The Partnered Pen
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The Partnered Pen

MPP Please Be Kind to Me

4 Observations About the New MPP

A week in and some earning patterns are forming.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

It’s been a busy and eventful week here on Medium as we near the end of our first full week under the new earning system. While a week is not enough time to make any final conclusions about how our revenue will be affected by these changes, trends are certainly being observed.

Based on the conversations taking place on the Facebook writers groups, it has been a week of ups and downs for many of us. Some writers say their earnings are virtually on par with October’s, some have seen a boost, while others have experienced a noticeable decrease. The most noticeable downturn in revenue seems to be with poetry. So far, Medium’s poets seem to be taking the negative brunt of the changes. I intend to write more about this in the near future.

While my earnings during the final days of October were largely the same as the rest of that month, my totals for November, so far, are moving in a downward direction.

In a previous story, I theorized why Medium has moved forward with a new earnings system.

While I standby my assertion that much of Medium’s motivation is to improve story quality and expand their membership base, I also believe that their motives, at least in part, are derived from financial pragmatism.

For example, in the claps based system, a story with 50 views could generate 2.5K claps if all viewers gave the maximum 50 claps. This likely meant a larger payout when compared to the amount of time those 50 readers spent actually reading the story. This is not meant as a criticism of Medium’s decision, just an honest observation.

It is going to take some time to determine the full effects — both negative and positive — that these changes will have for all writers.

During the last week, however, I’ve noticed three interesting trends I wanted to share with all of you.

My back catalogue = $$$

Within the first three days of studying my daily earning, one pattern quickly became obvious, the majority of my income came from older stories and not my recently posted ones.

Yes, my new stories did earn the most amount of money on an individual basis, but I discovered something else that is very interesting.

From October 28 to October 31, 54% of my revenue came from my back catalogue — stories that were published before October 1, 2019.

The money from older stories wasn’t limited to curated ones — though they did bring in more — all my past stories brought in money even if just a few stray pennies.

This is probably due to the fact that under the old claps system, new stories generated claps at a more rapid pace, peaked, and then sat on the back shelf collecting dust with just a few random claps every now and then. Under the new system, our ‘oldies’ have become golden and are potential moneymakers.

Short attention spans

In our world of constant distractions, it is not surprising that people don’t stick around long. Looking at the Average Reading Time figures provided by Medium on the new stats system,

viewers appear to spend an average of 1 minute and 30 seconds viewing my articles.

Based on conversations I’ve had with other writers, this seems to be about average.

This means, if your story is listed as a 4-minute read, readers are giving you roughly 38% of a full read. Sadly, this appears to have taken a toll on many writers’ earnings — including mine. My friend and fellow writer Edie Tuck and I have discussed at length how we can keep readers hooked longer, and so far the only solution we could come up with was embedding porn into the story — we’re guessing that would be a policy violation.

Now, here is the interesting thing, this 1 minute and 30-second average seems to be standard regardless of the story length.

Reviewing my recent publications, my 3-minute articles are making the most money.

While I’m going to study this further over the coming weeks, this may counter the argument that we should start writing longer pieces.

Alas, sweet poetry

As I previously mentioned, poets across Medium are reporting drops in their earnings. My poems appear to be no exception. While I have zero intention of stopping to write poems, their days as being sustainable revenue earners may be vanishing.

Interestingly, when I look at my stats,

readers actually spend longer on my poems than my longer articles, however, my poetry garners far fewer views.

This is likely why there is such a discrepancy between my regular articles and my poems.

There are some potential solutions: Writing longer poems, posting multiple poems in a single story, or creating a Medium chapbook. I refuse to believe that poetry is dead on Medium, but I do think a major shift could be required to generate more revenue.

That being said, if you love poetry, start reading!!! I feel it’s important to read other writers in the same way you hope they read yours; fully from beginning to end.

Silencing claps

Hands down the largest changes I’ve seen this week is a decrease in claps. During the month of October, I was averaging between 75 and 100 fans a day. From October 28 to November 2, my claps have plummeted to about 20 fans a day.

My view on this is that since the change to reads as the source of profit, people have stopped clapping.

While claps no longer earns money, Medium has stated that the number of claps a story receives determines its level of promotion.

The more claps a story is given, the more chance it has to be featured on readers’ homepages.

You’re allowed to give a maximum of 50 claps for every story you read. In the past, there were numerous theories as to how many claps you should give in order to maximize a writer’s revenue. Now that all of that is out the window, I’m just giving the full 50 to every story I read.

Personally, I think claps are just good etiquette, like having a breath mint before a heavy make-out session.

A single week is too short to get a larger and more accurate picture of how the new system is going to affect all of us. Yet, I believe we are starting to see some patterns.

Overall, my revenue is just slightly down from last month, but not enough to sound the alarm. The new earning system means reviewing what we do and adopting new practices when they prove effective. Most of all, we must support each other — we’re all in this together!

Daryl Bruce is a freelance writer, blogger, and writer of flash fiction. Writing across an expansive range of topics, he specializes in personal development, the craft of writing, LGBTQ+ issues, and politics. He is the owner of the Top 3 Publication on Medium. When he’s not writing, Daryl can be found in the kitchen or at the local movie theater. Daryl holds a BA with Specialized Honours in English from York University and is currently working on his first novel.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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MPP friends writing about life, love, and everything else in between together.

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Daryl Bruce

Daryl Bruce

A freelance writer specializing in such topics as writing, productivity, self, politics, and LGBTQ+ issues. Visit him at: https://www.facebook.com/daryldbink/

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