Can you make money on Medium?

by Jesse Lucas

Illustration by Jesse Lucas

Lately I’ve been asking myself how can I make my art and comics more sustainable? I know it’s not cool to think about money, but I think everyone would love to make a living from their passion. Is that possible using Medium, a platform you don't control?

It seems to be the consensus that you can’t use Medium if you want to make money from your content. I don’t think this has to be the case. Here’s a short list of common solutions, slightly altered, that might allow you to monetize your content.

Create valuable content

This is probably obvious, but make sure you love what you are creating and what you’re creating is valuable content. People can always sense when you are just trying to suck money from them. This idea is about being sustainable while doing and providing something you are passionate about. For me that is art and comics.

Link Tracking and Product Placement

Much like traditional banner ads you could place linked images or text links to companies in your content. Theoretically, I could contact a comics publisher such as Drawn and Quarterly, share my analytics with them and agree on a pricing structure. Then, the next time I write an article about comics, I would create a link in a prominent area. You’d need to use a service like: to keep track of your links to know how much to charge.

Targeted Articles

Let’s take Product Placement and go a step further and write a whole article about it. Maybe a publisher has a new book, like the much anticapted release of The Complete Eightball 1–18 by Daniel Clowes. You could write a history of Eightball explaining how influential this series has been. Also, adding links to his other works published by them, such as Caricature and Ghost World. Doing this, you are subtly promoting the publisher’s products while maintaining quality content.

Viewer Supported

If it works for Public Broadcasting and NPR, can it work for you? Viewer support is my favorite idea for making money on Medium thus far and one that would work great for comics and writing. Patreon is by far the best platform for acheiving this. It has more than proven it’s value by sending over $10 million to creators in 2014.

Raising awareness and directing people to support you is going to be a challenge. Make sure you link your name and reference your Patreon in everything you post without sounding too needy. This goes back to the idea of putting valuable content ahead of making money.

Create Products

The last idea is to link to products you’ve created. For example, I’m hoping to archive the best comics, inteviews and articles from Darling Sleeper on a regular interval. This opens up the possibility of selling physical and digital versions with services like Gumroad or Pulley. If you wanted to take it to the next level you could create a Kickstarter campaign to raise more funds.

For me, I’m still building my audience and focusing on quality content. Hopefully applying some of the above solutions in creative ways to become sustainable in the future, ideally turning this passion into more than just a hobby.