How I’m Dealing with The New Medium Earnings Model

Keep in mind that this change is still too new for anyone to see the complete picture.

By Shannon Ashley

It’s November 11, and we have officially been working with the new earnings model for 15 days, with the daily earnings having been revealed for a full two weeks.

So far, my earnings are holding up within my typical range. The first 14 days have earned a bit more than $4,000, which is pretty much on par for a typical month in which I don’t have any “viral” stories.

But I have noticed a few new things.

I have fewer “heavy hitters.”

Under the old system, I used to notice that several stories earned a lot up front. These days, a largely well-received story tends to earn less right out of the gate.

I’m earning something on more of my old stories.

The list of stories which go into my earnings has grown longer. In the past, I was earning zilch on stories that were heavily read just because folks weren’t clapping. That means I’ve got a whole backlog of posts earning more than a few bucks, and not just pennies.

I can’t look at the fans or claps on my individual stories.

I’m pretty sure that would be too depressing. Seriously. Some folks have reported that readers tend to clap less now that the earnings model has changed. If they do that, it’s a damn shame, since Medium has indicated that higher claps will help those stories receive greater distribution.

I’m used to having streaks of stories with at least 200 or 300 fans. I’ve got at many stories with more than 500 fans. It used to be rare for me to have a story without a thousand claps.

Maybe things are changing.

I think that more writers on Medium will have to get used to going without certain pats on the back. You just can’t worry about looking foolish on Medium.

I’ve heard some folks insult other writers here by making snide comments regarding the fans and claps they receive. They claim that a particular writer is going downhill if most of their stories don’t reach a certain number of claps.

This sort of assessment is pretty much bogus. It fails to take into account the realities of Medium, like the fact that it is always changing. Or the fact that success is not a straight line.

I am marketing (a little bit) more.

Many other writers have noted the same thing: success on Medium now requires most of us to direct some of our own traffic.

Personally, I have nearly 20,000 followers on Medium, yet it’s a pretty remarkable day to get half as many views. An average day for me this fall is 8,000 views and 4,000 reads. You might think that my following means I’ve got thousands of eyes on each of my freshly curated posts, but that’s not the case.

And that’s okay. Blogging has always been a numbers game, at least to some extent. Your success depends greatly upon whether or not you keep showing up.

But you’ve also got to let people know about your work. Send out publication letters. Use that email list. Share your work on social media.

I’m taking time to experiment on Medium, and am mostly ignoring my stats.

There’s still nothing for me to monitor to see how I’m doing, beyond the daily earnings updates. In the past, I made daily fans goals, but this new earnings model isn’t so straightforward.

I was battling a great deal of anxiety about driving that coincided with the Medium change, so I decided to ignore my stats as I adjust to these changes in my life.

Instead, I’ve been experimenting with my stories and looking at it a bit like starting over. None of us really knows exactly what to make of the new system. We’re all just learning as we go.

It’s important to be realistic about the Medium changes.

Two weeks, guys. It’s only been two weeks under the new earnings model. According to Medium, some earnings will take weeks to even hit your account.

And with every Medium change, the reader and writer habits change too. Algorithms shift. Whatever was working for you three months ago, might not be doing anything for you right now.

Success on Medium has always required adaptability. Your adaptability is now more important than ever, with such a significant change to the system.

It helps to think of it as a challenge. Challenge yourself to write new stories. Pitch to the bigger publications. Challenge yourself to make this work.

And remember that it’s going to take time to see the whole picture. So, take your time and keep on writing.


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