How to Earn $25 Per Medium Story

August Birch
Sep 3, 2019 · 5 min read

Not only does it matter what you say, but also which categories you choose

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Not every Medium post is treated the same. No, I don’t think there’s some wizard behind the curtain, trying to hold you down. The reason not all stories are created equal, is because readers respond to different types of stories in different ways.

  • Some stories make us want to cheer (and clap).
  • Some stories make us feel bad and click-away.
  • Some stories make us want to share them with friends.
  • Some stories makes us feel gross inside.

While not everyone who writes for Medium uses the platform to earn money, I’ll be willing to bet that every writer thinks about the income side of the business, occasionally.

Whether you write for yourself — as therapy, you write for a niche — to grow a tribe, or you write for the masses — to earn a little extra income; these are the strategies I use to earn an average of $25 per story.

Maybe that number sounds good to you, perhaps it sounds like minimum wage — Medium is a platform of averages. Over time, you’ll grow your daily story number.

I hope to grow mine.


Not all tags are created equal

You’ve seen the stats numbers next to the popular tags. As you enter them in the ‘ready to publish?’ window, there’s a little number in parenthesis. The bigger the number, the more stories there are in the particular category.

…but this doesn’t mean your category will get a big response from readers.

Certain categories will get more claps (on average) than other categories.

The 10 highest clapping categories (number one being the highest) are:

  1. Self-improvement
  2. Programming
  3. Productivity
  4. Life-lessons
  5. Javascript
  6. Tech
  7. Web-development
  8. Life
  9. Personal- development
  10. Software-engineering

Notice, these aren’t in order of how many stories are in a particular niche.

Productivity has 121,000 stories, while programming has 107,000. Programming gets more claps. Writing comes in at number 27 on the list, but it’s got 212,000 stories under its tag.

We get paid by the clap.

Your views don’t matter at all.

We need reads and claps, from Medium partner subscribers. If you send friend links to your Twitter followers, none of those reads will earn you a penny. While the added exposure may earn you some visibility, if you want the attention to count for cash, you need reads and claps.


You must write for your readers

If you want to get paid for your stories, you’ve got to write for your readers, not yourself. There are plenty of writers on Medium who enjoy train-of-thought pieces, but those won’t earn you the claps you need to make $25 a story.

Your readers have unlimited content choices.

There are more stories available than they could ever consume.

If you want readers to read your stories, they’ve got to be written as something helpful for their situation, not yours. If you want to write personal essays for your own reasons, do so. But if you want your Medium stories to earn money, you’ve got to think of your readers.

  • Use a transformation — show how your article will get the reader from where they are now to where they’d like to be (using your information)
  • Be contrarian — deliver a thoughtful opinion about the unpopular side of a popular argument
  • Be current — the news makes the top
  • Ge published in large publications. Big readership doesn’t always mean big claps, but 500,000 readers is a lot more than your sixteen. Publications get curated more often
  • Get curated. You can’t decide to get curated, but you sure can do things to get yourself not curated (like writing about how to earn money on Medium). This story, for example, will never be curated. Curations earn you much more income over time. If people can’t find your story, they can’t read it. Curated pieces get found.

We want to walk away from a story feeling good, not bad

This is something I still struggle with. I’ll get on a rant for some topic that makes me angry. I’ll get to the end of the story and realize how little positivity was included.

We share stories with our social followers to make ourselves look good.

If you want to look good you don’t share stories written in a negative voice, even if the topic is heartbreaking.

Look at the tone you use when crafting your stories. No one wants to feel terrible if they’re using some spare time to read articles in their favorite niche.

  • Write stories that end on an up-tick, even if the topic isn’t so cheery.
  • Write stories that make us laugh or smile, even when the subject is less-than-funny.
  • Write stories that will help make us look good if we share them (make us look smart, funny, cool, or helpful).

I don’t make $25 per month from every story I write. Many earn much more. Some earn a few pennies. This is a game of averages.

I write an average of two stories per day in my current routine. By the end of the month, they all average to ~$25/story. Getting curated is a must. We get curated by writing great subject lines and writing great stories.

If you want to be a Medium writer who makes money, you’ve got to write your face-off. Period. You need to dominate your favorite niches, use tags that get a lot of claps, and write stories we want to share.

However, making money on Medium alone, isn’t why Medium is so great.

The long game is even better. As a writer, you need to start building an email list if you want to build sustainable, monthly income. No one wants to write for dollars.

Semi-passive income is much more powerful. We earn this through a reader’s list.

If you want to build your reader’s list now, you’ll have a pre-built, rabid audience when you launch your next book. This should be a list you own (instead of relying on social media or some other big-business platform). Tap the link below. Enroll in my Tribe 1K indie email masterclass. I’ll show you how to get your first 1,000 subscribers (and your next 1,000) without spending one hot nickel on ads.

We’re waiting for you.


Enroll in my Free Email Masterclass. Get Your First 1,000 Subscribers

August Birch (AKA the Book Mechanic) is both a fiction and non-fiction author from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make work that sells and how to sell more of that work once it’s created. When he’s not writing or thinking about writing, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.

The Book Mechanic

Down-and-dirty growth strategies for commercial writers and creators, with a blue collar work ethic, and a no-nonsense voice.

August Birch

Written by

Writer, Teacher, Email Expert, Entrepreneur | Enroll in My FREE, Tribe 1K Email Masterclass for Creators: bookmechanicmedia.com/your-first-1000-subscribers/

The Book Mechanic

Down-and-dirty growth strategies for commercial writers and creators, with a blue collar work ethic, and a no-nonsense voice.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade