A Comprehensive Guide for True Medium Beginners, Part One— Basic Terminology

How I got from $1.74 to over $100 in 4 months

ZUVA
ZUVA
Sep 26 · 8 min read
Image from source

On medium, we see article after article of people making $50/$100 even more in their first month. Which is awesome but it isn’t the norm.

I was inspired to write this guide after reading, “$0.23 was my First Medium Income” by Eraes Ellis.

In their piece, they outlined how they don’t see many posts dedicated to the true beginners. They say;

I mean real beginners.

People like me who have no earthly idea what they’re doing — people who are just starting to find their voice, or finish their first novel, or make their first $0.23.

It’s hard. I know it is. This platform is built on the backs of successful writers — professionalism is the whole formula for curation, everybody is talking about how to do it the right way, and it would be nice if we could all taste that sweet success of having Medium for a full-time job.

Much like Eraes, I am also a true beginner. The first month I was on medium I made $1.74.

Eraes inspired me to write for the people like me and them.

When I saw the $1.74 I was disappointed and deflated. Yet I was motivated to learn. Four months in and only now have I finally crossed the $100 threshold. It has been a slow burn.

But I wanted to write a guide to help people realise that it is totally normal to earn pennies in the first few months. I remind you that only 8% of Medium users earn over $100 a month. It may not happen in a month but with hard work, consistency and dedication it can happen for you.


This is part one of the guide.

I noticed a lot of people asking things like “What is the paywall?” So this article contains all the terminology you need.

Part two is more extensive. It contains over 16 articles by 12 different authors on everything you need to know about Medium like; curation, formatting, suggestions of FB groups to join, editing tips and so much more!

If you’d like to skip to part two then all you have to do is sign up to my mail list to get your free copy!

Important note for part two!

Because I have published this piece as unlisted, I won’t be able to see any comments you send (unless you send me the link for them). So for feedback or questions/suggestions please email me hello@zuvaseven.com!

Ok! Let’s get started!


Medium membership types

So on Medium, there are two membership types, free and paid.

You do not need to be a paying member to write on Medium nor do you need it to become part of the Partner Program — but more on that later. Free membership lets you read a maximum of 2/3 articles per month though.

To become a paid member you pay $5/month or $50/a year. The paid membership gives you;

Figure 1: SC by author

Personally, I used the last of my money to pay for the yearly membership. I saw it as an investment and I have already paid it off.

Medium Partner Program

As I said earlier, this option is open to both paying and free members — there is a lot of debate on whether it is fair for non-paying members to sign up — my opinion, you do you.

I don’t know your situation nor is it any of my business. If Medium thinks it’s fine, then it’s fine.

At this moment, only stories are able to make you money on medium.

The partner program is how you earn money. To join, Medium says you have to,“link your Medium account with your bank account or debit card via Stripe.”

For more information read below;

Stripe

To join the Medium Partner Program, you will need to link your Medium account with your bank account or debit card via Stripe.

However, unfortunately, not all countries as of yet are eligible for this.

To check your eligibility visit:

How to make your stories eligible to earn you money

If you read something, please read this section carefully. Signing up for the partner program is not enough!! You have to make sure your stories go behind the paywall. To do this, you need to ensure you have selected the option. There are two ways to do this.

Figure 2: SC by author

Or after publishing…

Figure 2: SC by author
Figure 2: SC by author

Make sure the box is ticked. If it isn’t then your story will not be behind the paywall, therefore you can’t earn money.I would also advise that you look at your story. There should be a box over the title that lets you know if it is behind the paywall.

Figure 3: SC by author
Figure 4: SC by author

As you can see, figure 3 is behind the paywall and figure 4 isn’t.

For more info read;

Who can see your stories when they’re behind the paywall?

Medium says;

The vast majority of people will be able to read your story for free even if it is part of the metered paywall. Any Medium reader who is either a member or has not yet read their allotment of free stories for the month will access your story completely free (and without ads). Over 90 million people read Medium per month, and the overwhelming majority never reach their monthly limit.

However, many people have debated this statement, believing that free allotment isn’t enough. Choosing instead to upgrade to the paying membership. The choice is yours. For me, I bought the yearly membership as I read 10+ articles a day!

If you want to share your work with friends so they won’t be limited. You can share a friend link. To get this you need to publish your piece first. Then you press the gearbox and click friend link.

Figure 5: SC by author

Unlisted and Listed stories

Listed pieces are simply your published pieces. These are public and can be seen by many people.

Unlisted pieces are different.

These are published pieces that can only be seen by sharing the article link. They also can’t be viewed from your profile page or in the Medium network.

Part two of my guide is an example of this.

How to unlist your piece

Figure 6: SC by author

For more information;

Tags

You can add tags to your pieces. If you refer back to figure 2 you will see I chose; womanhood, LGBTQ, feminism, life and self.

Adding the relevant tags to your work makes easier to find. Medium allows you to search for stories just by using tags.Therefore I can not stress enough the importance of selecting five every single time. I see a lot of people choosing one or two. Medium is full of writers so you must ensure to do everything you can to get noticed.

How people choose tags varies. Some people choose ones that are the most popular. Others choose three top tags and three smaller ones. Test it out and see what works for you.

Content license

When you publish your work, it is protected by Medium. Some writers still like to leave a copyright note at the bottom of their work but I don’t bother. However, it is important to do what makes you feel safe. Refer to figure 7 and figure 8 below to see how you do this.

Figure 7: SC by author
Figure 8: SC by author

How to get part two of the guide

And that’s it for part one. As I said earlier, to get part two for free all you have to do is sign up to my mail list.

Part two contains over 16 articles by 12 different authors on everything you need to know about Medium like; curation, formatting, suggestions of FB groups to join, editing tips and so much more!

But I hope you enjoyed part one! Let me know below if there is anything I missed out that needs covering.

Important note for part two!

Because I have published this piece as unlisted, I won’t be able to see any comments you send (unless you send me the link for them). So for feedback or questions/suggestions please email me hello@zuvaseven.com!


ZUVA is an award-winning Leeds based spoken word artist, poet and freelance writer. Click here to get your free copy of; A Comprehensive Guide for True Beginners — Things I Wish I Knew Before Publishing My First Piece. It contains over 16 articles by 12 different authors on everything you need to know.

She is the editor of An Injustice! A intersectional millennial publication. Check here for now to join!

The Brave Writer

The next generation of writers breaking barriers together.

ZUVA

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ZUVA

She-Her🌈My free comprehensive guides for Medium (16+ resources to help you cross the $100 mark)→ https://zuvaseven.substack.com

The Brave Writer

The next generation of writers breaking barriers together.

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