Wednesday 26 January 2022

Writing for Medium

A while ago I wrote a post saying I'd just started publishing on the Medium website and promised an update when I'd used it for a while.  Recently a few people have asked about my experience there, so I think the time has come to share some facts and tips.

A few facts

1. It costs $5 a month to join Medium. You can opt out anytime. 

2. The money writers earn comes from these fees. Non members can publish, and can read three stories per month. Members have no limits to the number of stories they can read.

3. Everything posted on Medium is referred to as a story, whether fiction, non fiction or poetry. Most of the stories are actually articles.

4. You can opt to have your work behind the pay wall or not. You can mix and match. This applies to members and non members.

5. Even if your work is behind the paywall there's a way to share it so non members can read it for free.

6. You only earn money when a member reads a story of yours which is behind the paywall. The rate is calculated according to how long they spend reading. Long stories can earn you more, assuming readers reach the end.

7. You can upload previously published work as long as you didn't give up your rights. Here's one of mine. If the work is published elsewhere online they like you to mention this and include a link at the end of your story. Here's an example.

8. You may upload to your own page. This is instant and your work isn't usually assessed for quality. (I understand there is some quality control and if people post total gibberish it may be removed.)

9. You may apply to publish through one of the many 'publications' on the site. These all have different rules. Some let anyone in, some are very selective. When you upload to a publication the work has to be approved and may be edited. This can take a few days. I've never had anything declined, but I understand this can happen.

10. In my experience, it's much better financially to use a publication, rater than posting on your page. Paying members may establish their own publication. (I haven't done this.)

11. You need to set up an account with Stripe in order to be paid. There's a minimum payment (I think it's £1 for UK writers). If you don't earn that much the payment is rolled over until you do. Payment is monthly and arrives in your bank towards the end of the month following that in which it was earned.

12. You can use your own images, or select from a large number of royalty free ones.

Some tips

1. Set up up a profile page with a few details about yourself and include a photo if you're comfortable doing that. Here's mine. The information I entered there is what shows if you click on 'about', and under my profile picture.

This profile page allows people to 'follow' you or to subscribe by email to your posts if they wish to.

2. Find some publications which publish the kind of story you wish to write and apply to submit to them. This will involve reading stories which are behind the paywall, so you'll probably want to join the site to enable this.

3. Write a longer bio / 'About Me' piece and pin this to your profile. If readers have taken the trouble to look at your profile they're quite likely to want to know more, and this extended bio can be placed behind the paywall.

4. Use at least one image at the top of your story. Add other images only as appropriate. Don't forget to add the credit if you've used one you didn't obtain directly from the site. Here's an example where I've used an image from the site (the top one) and also some of my own.

5. Use appropriate keywords to allow people to find your stories. When you type these in

you'll see how many other stories have the same keyword, which may help you decide which option to select.

6. Don't publish dozens of stories all at once. Some publications don't allow this and followers are more likely to read new pieces published at regular intervals than 20 in one go.

7. If there's a subject you find you're constantly answering questions about, or explaining, as I am with wildflower meadows, then write an article for the site and share the link instead of having to repeat yourself. You can do that with a 'friend link' to make it free, but might also earn from other people reading it.

This post has got very long, so I'll stop for now. If you have any questions, please ask via this post rather than social media and I'll do my best to answer them and will add the information into the post too. Once it's as complete as I can get it, I'll try my luck at posting it on the site!

Tonight's #WritingChat topic is 'writing for online markets'. Everyone is welcome to join in (as they are every week). To take part tweet between 8 an 9 UK time, using the hashtag.

If you're completely new to writing anything, you may like to read my article on getting started as a writer.

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Book signing

I'm doing a book signing for Acting Like A Killer this Saturday at The Book Lee-on-the-Solent. If any of you happen to be in the area it would be lovely if you came in and said hello. I'll give you one of Amelia's caramels if there are any left!

It's my first event in a loooong time, so please wish me luck, and if you have any tips I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Over To You

Womag news

The People's Friend have lots of stories in the shorter lengths, but not so many of 2,000 and 3,000 words, so if you're hoping for a relatively quick response, those are your best bet. Especially if they're set during the season the editor is scheduling for. Currently that's spring. 

Do you have any womag news?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Feel free to use the as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Free entry writing competition news

Thanks to Maria Kinnersley for telling me about this competition for under represented writers. The prizes include cash and mentorship. You may enter fiction or poetry.

