Why Weebly and Not Medium

Damon Arvid
Jun 29, 2016 · 4 min read
Image for post
Image for post
2011 Arisugawa Park book cover idea (when it briefly had a different title at the suggestion of my then-prospective agent). Fast forward five years — I own it.

Why Weebly (site-based blog) and not Medium (longform content platform) for EnduranceWriter?

Simple answer: with Weebly, though I pay, I own it.

People come to the site less by accident than through noticing it and bookmarking it as among their interesting blog sites. Friends may still recommend interesting things to friends.

Cloud novel aspirations aside, blogging is not dead — it has simply gravitated to platforms such as Medium for many (particularly among the mobile device connected). While browsing sites can be done on a phone, browsing apps is more efficient with a single thumb.

What doomsday-sayers do not realize is that the number of people who still use desktops and laptops is not in freefall. It has reached statis. Blogs are still the only way to have a distinct, well-hedged, presence online. And the quality of readers sitting down at a desk, cushioned on futon, rather than being jostled in a train? I can only guess.

What I write is under the radar, at a comfortable cruising altitude. To poke my head any higher, I would need to have enough remuneration in sight to finance a fabric platform. (Finding a publishing house for a novel is the traditional route and I did have a respected agent for that. But talking to KC was like speaking to someone on a very high mountaintop, who had little time to read my stuff or understand my intentions in writing).

Another thing about Medium that irks me is that they are essentially doing an Uber with content. They are saying “give us your content at no cost (retaining full rights, at least) and figure out ways to monetize it on our nice-looking platform.”

As if writing was not one of the most demanding forms of work out there. To postpone compensation to the next lifetime (when app monetization pathways for the original content producers are discovered) is a nice sleight of hand. I’ll take semi-conversant readers and sales among a gradually built up audience, over social media “influence” any day.

Adding insult to freemium-era injury, Medium does not seem to have any curators on staff who actually monitor “published” prose and decide what gets boosted. You have to turn your literary career into a social game and connect with Medium influencers (publication owners) to move forward. Guess what? They don’t pay either. And oh yeah, a good percentage are in-house content editors, trying to make the platform catch fire.

​In the wrong way.

I’ve read quite a few Medium articles and (as my seven year old self could have told me) they are not all that. I think that if Medium is serious about quality, prose-centered content, they should invest in the human equation — monitoring of the prose actually published on their platforms. Boosting worthy original content.***

When my original articles consistently got few-to-no views over a period of months, I emailed the Medium team and noticed there was no content/submission department at all. What they did provide was a standard customer service reply. They didn’t look at my writing, simply pointed me toward “how to” hyperlinks.

And they want above average writers to contribute? I’m too busy writing original prose to accept a second career as self-marketer. Hummm.

The other aspect of blogging at Weebly that I (hypothetically) like is that when readers reach a comfortable number, say 10,000* I can talk with the Weebly team about setting up an e-book shopping cart and sales mechanism that will bypass Amazon. For a set service fee, 100 percent of the sales profits captured will go to toward what I find important.

Self-funding the sustainability platform fabric through a novel, Arisugawa Park? Incredible conceit. I am now sourcing Maynila printers who can do old-style thin coconut-paper books. I’ll leave first editions of the novel at cool places, as I travel the Pacific Rim.

#endwriter

*Full disclosure: I am getting 3,300 page views per week and 550 unique visitors (four-week running average) on EnduranceWriter, without writing anything particularly newsworthy, on anyone’s feed.

** Full-full disclosure. I have a small bet going that this article will also escape the notice of whoever is running Medium (hint: Twitter billionaires) and achieve 0–10 total views.

***Another gripe — quite a number of Medium “officially recommended” is rehashed material from 20 years ago. Read the fine print and find out that a seemingly current, highly promoted article was first published in 1996.

EndWriter

Anything worth sharing from the EnduranceWriter archives.

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