I Took a Loss on Medium Last Month

Is it time to start writing elsewhere?

Amy Colleen


Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Some writers say it’s gauche to share what you earn. Some writers say it’s fine as long as you’re honest. And some write clickbait nonsense with headlines like “I MADE 144K IN MY FIRST MONTH WRITING ON HOGWASH.COM! HERE’S HOW!” only to reveal after eighteen paragraphs of poorly spelled dreck that $143,999.95 of those earnings came from a Patreon tip from their uncle Elon.

Not sure if you can tell, but I have a low-ish opinion of the last category.

With this piece, I will firmly ensconce myself in the bad graces of those who occupy the first category. C’est la vie. You can’t please everybody all of the time. In fact, I’m not sure you can please anybody all of the time. But considering my preteen penchant for wearing socks with sandals, and my current insistence on wearing different shades of blue at the same time (what? It’s my favorite color!) I think I’ve been pretty well settled in the gauche department for a while.

In my Medium-writing heyday, I managed to earn about $50 per month in royalties earned through the Partner Program. In the last few months, I was lucky if I made $10. In October, I earned $4.57.

The problem with $4.57 is that it is less than $5, which is the monthly fee Medium charges for membership.

(Hey, at least if the writing thing doesn’t work out, I could go into a mathematics career, since I’m clearly crushing THAT at least.)

Strictly speaking, writers on Medium don’t have to be members in order to earn royalties. But membership on the site enables unlimited reading of other people’s work. Without becoming a member, I’d be limited to three free articles per month. Sure, I could keep writing without reading anyone else’s articles. But I like my weekly email summary of new pieces from authors I follow; I like clicking on whatever strikes my fancy and not worrying about hitting my free article limit; and most of all, I like the fact that the $0.0001 per reading minute from my subscription(or whatever the payment ratio is these days) is going to support a fellow writer.

And when I don’t make my $5 back each month (gathered in bits and fragments from that $0.0001 per reading minute) then I’m forced to reckon…



Amy Colleen

I read a lot of books & sometimes I’m funny. I aspire to be a novelist, practice at humor & human interest writing, and am very fond of the Oxford comma.