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A Wishlist For Medium’s Future After the Last Bonus in July

Self-publishing, an updated Partner Program, pay, and comments

What I love about writing on Medium? Honestly, getting paid from day one is pretty high up there. Nowhere else — as far as I know — can you make money with writing this easily and quickly. A simple application to the Medium Partner Program, your first story, and boom… you’re good to go.

Even better? The bonus payments Medium has given out the last three months. These generous payments of up to 500$ have made many writers — including me — incredibly grateful to be sharing their stories on this platform. Bear in mind that the 500$ bonus in many cases exceeds the monthly earnings of the writers that got it. Again, I included.

But — as you and I know — all good things come to an end. Medium has already stated that July will be the last wave of bonus payments. At least for now. Medium, however, has also hinted at other opportunities for writers to be supported. While we still do not know what this means, I have compiled a small wishlist of things I could see as beneficial for this platform.

#1 Really supporting indie writers

Medium has repeatedly said that they want to support indie writers more and more here. A great idea. But how?

Really focussing on self-publishing instead of publishing in publications. This is what I see in the future. For a couple of reasons.

  1. Time: Waiting for a publication to publish your submitted draft sucks. No offence to the editors of publications. It’s a lot of work. It takes time. I know. It still isn’t ideal for us writers. We oftentimes want our stories to be published on certain days or even at certain times of the day. Which is basically impossible to plan with (big) publications.
  2. Read more: Another thing is the read more situation. If you self-publish, it’s great. At the end of your own story, the reader will see more of your stories. This will often lead them to take a look at another one and, in turn, increase your views. In a publication, on the other hand, below your post usually appear stories from the same publication but by other authors. This has its upsides as well, no doubt. Nonetheless, it’s not great for one writer’s view count.

See what I mean? I think Medium is already pushing in the direction of more self-publishing. Or they’re trying to. At the moment, though, it is still more rewarding to publish with a good publication. I believe this might change.

#2 Changing the Medium Partner Program

This is going to be an unpopular opinion, I’m sure. But I think Medium has to overthink their Partner Program. It is great that every writer can write stories and earn money without paying for a Medium membership. On the one hand. On the other hand, this invites a lot of spam accounts which Medium is cleaning up right now.

I could see Medium changing the Partner Program to only allow earnings for paying Medium members. They could also start screening new Partner Program members before they become eligible to earn.

#3 Fixing the homepage

Medium’s homepage is bugging me lately. I’m talking about the personalized homepage, of course. Medium has changed this homepage’s look and functionality quite a few times over the last few weeks. I guess this shows that they want to optimize here.

What bugs me the most is the discoverability or lack thereof of popular posts and trending stories. A couple of weeks ago Medium had a two-tab design that separated stories from your network and popular/trending stories. They removed this design. I actually liked it. I love to see what’s trending on Medium. What’s going viral. And I love to have this be more pronounced on the homepage. I read some of my favorite stories in this tab view.

In Addition, to tie back in with my first point, I’d like to see a section tailored to self-publishing indie writers. And one for publications. That would further improve the chances of getting more views by self-publishing.

#4 Supporting publications

Now that I have mentioned a few pros for self-publishing instead of going the publication route, I want to give some love to the pubs as well. If Medium wants to keep going with publications in the future, they need to rethink one big thing: pay.

I think Medium should NOT pay publications directly. They just canceled that anyway. But they SHOULD consider the idea of giving publication owners and editors a cut of the earnings of the published stories. Picture a 5% cut for every story, for example. That would be a lot of money for medium to large publications to pay for the editors’ work every day.

#5 Comments and engagement

The last idea to consider is about responses. I comment a lot. I read all comments. I try to respond to as many as possible. This takes time. It also accumulates reading time. But these views don’t get paid as far as I know. I think they should though. Writing quality responses that people read and interact with is vital for a social writing platform like Medium. So, Medium should reward this. By paying for views or reads on responses as well.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It would certainly invite spamming like crazy. Which needs to be addressed beforehand. I still think this would be a great move though. What do you think?


These are just 5 quick thoughts I have about Medium’s future after the bonus waves come to an end. Do you have more ideas? Tell me! I’d love to hear more.

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