on my mind at the moment that doesn’t fit neatly into something I can pitch to a publication or in the month’s main newsletter. Some might skew more culture critic, others more academic. Either way, I’m excited to brain dump for you.
Previews of visual projects, zines, etc. - Yes! I have some of these in the works! As someone who is artistically uncoordinated (I avoided drawing and painting classes as a kid and my sculpture skills were very questionable) I never thought I’d work on projects with visual elements to them, but I’ve been gravitating to visual mediums more and more and want to realize these ideas that have been swirling around in my head.
As a free subscriber, you’ll get:
Eventual access to any writings that my paid subscribers see first - Anything that won’t be published in a magazine or on a separate editorial platform of some kind will end up on my Medium for you to read. These will go live about a month after they are initially sent out. I want to make sure that people don’t feel pressured to pay if they don’t want to, or can’t afford it, and that they’ll be able to access my writing beyond the paywall.
Monthly themed reliquaries - Yes! This is for everyone. These monthly newsletters have been the backbone of this project for years, and will continue to be something all of my subscribers can read. Because I’ll be publishing additional content now, these will be scheduled to run at the end of each month to give myself time to draft them (and to finally hold myself accountable to a more consistent publishing schedule, lol).
If you don’t feel comfortable paying a monthly subscription, no worries! I get! We’re all living in precarious times and I know that many of us are constrained by our own personal emergencies, priorities, and life situations, which makes committing to a monthly payment feel a bit stressful. If you’d still like to support my work, but do it on a one-time donation basis, you can always contribute to my Ko-Fi or purchase books featured in my newsletters through my Bookshop affiliate store.
I plan on releasing my first piece of paid subscriber content on Monday, June 27th (hint: it’s from a review that’ll be available in print months from now). I know we’re already at the middle of the month, but I want to give everyone time to decide if they want to change their subscriptions or not.
If you have any questions or thoughts or suggestions about how to handle this transition, you can always reply to this post. This is something new for me, so I’m open to any feedback you might have as a reader, or even as a writer who’s been navigating these issues.
I’m very excited for what’s in store and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve been able to accomplish with Screenshot Reliquary thus far. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people whose work I greatly admire and learn more about creative ideas and innovations happening not only where I live in New York City but around the world—and none of this would have been possible without your support! It means everything to me.
Until next time.