[Announcement] Changing direction
Billing for Thai Island Times has been temporarily paused.
You may have noticed that after publishing at least eight articles here at Thai Island Times in both September and October, I slowed down recently and only managed to get four articles out — three paid and one free — so far this month. You also might be wondering what happened to the Island Wrap news summaries. An explanation is overdue, and I apologize for leaving you hanging until now.
Recently I’ve been unable to maintain the previous publication schedule due in part to problems and uncertainty related to my health, finances and visa situation. At the same time, freelance work has demanded more of my time than usual.
Therefore, to make up for the missed posts and give myself some breathing room rather than straining to catch up over the coming weeks, all paid subscriptions are now paused until mid to late January 2022. Here’s what that means:
If you’re a paying subscriber who is billed monthly, the usual auto-payment will not be made to Thai Island Times over the next month. Monthly billing will resume as normal once the pause is lifted.
If you opted to be billed annually, your subscription duration will be automatically extended to reflect the duration of the pause.
The long and short of it is that, regardless of whether you’re a monthly or annual paying subscriber, you won’t be charged for the paused period. (You can read more about Substack’s billing pause option here.)
Free subscribers will not be able to upgrade to a paid subscription during the pause, but new free signups remain open.
The pause will release some pressure while enabling me to refocus and plot a more sustainable path for carrying this newsletter into 2022. All previously published content can also be viewed as normal during the pause.
After the pause, I intend to fully resume Thai Island Times with a new approach that enables me to meet content obligations to paying subscribers and provide some free articles while, importantly, having enough time and mental energy left over to focus on more freelance writing and/or other types of work.
This is a matter of necessity.
The financial earnings that are possible from this newsletter — at least for the foreseeable future — became clear in recent months, and, to be honest, I have no choice but to shift strategy in order to make ends meet. The conversion rate from free to paying subscriptions has unfortunately been too low for me to devote as much time to the newsletter as I’d hoped when I launched paid content. (To those of you who have upgraded, THANK YOU for supporting this project.)
My new approach to the newsletter is still materializing, but here are the broad strokes in terms of what you can look for after the pause:
Keeping the promise that I made when launching paid content, paying subscribers will continue to receive four thoroughly researched, photo-stacked articles about Thai islands and coastal areas each month.
The changes will relate to free content, especially the Island Wraps that have required large amounts of time and research but have typically not been as popular, in terms of views, as other content. I won’t keep doing detailed reports on Thailand’s Covid-19 situation, and updates on tourism reopening will tend to be shorter than most of the ones I’ve done in the past.
I do intend to resurrect the Island Wrap based on my original idea of briefly summarizing developments related to coastal Thailand. But instead of multiple lengthy wraps each month, I’ll publish one at the end of a given month that will spotlight only the most important and interesting developments. Taking this month as an example, a recent announcement on reopening Maya Bay is a development that I see as important enough to be included in future Island Wrap articles. On the other hand, I won’t feel obliged to share every known case of a sea turtle being untangled from a net.
I will continue to closely follow news and developments related to coastal Thailand, especially those related to the environment, marine life and tourism. But rather than go into a lot of detail about these issues in the Island Wraps, I hope to primarily cover them in articles commissioned by larger publications, putting more cash into my pocket for the work I’m doing.
In lieu of multiple monthly Island Wraps, free subscribers can expect occasional in-depth travel articles along with shorter pieces covering a specific beach or waterfall, for example, rather than an entire island or coastal area. You’ll see what I mean after the pause.
In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding as I try to carve out a more financially sustainable life over the coming year. When I started Thai Island Times early in the pandemic, I didn’t know where it would lead. Since then I’ve written more than 280,000 words in 123 articles for this newsletter. I hope you’ve enjoyed them, and I sincerely hope you’ll be here for the next chapter.
Thank you for reading.
David Luekens 🌴