We Aren’t Owed Success
There’s been a lot of talk lately about Medium acting unfairly, and at first I suspected this talk would die down over time…
However rather than grow quiet, the talk is only growing. Writers are feeling unjustly treated by the overlords and the algorithms. They feel that they deserve certain treatment.
Things such as placement on the home page, curation, traffic, and any number of things feel earned and deserved by many.
In spite of this, we are neither employees nor contractors of the site. In reality, we were promised none of this when we signed up. When you think about it, we aren’t really ripped off whenever things change on the site.
Medium provides a platform for us to upload the blogs we would otherwise be uploading to Wordpress.
The difference is that Medium has a method with which claps turn into dollars.
This means that rather than blogging for years and eventually converting thousands of people into ad revenue, we can turn dozens of clappers into am amount of cash that arguably equals out.
Short of storing our stories on their servers, Medium has made no concrete promises. We’re held to the same mercies that every writer in the entire world is held to.
We’re at the mercy of the reader, and if we’re not getting the claps we think we deserve; then we’re just not at the level of quality we need to be at yet.
But I use to get more claps!
Honey, I use to have a flat stomach. We all let things sag over time.
While I do believe that changes Medium have made to their infrastructure has had some negative effect, some people are still making their living on this site, and others still aren’t.
It’s easier to blame Medium when things in life get worse. It’s certainly a lot easier than looking within ourselves.
If you’re not where you want to be, it really means that you’re either not finding, or you’re not connecting with the readers.
The good news is that these problems are both fixable.
Finding the readers
The readers are out there! And there are plenty that are bound to love your unique voice and style, but it’s your responsibility to find them.
I believe that every writer should also be a marketer. Your writing is your product! Who better to push this product than you?
There’s an enormous amount of written material separating your reader from you, so you need to be louder than the competition.
Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and hundreds of others are all resources at your disposal. If you don’t know how to use them, literally type into YouTube,
“How to promote my writing on Reddit”
It’s that easy.
Some 20 year old in New York has definitely made a video that will slowly and carefully guide you through the process.
Connecting with the readers
If you’re not connecting with readers, you’re going to have to find out why.
This part can be brutal.
You’re going to have to find people that are extremely honest with you. You’ll need to let them read your 10 most recently stories (it may take bribery) and listen to their real feedback.
I mean really listen.
No tantrums, no passive aggressive crap.
Someone telling you what’s holding you back is doing you a huge favour. They should be treated that way, not with aggression.
Someone with a good eye and an honest nature will tell you why you’re not connecting with them on a deep level.
I often read articles on Medium and don’t clap. Why am I such a heartless monster? I read the article, but I didn’t connect with the content.
Perhaps I didn’t care for their voice, or maybe their layout made my eyes bleed.
I’m dangerously allergic to walls of text, and could never morally clap for them. It’s against my writing religion.
We aren’t contractors
The simple and painful truth is that Medium doesn’t care whether you write every day, or never write again.
They’ve provided us with a platform, same as any other.
The main differences are that we don’t have to do any of the backend, and we get paid for interaction.
We only get that pay because unlike Wordpress, Medium charges a subscription to its readers.
There are reasons why other platforms don’t do this.
The majority of people paying for that subscription are writers and their loyal fans.
Writers are really hard to write for, they’re naturally super picky.
Commas placed in the wrong, parts of a sentence will really grind their gears.
Fans of writers are even worse.
If your voice doesn’t gel with that of the writers they already follow, they’ll forget you before they’ve even finished clicking away from you.
Medium isn’t your personal blog, so people aren’t here just for you.
This means that Medium doesn’t have to tell any of us what they’re up to.
Their whole algorithm exists to maximise profit and minimise expense, just like any other.
This most definitely means that all of our subscription money is pooled, then dished out based on the impact you’re making and the waves you’re creating on the site.
Freaking out because Nana subscribed, only clapped for you; then you only made 80 cents for the month will fix nothing.
Conspiracy!! Where did Nanas money go?!
Nana’s money went into the pot.
You were only given a tiny piece because your writing didn’t make as much of an impact as those who were truly hustling that month.
Even though she didn’t clap for them, her money went their way whether she likes it or not.
Let’s be real though, most of her money went to Medium HQ.
If you don’t like it, Medium won’t mind if you, me, or anyone goes back to their Wordpress account.
There is a solution
The solution isn’t that Medium needs to fire their entire staff and try again.
The solution lies in fixing whatever is going wrong with your writing.
You need to find out why you’re really not growing, without blaming Medium or anyone else.
Is your layout too hard to read?
Has your voice grown stale?
Make the effort to find the problems and actively make changes.
This writing thing is super hard!
We don’t have time to waste blaming all the wrong people.
Forget blame and find solutions. Once your writing improves and starts connecting with audiences, you’ll notice your stats going up.
Even if the algorithm stays the same.