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.


Natalie Aguirre said...

I had never heard of this option. Thanks for sharing your tips on how publishing on it works.

Sharon boothroyd said...

Crikey, it sounds awfully complicated if you're not IT savvy!
As I'm not, I won't be bothering, but thanks for all the info, anyway.

Sheelagh said...

Never heard of this Patsy so thanks always great to learn something new & attempt to keep on top of technology's myriad of uses.

Sally Jane Graham said...

I'm so glad to read this post, Patsy. I am a contributor on Medium and although I have published a few articles over the years I have not earned from it. I pay the $5 because I enjoy reading what every one else has written and I just feel that maybe I might have more success when I increase the amount I am writing. I have found that many of the articles which have a lot of success are articles on how to sell content and how to start up 'side-hustles'. I have written about my business, women in technology and yoga over the past few years but my true passion is short stories. Some members post fiction and poetry but I have not so far been convinced that it is a good market for those. Like you say, articles seem to be the most successful. Thanks again for your take on Medium, Patsy - really useful

Sharon boothroyd said...

Reading the comment above - if it requires forking out $5 a month, simply in order for
my fiction to be published on a website, I wonder it's such a good deal.
You must be pretty confident that you'd earn more than that back, in order to begin the process.
If you feel confident that you'd earn back more then $5 a month, fair enough.
But I wouldn't be.
When I post my short stories on my own website, at least it doesn't cost me anything.

Marguerite said...

There do seem to be an ever increasing number of ways that technology can help in all sorts of areas. As several have said above, not sure if this would be right for me - you would need to be confident that your work would be seen. Nevertheless, thank you, Patsy - always good to know what's out there and clear 'how to' steps.

New girl on the block said...

Thank you so much for posting this. It sounds a really interesting new way of publishing. I certainly wouldn't pay the $5 per month, so am wondering what the chances are of getting published as a non-member....

A couple of questions:

- Can non-members put work behind the pay wall?
- Am I right in thinking that Secret Attic doesn't take all rights, and that therefore I could submit work which has been published on that site as long as I provide a link?

Marian said...

Thanks very much, Patsy. This was very interesting. I hadn't heard of it before.

Patsy said...

@ Natalie – I only knew because a friend told me.

@ Sharon – Sorry if I've made it seem complicated. I actually found it quite easy to navigate and I'm not great with IT. However it is something else to learn and I totally understand not being overly keen to do that.

I do make more than the $5 fee – but it's not necessary to pay that in order to be published on the site.

@ Sheelagh – I think it's always good to learn of a potential new home for our work.

@ Sally – I wouldn't recommend Medium as a primary market for fiction and poetry, but for me it's a good way to earn a little extra from work which has already been published.

@ Marguerite – To give work the best chance of being seen it's advisable to submit it to an appropriate publication – which of course is how it works offline too.

@ New Girl – Yes, non members can have their work behind the pay wall. There are some things they can't do, such as establishing their own publication, but not everyone will want to do that.

I haven't checked Secret Attic's terms recently, but they didn't use to take all rights. If's fine to submit work which has been previously published as long as you retain the rights to do so. Be aware that in some cases there's an exclusivity period, so you may need to wait for a while before subbing to Medium.

@ Marian – Thank you!

New girl on the block said...

Thank you. I tested it out yesterday and couldn't figure out how to get my article behind the pay wall... will try again!

Patsy said...

@ New Girl – when you click 'publish' a box comes up inviting you to add tags. Under that it says something about metering – select that.

New girl on the block said...

Thanks, Patsy. I've tried again, but the 'metering box' didn't appear for me after adding the tags. Not ready to give up yet though - I'll let you now how it goes....

Linda CASPER said...

Thanks for the detailed information about how Medium works. Your story was excellent. I can't say I enjoyed it as it was really scary!

Patsy said...

@ New Girl – if you still can't work it out email me or message me in twitter and I'll see if I can help.

@ Linda – Most of them aren't, but I had to use that one to illustrate my point.