I’ve been pitching this privately to our publishing team and to a lot of individual authors: write articles with a book in mind.
Medium’s incentives are changing. Not instantly. Maybe you still have a year to capitalize on the current content-mill-friendly incentives. But it won’t last forever.
Also, there’s more to life than being a content mill.
The idea of a book as an organizing force is that you write a table of contents and then you write articles for each chapter or section in your table of contents.
In other words, your articles hang together. They combine into something greater, longer lasting, higher quality.
Also, thinking this way begs you to question whether what your writing is good enough. You’ll push through and do more research, more editing, more revisions.
And even more, you’ll start to get feedback from your readers and be able to work that feedback into future articles creating a positive feedback loop for quality.
Quality. You know Medium wants to reward quality. They say that. But more so, they are a subscription business. So it’s obvious — they need to give subscribers a reason to come here rather than scouring the free content everywhere else. That answer is quality.
So if you want to be a permanent fixture on this platform, you need to have a strategy for quality.
Unfortunately, popular is not the same as quality. Viral is not the same as quality. And if you’ve become addicted to hunting out viral hits on this platform — it’s going to be hard to break that addiction.
I can say, if money motivates you, that the money for recognized experts is much greater than for even the best of content mills.
A book is a forcing function for developing that expertise. When I wrote my first book, a short thing on a niche area of computer programming, I wasn’t an expert when I started. But the process of writing sure turned me into one.
Maybe when you’re done writing enough articles to make a book, you self-publish. Maybe you take it as a proof of concept to a book agent to get a mainstream deal. Maybe you decide to turn it into an online class instead. Maybe you do nothing with it. But no matter what, if you think this way your writing will be smarter and so will you.