A Special Thanksgiving Message
Today, a Message of Gratitude and Support. And a Humble Request.
Despite the holiday’s rather unfortunate historical context, I do believe that the spirit of Thanksgiving and the values it exalts—gratitude, family, and delicious food—are worth celebrating earnestly. While the tendrils of commercialization have all but completely ensnared practically every Western holiday (and are increasingly having a go at Eastern holidays), Thanksgiving’s unique in that it’s successfully resisted becoming a cash grab, to the point they had to invent a whole separate “holiday” that’d be more amenable to the pursuit of profit (in the form of Black Friday, the day after).
And it makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, if you’re grateful for what you have in life, why would you need more crap? Maybe that’s why stores put up Christmas decorations the instant Halloween is over, barely acknowledging Thanksgiving.
And, indeed, I have much to be grateful for this year.
I’m grateful to be well in health, of sound mind, and in good spirits (in multiple meanings of the word).
I’m grateful for my wonderful family; for Jenny, my headstrong and supportive wife, who’s always been the single biggest champion and cheerleader for my new adventures as an independent publisher; for Josie, my wonderful little daughter, who gives my life purpose and meaning, and whose recovery from two open-heart surgeries as a newborn is living testament to the power of grit and perseverance; for our three cats, as fluffy as they are friendly; and for my entire extended families (by blood and by marriage).
I’m grateful for video games—that I enjoy the hobby as much as I do, and for the many fond memories, experiences, and friendships that gaming has given me.
But most of all, I’m grateful for you, dear reader. Because you are what makes Game & Word possible.
I love writing this newsletter, and feel incredibly blessed to do so—the fact that nearly 800 of you find my writing enriching and valuable enough to allow me into your inboxes each week is humbling beyond words, and I’m grateful for every single one of you.
I hope to be able to give you this newsletter for many, many years to come—but at the risk of sounding like an NPR fall pledge drive, I must level with you:
I need your help.
Now, before you close the tab, don’t worry—I’m NOT going to try and guilt you into giving me money, or anything like that. But if I may, I would like to humbly ask for any help you can give to make this newsletter sustainable (obviously, money helps, but it’s not the only way you can help. I’ll explain).
Whenever you read Game & Word, you can probably tell that a lot of work goes into making each new issue, podcast episode, and video essay. It’s basically a full-time job, and I’m the only one doing it. Not that I’m complaining! Frankly, there’s no other way I’d rather use my time and talents to earn a living. But I do need to earn a living, especially if I’m to continue publishing Game & Word full-time.
This newsletter is fun, but ultimately, supporting my family will always come first. And if I can’t put food on Josie’s table through Game & Word, I’m going to have to dedicate less time to publishing, and more time to “conventional” work for a paycheck.
This’d mean I’d have to either a) cease publishing Game & Word entirely, b) drastically scale back production, perhaps to a monthly or even quarterly publication, c) paywall most or even all of my content, or d) some combination of the above. I’m not thrilled about any of these prospects.
This is where you come in, dear reader.
So, my humble Thanksgiving request to you is: will you help me keep this newsletter operation running, and make it sustainable, as we head into 2023?
If I can count on your support, you’ll not only have even more of my undying gratitude; your help will bear fruit as Game & Word continues getting bigger, better, stronger, and faster in 2023… oh, and there will be perks, as well!
And the best part? I’ve made it easy to help! Simply pick whichever of the following five options makes most sense for you and your circumstances.
Five Easy Ways to Help
Now, let’s start by getting this out of the way: if a paid subscription isn’t feasible for you, I completely understand—and I appreciate you just as much simply for reading Game & Word. But don’t worry—you can still help out, in ways that won’t cost you a penny!
And regardless of how you’re able to help, you will tremendously support Game & Word going into 2023. Here are the most helpful ways you can help Game & Word, in order of impact:
1) Paid Subscriptions
Obviously. The most direct and impactful way to support Game & Word is by upgrading to a paid subscription. In doing so, not only will you help keep this newsletter going and help me feed my daughter, you’ll also gain access to some pretty sweet perks:
Full access to Game & Word’s complete archive of longform gaming analyses,
Dedicated chat threads and community discussions exclusive to paid subscribers,
Occasional bonus content,
Loads of good karma to offset all the Minecraft griefing from your younger and edgier days!
That’s not all. Paid subscribers will always get early, discounted, or even free access to special Game & Word projects, including one in the works for early 2023. More details forthcoming on this one very soon, so keep your eyes on your inbox!
