I rage quit Medium.com last month

Writer Earning Report - Month 4: The Corona Cliff. Why I rage quit Medium.com last month
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash. Effects added by author.

My Medium.com income dropped off a cliff. That happened to a lot of writers in April.

My theory? People were only reading articles about the Corona Virus thing. When they weren’t doing that, they were scrolling mindlessly through Tik Tok or watching everything on Netflix. They weren’t reading our stuff.

April was a tough month to be a writer on Medium.com. How tough? Here’s a comparison for you. One very popular writer makes about 10k per month on Medium. Last month he made $1,000. That’s still a lot of money, don’t get me wrong, but a 90% pay decrease is a bit harsh.

What could Medium have done differently?

I see a couple things they could have done.

  • They could have temporarily increased the royalties paid to authors.
  • They could have limited the avalanche of COVID-related articles. Of course, if they would have done that, wouldn’t have read at all. Did you see that one funny Tik Tok?

Seriously, I had to take Tik Tok off my phone. It’s too much of a time waster. Still, I have some of those songs stuck in my head.

Where were we? Oh yeah, Medium. I think Medium is staffed by greedy bastards.

At least, that’s what I assume. It is an American corporation. It is for-profit.

A month ago, I predicted that my earnings would hit around $100. That didn’t happen.

I am incredibly blessed that I am healthy and my family is healthy. Blessed. Blessed. Blessed.

Putting that aside, I was watching my daily average earnings go down day after day after day. It was humiliating. It was disheartening. It was insanity.

Why am I writing, again?

Let’s look at some good reasons to keep writing now

  • Writing in your personal journal pays exactly zero. Every time
  • This is a way to earn a decent meal for a minimum of work
  • It keeps your mind sharp
  • The people who were already on the fence have shriveled up and died. They are no longer competition
  • You are writing for yourself, not your audience
  • You are getting better, and the eventual payoff will be wonderful
  • You depend on multiple sources of income, not just Medium. In the long run, this will make your career more bullet-proof
  • Medium membership is $5. You always make more than that in a month
  • You are trying to get subscribers on your newsletter. Your Medium profits were a happy accident
  • There was a time that there were no profits from Medium.com. Be grateful

Yeah, those are some good reasons. Those would have been helpful. Half way through last month, I was seeing red.

I’m out.

I threw up my hands.

I cancelled my Medium.com membership.

I was done writing.

Over the next few days, something odd happened. I continued to get fans. I continued to get claps. I continued to get newsletter signups. My earnings were still shit, but everything else was rosey.

If you put the earnings aside, it’s looking pretty good.

Earnings Breakdown

Let’s start with the bad news first. My Medium.com earnings were $28.26. That’s a daily average of $0.92. It feels like starting over again. For those of you playing at home, that’s a loss of -52%

Harsh.

Please refer to my happy list, above.

Breath.

It will all be OK.

My total earnings are also $28.26, because my income is not yet diversified. I’m working on that (Really!).

My goal for next month is to at least stand my ground. I don’t think it will change much until the US lockdown ends.

I also had banner ads on my personal site (mwmccabe.com). They earned exactly zero. I’ll try again when my blog is more popular (In about a year). By then, I may have Google Adsense installed. It will pay based on views, not clicks. The only way for me to make money on a banner ad right now is for someone to see, click, and buy. When’s the last time you clicked on a banner ad?

My next move is to put out a shingle and advertise myself. I am a writer, but I am also an editor. I will write an article about the types of editors and put up a link to my price list. Will it make any money? It will make at least as much as my site does now.

Zero.

I thought my personal site was getting more hits than it was. It appeared that one of my articles when semi-viral and messed up the daily average. I thought I was getting an average of 1,000 hits per day. Turns out one article got 50,000 views. What happened? I updated my review of Onward right when it came out. I added the word “updated” to the article. That must have drawn the Pixar fans for some odd reason.

Remember when people used to go out to the movies?

I gotta move on to something more up-beat. I wanna gouge out my eyes right now. There’s just too many ifs. Do I have any chocolate in the house? Ooo! I do!

Sshooo (mouth stuffed with chocolate chips), where was I?

How about we move to the good news. No more depressing money talk.

What about subscriber numbers?

1 Medium followers. Last month, I was just under 1,000 subscribers (954). Now I’m at 1.3K medium followers. That’s up 36%. I get about 10 per day. My target is 1.5k by next month.

2 Publications. My movie review publication is at 6. Last month it was at 6. No change, but that’s expected if all the theaters are closed. My fiction publication is at 15 subscribers. Last month was 5.

Nice!

Increase of 200%. I’ll hope for 25 next month.

3 Newsletter. My personal site has a newsletter signup through MailChimp. It was 37 subscribers. Now it’s 35. Yeah!

Huh?

Last month I moved to a weekly newsletter send. I was afraid it would scare off people. It looks like it scared exactly 2 people off. I want 1000 true fans. If only 20% open, I am targeting 5000 subscribers before I attempt to monetize my list.

4 Site Visits. My personal site had an average of 427 views. It was high last month because of my “viral article.” This amount seems about right. It’s also a decent increase over February. It’s an increase of 125%. I will target 75% for next month. 747 is my goal. When this hits 1,000, I can try advertising again.

My Alexa site rank is 6,631,501. Last month it was 6,752,572. That’s a pretty significant jump! I went up 121,071 spots.

Noice.

Cautiously Optimistic

I made crap for money, but the numbers looked pretty good overall. We’re still in full lock-down here in the US. I count on more of the same for this month.

Cheerio!


Matt is a writer. He writes. 

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