Too Many People Are Not Taking Full Advantage of Medium’s Paid Partner Program

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Back in the beginning of September, I was invited to join Medium’s paid partner program. Although I must say, I was honored to have been invited, I didn’t think much of it. It felt exclusive but not profitable. After all, how much could one possibly make from small fractions of paid member’s $5 monthly premium fee? I wrote a story upon acceptance joking I would be delighted if the paid partner program afforded me so much as a free coffee. The program has gone on to prove me wrong several times over and has afforded me far more than coffee.

Although the first members only story I wrote was eventually disqualified for being about Medium, they still let me keep the $9 or so it earned as a locked story. I didn’t let the fact it was removed discourage me, I simply plowed ahead and moved forward in writing my next members only story — appropriately titled The Power of Words. As if to apologize for disqualifying my last locked story, Medium went on to feature this one almost immediately. It performed moderately well and earned me a total of $88, through 33 applauders who awarded it with a total clap count of just over 300. And to think, I made fun of the clap system just the month before.

Maybe $88 isn’t much to you but I’ll put it in perspective, for myself at least. I have worked eight hour days on roofs in the blistering sun for people I didn’t respect for a few bucks less than that, after taxes. I’ve done work I hated outside on some of the coldest days of the year, days you had to pretend you had to go to the bathroom just to warm up for five minutes, for the same amount of money I earned writing from the comfort of my home in pajamas. I’ve probably lost friends over less than the $88 I earned through my first member’s only story. I finally began to respect the paid program and to take it seriously. On a short first month, not posting locked stories daily and still just at whim I earned a total of $162.08.

I decided to commit to writing both a locked story and one open to all readers on a daily basis. Through this process, I was able to get a good look at both the pro’s and con’s of doing so. Although it was obvious member’s only stories weren’t getting as much traction and traffic as unlocked ones, I just kept on trucking. One of the things I’ve learned through writing on Medium daily is you cannot afford to get caught up in which stories perform well and which don’t. In fairness to the program, plenty of unlocked stories I thought would really be hits, some of my favorites, performed exponentially more poorly than those I wrote on a whim. Of course locked stories get less traffic, being as they are not eligible to submit to publications. The cost of being paid for our articles is them probably being seen by less people. A sacrifice I’ve decided I’m willing to make due to the fact I am dedicated to writing both locked and unlocked stories and non paying members of Medium still have a ton of content from me to sift through without paying a dime.

I was a paying member of Medium before I was invited into the partner program because I believe in it’s mission and love supporting my fellow writers. Those who are truly dedicated to getting a meaningful message out there and telling their stories. Now, I lock certain stories because I believe in my mission of becoming a full time, fully self supporting writer. I owe it to myself. Especially with the paid partner program now being open to anyone, Medium has provided us with a truly amazing opportunity to not only pursue our passion but to be paid for it as well.

I see too many extremely talented writers not taking full advantage of this, out of fear their stories will be seen by less people. Listen, I get it. It feels like you’re selling out at first or that it’s a wasted effort when you lock a story and it makes less than $5. My advice is if it does make less than that it’s first week, unlock it and submit it to a publication. Or delete it altogether and republish it as an unlocked story. In the end, we’re only selling ourselves short by not trying. The reality is, there is just no telling which stories of ours will do well and which won’t. Although it makes me immensely happy when they do, whether locked or unlocked, I’ve given up caring about if they don’t. I simply move forward and write another. I’ve recently accepted a part time job making just over minimum wage and my honest goal is to make more from writing than I do from said job each week. I made 25% more my second month through the paid partner program bringing my total earnings for the month to $217.75 and I truly do believe the sky is the limit.



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Brian Brewington

Writing About the Human Condition, via My Thoughts, Observations, Experiences, and Opinions — Founder of Journal of Journeys and BRB INC ©