Subscriber Perks

So you’re wondering what you’d get out of subscribing to De Civitate? An excellent question!

Free List: What Everybody Gets

First and foremost, all De Civ readers can get my newest articles quickly and reliably by subscribing to my Substack’s free list. The main reason I moved here was frustration with WordPress, including its mailing list management. Substack does a great job with this, and I can unreservedly recommend a free subscription to you.

Second, everyone can participate in the comments. Substack’s comments work so much better than they did on the old WordPress blog. These two features alone made the move to Substack worthwhile.

I keep no specific writing schedule, and I write fewer articles than many of my Substack peers. You will often get only 2 articles per month, and rarely more than 4. However, when I go, I usually go deep, and the average length of my articles more than makes up for their paucity. In the past seven months, I’ve published 176,751 words on De Civitate. That’s about the same length as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring (187,790 words), and I think I generally give you good, quality words well worth reading. I’d put that output up against any Substack on the ‘net!

Paid List: The Engine of De Civitate

Substack told me I really shouldn’t try to sell paid subscriptions to my writing for less than $7/month or $70/year. So my paid subscriptions cost… $5/month or $50/year. (Sorry, Substack, but thank you for believing in me more than I believe in me!)

When I moved to Substack, ,y quiet hope was to earn $100/year, so that, in a decade, I could afford a new computer. You’ve all been far more generous than I expected. I earned enough to afford a new computer in less than a year. This has massively supercharged my interest in writing, and it has made my sense of duty to you, the readers, infinitely stronger. The truth is that most of what I write today, even outside the paywall, is written first and foremost because I feel an affection and obligation toward the paying subscribers. They are my patrons, in the old Renaissance sense. Everyone else? You are the beneficiaries of their generosity. Whenever I get notified about a new paying subscriber, I start writing at the first opportunity, to celebrate (and to thank).

So the first and best reason to join the pay list is because you like my writing and want more of it! Joining the pay list leads directly to more of my writing!

However, there are also two features that are fully or partially exclusive to paid subscribers, which I produce not-frequently-enough as a thank-you:

  • Worthy Reads, where I post all the best things I’ve been reading online and offer some commentary about them. This series is always shockingly popular. Free subscribers get half the entries; paid subscribers get to see them all. These are exclusive to subscribers forever.1

  • “Short” Reviews, a series of, well, TV/movie/book/video game reviews, which are exclusive to subscribers for between 3 months and forever, depending on mood. Here’s a sample, and another.

Premium Tier: The “Editorial Team”

Substack also strongly encouraged me to have a premium tier and find some cool reward for it. I didn’t really expect anyone to actually subscribe to it, but I didn’t want to disappoint Substack again, so I created a $150/year tier. Astoundingly, some of you took the bait signed up for it. If my pay-list subscribers are my daily bread, the thing that gets me to the keyboard every day, my premium-tier subscribers are my daily ice cream topped with sprinkles and heroin.

The premium tier is called “Put Me To Work!” When I freelance to places like The American Conservative, the paycheck is often around $150 per article.2 If an editor approaches me to write about a topic and offers me $150, I’m gonna write that article for her. So why wouldn’t I do the same for you, my beloved subscribers?

If you join the $150/year tier, I will write an article on the general topic of your choice, once per year. I guarantee at least 700 words, but I reserve the right to write way more than that. I won’t advocate a position I don’t believe, but you can ask me what I think about something, ask me to explore a particular topic, set me to work researching a topic that interests you, or make similar demands, and I’ll get to work just like I would if you were a fancy-pants editor from a big national outlet!3 I’ll email you when I get the notification of your subscription to find out what you want me to write about, and I’m setting a calendar reminder to send out an annual “what do you want me to write about?” email every year. Thanks for your extraordinary support of De Civ!

Referral Program

One of the ways Substack is encouraging me to promote De Civitate is through a referral program. If you refer people to De Civitate, and they sign up, you get rewards, and I get very happy. You can use the referral link below, or the Share button in any post:

Refer a friend

Simply send the link in a text, email, or share it on social media with friends. When a friend signs up, boom! Rewards. Specifically:

  • 1 referral = 3 months of free De Civitate

  • 4 referrals = 6 months free

  • 25 referrals = you pick a topic, I’ll write an article about it

They don’t even have to join the paid list. Signing up for the free list counts. In its capitalist wisdom, Substack has even created a leaderboard:

Visit the leaderboard

This is Substack’s FAQ on referrals. If you choose to participate in this referral thingy, thank you for helping get the word out about De Civitate! If not… I honestly can’t blame you! Thank you for supporting De Civitate anyway!

Refer a friend


I reserve the right to make them public after 12 months, but I have never actually done this, and I don’t really expect I ever will. I just don’t want to commit myself for all time, since a promise in perpetuity can get complicated.


It varies more than you would expect. Pro tip for freelancers: Law & Liberty generally paid $300. Terrific deal as these things go.


I’m trying to think of ways to abuse this, and there probably are some. There are certainly some requests from editors I can imagine refusing. (“Don’t talk to your kids for a month and write about the experience!” “Write a review of this child pornography!”) Actually, come to think of it, there’s an entire TV series about abusing this process. So! I reserve the right to refuse abusive requests—but I will refund your money if I do.