Another week of estimated earnings announced… and another week of amazement!
The truth is earnings definitely fluctuate on this site all the time. I’ve gone as high as $288 recently, and one week in the past month I made about $190.
Therefore, I prepared myself for a steep drop this past week. I thought maybe I’d only get to $150 or $160. The estimate for the weekly earnings came out yesterday on October 9, and I held my breath as I scrolled down the page.
My brain was literally telling me it’d be something like $100 or $120, that I should prepare myself for a catastrophic plunge.
What did I make last week? I actually bounced back up a bit to $264, woo hoo!
The truth about Medium is that you really have no idea what stories will land, what readers will like this story and not like that story, how much money you’ll likely make week to week.
It’s amazing because the possibilities are endless. I might think I’m going to make $150, and then, boom, $264 appears at the bottom of an estimate screen. I might work really hard on a Medium story that actually does well and makes me more money than I ever thought possible!
If you love to write, and if you have something to share with the world, this is a great place to be. To be able to write what you want and get paid for doing it? I can’t imagine why any writer wouldn’t want to at least give this site a try!
So how did I get to $264 last week? Is there anything special I did? Here’s what I try to do every day on this site…
1. Write and publish at least three high-quality stories every single day
I always start with a fun piece first thing in the morning, something usually short and creative, like a poem, a book review, a movie review. Sometimes these are from the archive and sometimes they are brand new, it depends.
The second piece is about writing fiction. I’ve started going through Mary Kole’s fantastic craft book Writing Irresistible Kidlit and pulling quotes from its early pages, but sometimes I also just write something from the heart, like this piece I published this morning…
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The third piece is always about writing for Medium. Readers respond to these with great enthusiasm.
As long as you keep reading and clapping for these, I’ll keep writing them!
I’m learning new things about Medium every day, and it’s so much fun to share my findings with you.
2. Try new things, and don’t worry if they fail.
The way to stay fresh and relevant on Medium week after week is to keep trying new things, and not just do the exact same thing day after day. Find new places to submit your latest stories. Try writing pieces outside the box that you’ve never really attempted before.
For example, I’m publishing a new poem almost every day right now, and some of them have been a bit on the controversial side! I usually never write anything about politics, but I did give this one a try last week, and readers seemed to respond to it.
What I love about writing new poems for Medium is that I’m able to take chances, and if it fails, then it fails.
It’s no big deal, really. A poem takes me 10 to 20 minutes to write. If it doesn’t connect with readers, I just move onto the next!
At the moment I’m also doing a Halloween horror movie series for the month of October. I’m a total horror nut, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my reviews of classic horror films.
Halloween Horror Movies #1: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
A look at the 100-year-old silent horror movie classic!
Readers have been responding to some of these pieces with great enthusiasm, which makes my heart happy!
3. Find new high quality pictures for stories.
Over the summer I had just about run out of new pictures to use from the site Pixabay, which I’d been using on Medium since 2018.
So I stumbled over to Unsplash, and lo and behold, this site has thousands of absolutely amazing high-quality public domain pictures. I’ve been using Unsplash mostly ever since.
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I feel like I’ve given my new stories a little bit more life by using Unsplash’s dynamic catalogue of amazing photos.
I mean, it might sound stupid to think a lone picture will make or break an otherwise well-written Medium article, but I do believe the picture you choose is super important!
I had two Medium stories die quick deaths last week, and in both cases the pictures weren’t well-chosen. I don’t think that’s why those two stories necessarily failed, but I’m sure the mediocre pictures had something to do with it.
Pay attention to the photos you use! Take five minutes, even ten, to find the right one. It might seem like a waste of time, but it never is, trust me.
4. Come up with better headlines that entice new readers to check out your latest work.
In my early days of writing for Medium I didn’t focus so much on the headlines. I thought the content itself was most important.
But you see, the thing is that readers won’t read that awesome content in the first place if the headline doesn’t entice them to click on your latest article!
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I often spent two to three minutes, sometimes longer, coming up with the perfect headline for my latest Medium story.
There’s lots of tips I’ve learned throughout the last few months. Numbers do well. So does a call to action, like using the words “should” or “need” and things like that.
Of course take chances sometimes on headlines that aren’t so obvious. Try something unusual and see if your story succeeds!
Titles for poems, for example, can be something that catches a reader off guard and yet still manage to make them click on it. This is especially true when he or she sees it’s a 1-minute or 2-minute read.
Just keep at it and you’ll see what works best for you.
5. Keep looking for new ways to promote the work.
I’ve talked a lot about this on here, but it’s oh so true — a great Medium story isn’t worth much if nobody is able to find it.
In my early months writing for Medium in 2018, I’d so often write an awesome piece… and it would be completely ignored. I’ve give an hour of my day over to a new story, and I’d check the stats three days later, and find that the story had 2 views, maybe 1 read (if I was lucky), and 0 claps.
A few dozen instances like that, and you’re ready to abandon Medium for good, am I right?
But if you promote your work well, if you keep building an e-mail list, if you create your own Medium publication and send out letters to your publication’s followers, if you join and engage in online Medium communities, if you keep trying new ways to promote your work, you’ll eventually be in very good shape!
Get creative with how you promote your work. Try new things and take chances.
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The new way to promote I started doing recently was posting my latest stories about fiction writing to LinkedIn, along with a bit of description before I offered up the link. I’ve noticed a few people clicking over to my stories from LinkedIn, so that’s a strategy that’s definitely working!
Again, do not be shy about promoting your work. Do what needs to be done so that as many readers as possible can find it.
At the end of the day, remember to enjoy the journey, publish often, and write what you love!
Don’t compare yourself with anybody else. You are unique. You have stories and expertise and advice to share with the world that not everyone else can. And we all want to hear from you, not occasionally, but often!
Don’t feel like you have to publish on Medium every single day, but try to publish a few times every week if you can.
The more you produce, the easier it is to see what’s working well and what isn’t, and then the following week write more of what was working well the previous week.
Just keep learning, keep trying new things. Remember that this is a journey, and there will be highs and lows along the way.
It took me an entire year to find some success on this site, and even though I’ve kept up that success to some extent the last five months, I still work just as hard on here every single day. It’s what you simply have to do to get better and better.
As long as you never give up, there’s no telling how much success might soon come your way!
Brian Rowe is an author, teacher, book devotee, and film fanatic. He received his MFA in Creative Writing and MA in English from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his BA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He writes young adult and middle grade suspense novels, and is represented by Kortney Price of the Corvisiero Agency. You can read more of his work at his website, brianrowebooks.com.