We get it — you are special. You shouldn’t have to take the same path as the thousands of other writers on Medium. After all, didn’t you write a book or something? We should be happy that someone of your stature rubs elbows with the peons, right?
The guys over at Medium told you that because you are extraordinary, they will publish any 3-minute piece of crap that you spent five minutes writing, and they will slap it on the Medium home page where the rest of the writers, who pay $5 a month and bust our asses, aspire to be.
Okay, maybe the deal you have with Medium doesn’t allow you to make money — you just get thousands and thousands of eyeballs on your work for being little old you.
Before we realized what that little green halo around your profile picture meant, we read some of your work, thinking you were just one of us little people. Some of it was quite good because you were relatable and real. We would enjoy reading the rest of your work.
But we won’t. We won’t because we want the small percentage of our $5 a month to go to writers who are active members. We want our energy and effort put towards reading and clapping for writers we know started at the bottom, and who, like everyone else, read and clap in return for their fellow writers.
If you aren’t a member, you only get three free stories unless you find a friend link, so we all know you aren’t reading our work, highlighting, and commenting. Some of you cannot even bother to answer the comments we leave on your work.
Tell us again why we should support you on Medium?
I’m not a ranter. I detest being negative for no good reason. But this is a good reason. I try to ignore the unfairness of the whole top and most of the feed taken by the Medium publications. I don’t complain because I and some of my best writer friends get published in these publications sometimes, and I like to offer support whenever I can.
But, writers who are not active Medium members take half of the spots in the publications. They don’t pay a membership, they don’t read other people’s work, and they don’t engage with the average struggling writer at all.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the people who can’t yet afford a monthly membership, or are in a country where Stripe is not supported. I’m not talking about the thousands of friends and family who create accounts to support their favorite writers.
I am talking about the non-members who get those coveted featured spots at the top of the page for nothing more than being more well-known than the rest of us. Don’t tell us your work is better than ours, we read it.
I went through the Medium publications this morning to get an idea of the kind of topics that were getting featured. What I saw in some cases was page after page of vanilla boilerplate. The same headlines, twisted to sound different. Of course, there were jewels as well, but these pieces were by the writers I know well, and they take pride in engaging with others and being an active part of the platform.
So what do we want? Fairness. If you are going to write something spectacular, and it should be a feature — good for you! If you are going to pay your membership and spend time interacting with the other writers on Medium and show appreciation for their work — more power to you! If you are going to reply to the reader’s comments and do the work to create true fans — we love it, and we love you.
If you are fair, we will read your work. And if we like you, we will read your books and features on other websites. Isn’t that the whole reason you are on Medium anyway?
But, if you continue to perch at the top of the home page in the features, sitting on your high horse and publishing garbage, we will ignore you. We will also let others know about you.
We are not petty — we just believe in being fair.
Now, read this:
This story was not curated. If you write and publish on Medium, you know what that means — a quick death. If not, it just means that it won’t be promoted to other readers on Medium.
But it doesn’t always have to be like this, and this is where I add value to your life. It works like this:
We all write free content for Medium. They don’t pay for it. The money we pay to be members is more than enough to pay the writers who are making money. In return for us writing millions of words of free content and paying the writers who engage with the readers (us again), Medium forbids us from adding any more than a simple text link to the bottom of posts to promote ourselves.
If you do everything right, you get curated.
I have no problem with that. I’ve been with Medium for over a year-and-a-half, and I absolutely fricking love that they gave me a platform to earn and share my writing. I tell everyone I know to join Medium and start writing.
But, if I don’t get curated, my stories die. I don’t earn. The only traffic I get comes in is from Google, and if the people they are sending are not Medium subscribers, I don’t get paid.
But Medium benefits greatly. Every time we bring eyeballs onto the platform, Medium gains authority and in turn, members. They also get income from writers paying them for exposure by featuring them in publications and other places on Medium, even if they aren’t members. It’s a great business model.
I thank Medium for giving me the platform, and I respect them, especially when they curate me and my stories live on.
So Medium, I love you, and if you curate me, I will follow the rules and only put a small text link to my newsletter at the bottom.
But, if I am not curated, I am going to use my work to promote myself and my brand.
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