All of this, for less than the $8/month that Elon Musk wants to charge you for a 10x10 blue PNG file on your Twitter profile. As a bonus, your
$8 $7 $6/month goes to an independent publisher and his family, instead of recouping a billionaire troll’s $40 billion vanity project’s costs.
Oh, and if you can’t (or don’t want to) commit to a recurring paid subscription, you can always toss a little bit into my tip jar, which is also always appreciated:
2) Subscription Referrals, Gifts, and Donations
If you’re already a paid subscriber, the best way to support Game & Word is to bring in more paid subscribers. Fortunately, Substack makes this very easy to do. You’ve got two main options: referrals and gifts.
Referrals are a quick and easy way to spread the word quickly and easily. Shortly after upgrading to a paid subscription, you should (have) receive(d) an automated email with a unique referral link, which you can send to your friends. You can give up to three (3) separate month-long trial subscriptions, at no cost to you.
Or, if you’re struggling to find a gift for the special gamer in your life, a year’s worth of deep gaming commentary is a thoughtful present that costs less than a AAA video game, but won’t run the risk of them having already bought it for themselves (a pretty significant risk, as anyone with a gamer spouse can tell you!):
If you don’t have a specific person in mind, but want to give the gift of longform game commentary to someone, anyone, you can also donate a subscription* to someone who’d otherwise be unable to afford it:
*(Only annual subscriptions can be donated)
3) Sharing Is Caring
If a paid subscription, gift, or referral is out of your reach (or you already have one), you can support Game & Word just by sharing the love with your friends, family, and colleagues.
If you enjoy reading Game & Word, it’d mean the world to me if you recommended it to those in your life that would also enjoy it. This not only helps the newsletter grow and survive, but it also spreads holiday cheer to the special people in your life.
But I’m also going to present to you a challenge, should you choose to accept it: try and forego social media and actually personally recommend it to people, whether face-to-face, on stream, or via email/text/DM.
Think about it—if we really are at a turning point, and social media’s going the way of the Geocities, then we might as well practice regular, one-on-one interaction, right? And even if it’s not, we should all do our part to bring our innate humanity back into our social interactions—and in doing so, enrich our own lives AND starve the Meta/Twitter/TikTok content machine that’s literally sucking the life out of us all.
That said, if you do want to post to social media—whether because you’ve got tons of highly-engaged followers or the idea of a face-to-face conversation feels daunting in this post-COVID era—then go right ahead! Just click the button below:
4) Sponsorship Advice
I am actively seeking potential sponsors, partners, advertisers, and/or investors for Game & Word. The occasional sponsored message (I promise these won’t be annoying or intrusive) could go a long way towards covering Game & Word’s costs, without the need to throw up more paywalls. Even better, some institutional support could fully sustain this newsletter for many years to come.
The problem is that… I don’t know any such potential partners, and I wouldn’t even know where to look. I’ll obviously continue doing my own research. But if any of you run in such circles, and are willing to share your expertise (and possibly introduce me to a few folks), please get in touch with me by replying to this email, or simply emailing me directly at email@example.com or pinging me on one of the open chat threads. I’ll gladly comp you a paid subscription for your trouble.
5) Feedback, in General
If you’ve yet to upgrade your subscription, I’d love to know: what could I offer that would entice you enough to make the leap? While I do believe I ask a fair price for the work I do and the value Game & Word’s content provides, I do acknowledge that I could be doing more to add value to paid subscriptions.
If you feel this is the case, please let me know what you’d like to see in a paid subscription, that would make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. I’m open to any and all suggestions—after all, as I mentioned, you are what makes Game & Word possible, so I want to make sure I’m doing as much as I can for my readers. It’s the least I could do!
So go ahead, don’t be a stranger—drop a comment, pop in the chat thread later today, or shoot me an email (again: firstname.lastname@example.org), and help me know how I could best help you:
So, that’s it for the “pledge drive.” Alas, I don’t have any tote bags to give out, but hopefully by next year, Game & Word will be in a good enough place to offer merch and other such perks, if there’s enough interest for it.
Once again: thank you!
Anyway, that is all. Thank you for listening to my request, thank you for whatever help you’re able to provide, and thank you—as always—for your readership of Game & Word.
Now, please, don’t let me keep you. Go and have a wonderful time with your family, enjoy all the delicious food, have a restful turkey nap, and remember everything that you are grateful for this year. I know I will!
With Sincerest Gratitude,
Publisher, Game & Word