How Much Money Can You Expect to Make on Medium?

Your attitude plays a big role

Sumit Garg
Apr 4 · 4 min read
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Photo by Levi Clancy on Unsplash

Would you prefer to make less money with your writing, provided other writers made even less? As ridiculous as it sounds, according to science, you would. This question has been the subject of thousands of experiments in behavioral economics. Psychologists have shown that most people would prefer to make $50,000 when others around them are making $40,000, rather than make $60,000 when others are making $70,000.

What That Means for Medium Earnings

Each month, Medium sends a writers’ newsletter providing us with some useful numbers from the prior month’s earnings. In February, it said 8.3% of active writers earned over $100, the most earned by a writer was $17,914.66, and $7,732.85 was the most earned for a single story.

I used the same data for the last six months to calculate an average. And the results turned out to be pretty consistent. On average, 8.3% of active writers earned over $100, the most earned by a writer was $23,464, and $6,491 was the most earned for a single story.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but all this time, you’ve been trying to cross the $100 mark each month to become part of that coveted 8% — or to earn more money than the other 92%.

And it’s almost fair. Starting up, it’s a big deal to make it to the top 8% at something. And, in fact, to make money at all with your writing.

But it’s time for you to get over it.

Stop Selling Yourself Short

Think about it, the hell is a hundred dollars? Especially, when compared to the amount of work it takes to get there (provided that you do).

But have you ever considered the other part of the same newsletter? The writers that make thousands of dollars each month, and with a single story.

Have you ever considered the possibility of striking gold?

With your current intentions, it’s unlikely that even in a year, you’ll make anything close to some guy’s earnings with a single story in a single month. It’s more likely that you’ll give up on writing first.

Ever since I started writing on Medium, I’ve read at least a couple of books’ worth of content about writing on Medium. And you have to trust me when I say this: there’s nothing special about the writers that are at the top of their game. And they have been saying it out loud themselves.

In short, (please) aim higher.

How to Set Better Goals

Do you know what’s better than a thousand-odd dollars a year? A thousand-odd dollars each month. And a thousand-odd dollars with just one article.

You can do it as well.

It’s easier to make $1,000 from one article than to keep up with 100 articles for $10 each.

It’s possible for an article that’s worth $1,000 to end up making $200. But you can never sell a $10 article for a penny more, so just stop writing for the ten-odd dollars and concentrate on writing better.

Write your $1,000 article.

How to Achieve Your Goals

What do you do with all the extra time on your hands once you stop publishing average articles and stop trading them for loose change?

There are just two things:

The first part involves editing your work. And it could mean re-writing your entire piece (those extra bucks are not going to appear themselves).

Pick up a couple of books on editing and implement everything you learn. Start with “The Elements of Style,” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

Once editing is done, the article is ready to ship.

For marketing on Medium, if your best strategy involves luck (or worse, “like for like”) then it’s time to get a reality check. Stop self-publishing your articles to an audience that doesn’t exist (or stop freaking out when they don’t get noticed).

Calm down, and find your article a home.

And this is the part where most writers either lose their shit or simply don’t have more time and energy to devote to the process.

But what’s a good story if no one gets to read it?

In a previous article, I’ve explained how I was able to cross 100,000 views on my content in less than 3 months. You should read it.

Get out of your way and pitch your article to as many publications as it takes before it finally gets accepted. Remember that when a publication doesn’t accept your article, it only means it’s either not a good fit for them or you need to make a few changes and send it to another publication.

But no matter what, you keep trying.

The Takeaway

I hope you don’t expect me to summarize a four-minute read. Nonetheless, I’ve something other than a takeaway — more like a practice session.

If you don’t believe a word I’ve said above, prove me wrong.

But first, try this:

  1. Re-write your top three stories, ones that didn’t find any home. (If you can’t decide, ask yourself if these are $10 stories or $1,000 stories.)
  2. Find them a home. And don’t stop until you do. You can try Better Marketing, The Startup, P.S. I Love You, and more. Or, for what it’s worth, take a chance and submit your work to the Medium-owned publications.
  3. Share your results in the comments below.

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Sumit Garg

Written by

Indian writer with words in OneZero, Debugger, The Quint, and more.

Better Marketing

Marketing advice and case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and effectively.

Sumit Garg

Written by

Indian writer with words in OneZero, Debugger, The Quint, and more.

Better Marketing

Marketing advice and case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and effectively.

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