We wrote about publishing on Medium here in April 2016, when it was still finding its legs. Check out that post if you're not familiar with Medium to understand its genesis. Since then it has grown and evolved, now offering monetization that was only in the works back then. In the interest of keeping tabs on developments, we set up a free account and receive a daily list of curated content based on the categories we selected. We watched Medium become a robust network of smart writers and experts on every imaginable subject.
A familiar name that kept popping up was our own Carole P. Roman, who we, of course, began to follow. Knowing her to be the kind of indie author who leaves no stone unturned in building her platform, we asked Carole to share her experiences publishing on Medium to find out if it was something she would recommend.
So, in this latest installment of our Notes from the Field series, here's what she had to say...
Publishing on Medium...an Invitation
A few months ago a representative from Medium contacted my son, author Michael Okon (who writes under pen name, Michael Phillip Cash) and asked if he wanted to contribute to the site. Michael does not blog or write many articles and he suggested they contact me. I never turn down a chance to be published anywhere.
The following day they wrote and asked if I wanted to contribute an article about being an indie author.
I worked something up and sent it to them. The next email informed me they'd be turning the piece into a four-part series for which I would receive a decent chunk of change. Would I be okay with that?
Turns out they paid me more than one of my books earns in five years. The representative then told me I should post more articles on my own. They have rules. No advertising, so you can't blatantly push your books. Previously unpublished work is preferred, but if it has been published elsewhere, you must identify and credit the source.
Claps for Cash
I started writing blog posts about things that were going on in my life. At the top of the page, you can choose to make the article exclusive to Medium members. If they clap for you, you earn money.
I went back to my discussion threads on Goodreads and told all my author friends about this. Most of them were in the process of setting up blogs anyway. I informed them they could post to Medium and link it to their blogs, doubling their exposure.
You must be a member of Medium to participate in the program where you can earn money.* It's a nominal fee to join and soon all my buddies informed me they had made back their membership investment in the first month.
*Update - I was mistaken about this. Medium clarified below:
"This actually isn’t true. You can join the Medium Partner Program without being a paying Medium Member. The Partner Program enables creators to earn money from their Medium posts based on the engagement those posts receive from Medium Members. Medium Membership gives readers access to ALL of the posts on Medium and ALL proceeds from Medium Members go to the creators of the posts they engage with."
Reciprocal Following is Key
I made sure to follow as many people on Medium as I could, and found to my delight, that not only did they read my articles, they followed me back. I have close to a thousand people following my posts, and the comments and support have been rewarding. Not only that, but I enjoy reading other author's articles when I have time between writing and sharing my own.
Medium sends a steady stream of amusing and interesting stories, geared to my interests. It's a diverse and fascinating universe that I am proud to be associated with.
Have I sold more books? Yes, it's picked up a little bit. Do I think the exposure is useful...YES! New eyes are seeing my articles every day. More importantly, I recently went through a personal life-changing experience. Writing about it and publishing on Medium made dealing with it easier. When responses indicated that my posts touched people, it made Medium feel like an intimate way to connect in a way I never expected.
Publishing on Medium is an organized way to find and create a platform and test your chops as an author and even create a fanbase to further your writing career. I recommend you give it a try, but don't expect the cash to roll in right away. You will need to cross-promote via social media, Goodreads, your blog and network to get (and keep) the ball rolling. There are a ton of writers publishing on Medium and you'll notice many cover the same topics. Spend some time getting to know Medium and then give it your best shot. Be original, develop your own voice. Your writing will improve and you'll build an audience in the same way you do (or should be doing) across the board to sell your book(s).
How about you? Are you on Medium? How do you like it? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
Award-winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Her nonfiction series, "If You Were Me and Lived in..." combines her teaching past with her love of customs and culture around the world. She has expanded her nonfiction culture series to include historical times periods. Roman just published her first adult fiction novella, Bulwark, as Brit Lunden. If you’d like more information on Carole P. Roman, connect with her at:
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