A full breakdown of what you can do on Medium as a writer
I’m an online writer, self-published satire author, and all-around perpetual-wannabe polymath. I’ve also carved out an odd little side-niche on Medium.com — I write Meta Medium articles.
And no, that “Meta” isn’t related to whatever the hell Facebook wants to call itself to hide their society-ruining misdeeds.
I wrote a giant collection of hundreds of articles to help newbies get the hang of Medium.com’s complexities. Today I want to share how you — as an author — can take advantage of Medium in the easiest way possible.
I first started writing on Medium.com around 2.5 years ago as part of that whole I-no-longer-want-to-work-a-real-job-like-a-mature-adult movement.
- I’ve climbed up to the top 250 out of ~500,000 authors on the platform
- I’ve had at least 30 of what they call ‘Top Writer’ badges
- I also have slightly over 12,000 followers — which is pretty high up there for Medium
More apt to this article, I spent two years building a publication (what they call a curated collection of submitted articles on Medium) that focused almost exclusively on getting better results on Medium.
Yea, not exactly the “real” writing you’re probably used to on this website, but useful nonetheless. To that point, Feedium has had over 1.5 million reads and 4,300 subscribers.
My point? I’m probably one of the few dozen people in the world who ̶w̶a̶s̶t̶e̶d̶ invested thousands of hours on the platform learning the pros, cons, ins, outs, and every other nook and cranny adjective you could think of.
But enough about me, let’s jump in!
Should I write on Medium.com as an author?
It’s a simple question with a frustratingly simple answer:
If you’re looking to make over $10,000 a month as you might see some people promote, I can tell you, you’d be better off jumping down a wishing well, collecting all the pennies, and then hoping one of them can be made into an NFT and spend the rest of your life wondering if we’re living in the wrong timeline.
In short, extremely few people make anywhere near that amount of money on the platform. I’m talking numbers under 20 or 30 on a good month. In fact, I suspect after many changes during the past year, that number might be far closer to 0 than anything.
Still, it’s a great place to earn some pocket money for pursuing a hobby you already love — writing scribbles on the internet.
But more importantly, making money directly from member views isn’t the only way to benefit from the platform.
Medium has other benefits for authors
I have a tendency to drone on in my writing, so in the interest of time, I’ll list out the various benefits you can use Medium.com to help your work.
1. Writing is a huge topic on Medium
For whatever (probably obvious) reasons, Medium has become a Mecca for writers and authors. While other websites boast somewhat niche audiences like programming on Hubspot or scamming on Vocal.Media, one of Medium’s main audiences is writers.
On one hand, you could look at that as being a bad thing.
More writers = more competition = less results?
On the other hand, you could look at that as being a door opening up to a stadium full of fellow potential friends passionate about the same thing, without having to cross that introverted barrier many of us writers have to worry about.
In short, Medium has a huge community of writers you can learn from, talk to, befriend, teach, and even sell to if that’s your cat’s pajamas.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned in the past 2.5 years from all of the excellent articles on the craft of writing that exist on the platform. Trust me, if you saw my attempts at writing before that, you’d think you were talking to a half-finished corporate AI PR bot.
Maybe you still do.
Maybe you’re right.
Either way, all hail our corporate overlords, they’re the best!
2. Google loves Medium
This is an aspect not often discussed on the platform. I certainly don’t cover the topic too often, even though I spent half a year on the subject.
Medium’s been around since 2012. It also gets an insane amount of views every month, somewhere in the range of 300 million webpage views a month according to their founder last year.
That’s not easy.
But it’s a good thing for you, because…
3. You can post anything on Medium (within reason)
Want to write a review for your book? Sign up for free and post it. Or better yet, join a publication that has dedicated viewers (like Feedium, cough, cough) and post it there.
Know your book’s topic inside out? Split up each chapter, cut them down to article length, and post it there. Sprinkle some SEO liberally throughout, leverage Medium’s SEO presence, and put a link to your book at the end of each article.
Have content written elsewhere? Repost it on Medium, let Google know you’re not plagiarizing with a canonical link, and wait for the Google views to pour in on Medium.
None of these strategies will make you much money directly on Medium, but if you do it right, you can get your book a lot more attention (and potential sales) with a little extra work.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always a fan of high ROI tasks.
4. You can find a new audience on Medium
If you’ve had the pleasure of self-publishing and the displeasure of trying to find new people to read your work, Medium can help in that department.
While it can be a struggle to climb up the ranks and make money directly from Medium, I can’t understate how much of a community aspect exists on the platform.
The only thing the website is really missing is a proper group chat function to help facilitate the idea. But that’s why there’s dozens of Facebook groups and Discords to make up for it.
But as with everything in life — there are highs, lows, and platforms with positionally self-descriptive names.
The Pitfalls of Medium for Authors
One of the main complaints I hear these days from Mediumites is the difficulty in growing their followers and making money directly.
This is certainly an issue if those two things are your main goal — but I’d propose a different way of looking at it as a book author.
- Look at Medium as free access to a giant community of fellow authors
- Leverage Medium for free publicity for your books and other content
If you become familiar with Medium after a certain amount of time, you’ll inevitably notice a lack of popular fiction on the platform. It was actually a bit surprising to me as writing is such a mega-niche on the platform, but it kind of makes sense.
The company simply prioritized “good stories” over anything else. And for some reason beknownst only to them, that mostly meant good real-life stories.
I’ve spent probably hundreds of hours scouring Medium with SEO tools and other tricks I’ve learned along the way, and the number of viral purely-fictional stories is insanely few.
The closest I ever came to a viral hit on a story-story was called I Lived With a Serial Killer for 10 Years and Didn’t Know It and somehow made almost $1,300. But even that story was mostly non-fiction, just written with some extra pizzazz (and likely extra pizzas).
So, if you’re looking for a place to share your short-stories, or even release your novel chapter by chapter, go ahead, but don’t expect amazing results. There are probably better platforms to try that out on.
But again, if you look at Medium as a community, then what a great place to find other short stories, fiction authors, and fellow enthusiasts for whatever niche your writing falls into!
If you’re really passionate about a subject, you could even create a publication focusing on just that niche and invite other Mediumites to submit stories to you.
I hope you found this article useful as an introduction to Medium for authors. It truly is a fantastic place that has unusually “kind” qualities for a giant tech platform.
But it isn’t easy to make money directly on it if you’re a fiction writer. It also takes a long time to grow an audience on top of that. However, using Medium for its other benefits can be hugely helpful and doesn’t even need too much time investment.
To review, here are the main ways to use Medium as an author:
- Publish your book reviews and excerpts
- Release your books’ modified content chapter-by-chapter with links to your book at the end
- Repost previously written content without any worries, linking back to your own websites for extra SEO juice
- Find a community of fellow writers in your niche to join and learn from
- Teach others the craft of your writing ← this one can actually make some money directly if you’re good at it and consistent over a long time
- It’s free to join and post! Medium offers memberships for those looking to read more than 3 stories a month, but you can publish (and earn) without paying
That’s it! If you’d like to learn more about Medium, I’ve written hundreds of articles on the subject over here.