A 100% transparent look at my first Medium paycheck

They pay more than I expected.

Luke Trayser
Words for Life
Published in
4 min readSep 28, 2017


The cash hit my bank account today. It’s official: Medium pays writers.

Before I break down what I made, here are some relevant links in case this is the first you’ve heard about Medium paying actual money to actual people.

  • Partner Program FAQ. You’ll learn how Medium determines what to pay, how claps influence payment, and more good stuff.
  • Want to get paid for writing on Medium? You can join the wait list here. I was lucky enough to receive an invite from Medium a month or two ago, so that’s when I enrolled.
  • If you get consistent value from this place, if you love writing on the platform and reading great stories and making friends from all over the world, you need to become a member. Straight up. It’s $5 a month. Medium made a gusty call when they gave advertisers the finger and asked humans to pony up for a monthly subscription. If you like Medium, you should support it. Pretty simple.

Anyway, here it is. Paycheck #1.

See that “How your locked stories contributed” part? If and when you become a paid writer, you’ll have a couple options before you publish:

  1. You can lock the story and make it readable for members only. This lowers the traffic you’ll get, but it’s the only way to get paid. You can choose to unlock a story later on, but once you do, you’ll stop getting paid for it.
  2. You can leave the story unlocked so anyone can read it. You will not get paid for it, but your traffic numbers will probably be higher. Also, you can choose to lock a previously unlocked story any time you want.

The four stories in that screenshot were the only ones I chose to lock, so Medium paid me for them. Make sense? Cool. Let’s look at each of the stories.

Locked Story 1:

  • 1K views, 843 reads, 78% read ratio
  • 76 fans
  • 617 claps
  • Payment: $139.73



Luke Trayser
Words for Life

ACD and copy guy at Ivor Andrew. Freelance copywriting mercenary. Not my real hair. Get in touch on Twitter or email ltrayser at gmail.