How to Migrate Your Newsletter From Substack to Buttondown

Maybe you don’t You want to donate 10 percent of your income to a risk-supported Silicon Valley company. You may not trust a company-backed Silicon Valley company to stay away from newsletters and destroy everything you’ve created. Or you may just not want your newsletter to be hosted on a service that actively recruits and pays extremists. There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to leave Substack, that’s all I’m saying.

Some writers are abandoning Substack for Ghost, which is not a completely natural transition. That’s why I recommend (and personally use) Buttondown. Here’s how to migrate and archive your subscribers from Substack to Buttondown.

Buttondown versus Stubstack

Buttondown offers a comparison with Substack, if you want to look at their list, but I highlight some features.

The first is the price. Buttondown is free for up to 100 subscribers, after which it costs $ 9 a month up to $ 1,000, and the price increases from there. Substack is free, but it is a 10% reduction in paid subscriptions, which is very important if you never want to make a living with your newsletter. Imagine growing a subscriber base of $ 4,000 a month; you pay $ 400 to Substack. So even the most expensive levels in Buttondown will cost less than that.

The second thing to think about is the features. Buttondown supports all sorts of things that Substack doesn’t do, such as auto-save. Buttondown does not collect user data unless you intentionally enable these features. There’s also an API and Zapier integration, but much more important than that to me is that you can write your newsletters at a discount. (I love Markdown with all my heart.) Basically Buttondown offers all sorts of nerdy stuff that Substack doesn’t.

Also: Buttondown is a start-up, that is, it is not bound to any investor. Substack has about $ 82 million in investor money, which means there is a powerful group of people expecting massive growth. Call me a tired content mining veteran — I freely admit that I am — but these entities rarely have long-term interest in journalists and writers. Buttondown, meanwhile, is run by a single person, Justin Duke, who responds to emails himself and publicly reports how much money he spends running the service.

Last but not least, Buttondown sends you a funny GIF every time someone subscribes. That’s the only reason to migrate, so let’s talk about how you can do that.

Export your substack newsletter

Sign in to Substack and go to the bulletin board in your newsletter. Click Configuration link to the top bar. Scroll down to the bottom to find the Export your data section. Click Create a new export.

Courtesy of WIRED staff

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