Another highlight on the necessity of adaptability
|Shaunta + Shannon||Nov 29|| 4|
By Shannon Ashley
It looks like a handful of writers received an email from Medium last night letting us know that they have clarified their rules surrounding duplicate stories. Here's the most noteworthy part of that update:
The new revelations here are that writers can no longer delete or unlist a post, so in essence, there is no more republication on Medium.
Once you publish a story on the platform, you may edit it, but you cannot take it down to try again. Likewise, you can no longer take a very old post down from when you had 10 followers to republish it for your now 10K followers.
It’s a gamechanger, and I cannot say I am entirely surprised. Ultimately, this move highlights what Shaunta Grimes and I have been saying for quite some time: to succeed on Medium, you’ve got to be adaptable.
If You Want to Make It on Medium You Need to Adapt
The game always changes, so it’ll be hard to keep playing if you don’t
One Thing That Unites All Writers on Medium Is This Reality That Everyone Has Got to Roll With the Punches
That’s regardless of your follower count or earnings. There’s nobody on Medium who “has it made,” not really. When changes happen, everyone here has to figure out what those changes will mean for them.
For the most part, we can only find out by going through the process. Often, that means a lot of trial and error.
Why Is Medium Making All of These Changes?
There’s no question that Medium has been making many changes to its partner program as we head into 2020. There’s been a lot of conjecture as to why they’re making so many changes that feel like they’re tightening things up.
On the one hand, such changes feel a little bit like Medium is making it harder for the indie writer to flourish on the platform. At the same time, I can see the argument that such changes help make everything more… fair.
“Fairness” is a tough concept. It’s difficult for any of us to really agree on which rules are fair. Surely, those with 50K or 150K followers and existing book deals feel such changes differently than those of us who are strictly indie writers trying to carve out a career here.
Again, I see both sides.
I can’t begin to suggest that I know why Medium is making such sweeping changes lately, but I can say that all of these changes do place an emphasis on quality writing, whether we like the restrictions or not.
It’s All About the Writing
If you choose to publish your writing on Medium, you are subject to its everchanging rules. It’s really no different from using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or any other platform to help create content and grow your business.
Every platform has its own set of rules and these days, I think it's possible to see the changes Medium is making in a very well-intended light.
From where I stand, it looks to me as if Medium is doing everything it can to promote quality writing above anything else. And with those intentions come changes and plenty of growing pains.
There aren’t a lot of hacks that are going to help a writer succeed on Medium. That’s a big reason why Shaunta and I do workshops rather than Medium courses.
The most effective way for folks to succeed here is to write curatable posts that capture their readers' attention. But writing on Medium isn’t the same as writing a book or even publishing an article elsewhere on the web.
You need to learn how to write quality stories that work specifically on Medium.
But It’s a Lot About the Marketing Too
These days, it’s more important than ever to market your Medium work on other platforms. Medium recently added an embed to share stories on LinkedIn, in addition to the already existing Facebook and Twitter shares.
It further suggests what the shift to reading time has also indicated. It appears that Medium wants its writers to do more legwork for the platform.
In terms of making a living wage from your writing on the platform, it’s no longer enough to just write. You’ve also got to tell folks that it’s out there. You need to drive at least some of your own traffic.
That said, Medium is committed to making the platform an ad-free experience for readers, and it also has banned the use of forms for collecting email addresses. Basic links are still okay.
Personally, I’ve got a fledgling email list of about 1,900 readers. But I’ve built that list without forms like Upscribe. There’s always the chance, though, that Medium will ban the use of links to join a writer’s email list.
If that happened, many writers would need to reconsider their place on the platform.
A Final Word
I am admittedly thrown for a bit of a loop with this most recent Medium change. That’s okay. I’m still happier publishing here even with the restrictions.
It’s true that I might not always feel that way, but I’m inclined to keep writing and making my living here, while I still can. I’ll be interested to see what is possible on Medium in a year from now.
But I strongly suspect that those of us who are willing to roll with the punches will come out just fine.