Thanks to Sheelagh, for the following – "There is a weekly six word story competition in the Irish Independent open to all, every week. The prize is €30 & the top 5 get published every week. I have entered a few times and made the top 5 at least 3 times but the €30 eludes me. Its good fun and the entry email address is for anyone interested in entering."

I'd love to hear your competition news. Have you entered any competitions, heard about any, had any luck?

Do you have writing tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Saying it with flowers

Free entry competition news

This competition from ServiceScape is for short stories of up to 5,000 words and offer a prize of $1,000. I've entered for the last three years with no luck, but I'll probably try again. There's plenty of time to come up with something as it doesn't close until November.

Nottingham Writers Studio are running a short story competition on the theme of climate change. You have up to 5,000 words and they're offering numerous prizes from £250 for first place to £15 for runners up. All winners and runners up will be published in an anthology. I made it into last years, so will enter again if I can come up with a suitable idea.

The word count and prize are much smaller for this flash fiction competition. £10 is on offer for the best 10 word story. I can't think of an excuse not to try – and if I could it would probably take more than 10 words to explain it!

Womag news

I've had an acceptance from Take a Break. The only reason this even vaguely qualifies as news is that it was my first from there in a long time, as I didn't submit during the period when they took all rights. I was pleased that I got a yes with my very first attempt under the new terms. 

This market is currently closed to submissions, but there are still some magazines which will consider work by new to them writers. See my newly updated submissions database for details.

Thanks to Jenny Worstall for alerting me to the fact that People's Friend Pocket Novels are now wanted in a slightly shorter length. Guidelines are here.

If you find any of my blog posts useful, encouraging or interesting PLEASE leave a comment. This isn't just to make me feel it was worthwhile posting, although it does do that. The main reason I ask for comments is that it shows the blog is read. That makes it more likely that magazine editors, competition organisers etc will answer my queries and share information with me. In turn that allows me to make this blog more useful for everyone who reads it.

The flowers are to say thank you to all those who do take the trouble to leave a comment and/or supply with information which I can share.

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Off to a good start

Free entry competition news

If you saw yesterday's post you'll already know I plan to enter more free to enter competitions this year. (If you missed it, please consider reading and voting for this story of mine. You'll need to provide your email and verify your vote, but I'll really appreciate you making the effort.) I also entered the fable competition which I mentioned a few posts back. As I'm aiming for at least 2 entries a month, I feel I'm off to a good start!

I'm taking a two pronged approach. First I'll be entering more of those I'd blog about anyway, and secondly I'll be searching for even more free contests to enter. If you hear of any, please let me know via a link as a comment, email, tweet – however you like. 

Thanks again to Alyson, who regularly passes on competition links. Her latest find is this flash fiction competition which offers $200 as its top prize. Winning and shortlisted entries will be published. I intend to try this one.

Creative Writing Ink run various competitions, plus provide a list of others you can enter, both free and with entry fees. They currently have a free to enter poetry competition, with a £10 Amazon voucher as the prize. Poetry isn't really my thing, so I'll probably give this one a miss.

The Anansi Archive offer quarterly competitions for poetry, flash fiction (up to 500 words) and short fiction (up to 3,000 words). All have cash prizes and all are free to enter. I entered last time with no luck, but I'll have another go.

This competition is for thrillers and offers $20,000 as the top prize! It's another of those where your popularity and social media reach play a part. I see why the organisers do this, but I wish they wouldn't. 

Fusili Writing have another flash fiction competition. They have an unusual way of working – they wait until they have 100 entries, then pick their favourite to publish and promote on social media. That glory is the only prize, but writing flash fiction is a great exercise and they offer some advice on the site. There's also the option to get paid feedback. I've not seen an example of that, so don't know how useful it would be, but £3 isn't a lot to risk if you feel a few pointers might be helpful

Womag news

I've heard from Siobhan at Seven Days. Cheques for published stories weren't sent out before Christmas as she'd thought, but she's been assured that this will still happen.

In case you're wondering, there's no significance to the tulips, beyond my usual excuse that you could use the photos as writing prompts. Really they're just there because I like them so much and the post looked dull without any images.

Tuesday 4 January 2022

Happy New Year and help requested!

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2022 is going well so far!

Have you made and writing plans or resolutions? One of mine is to enter more of the free to enter competitions I blog about.

Last year my plans included photographing and climbing more mountains and publishing this book. That went so well, I started this year full of confidence.

I got carried away and entered this one without realising it was one of those annoying ones decided by votes, not judges. If you like my story, I'd really appreciate a vote! (You'll be asked to give your email and click on a verification link).