A Case For Posting Your Stats – The Partnered Pen
And a lesson in editing and owning your sh$t.
Yesterday, I posted an article I’d been thinking about for some time. At least parts of it had been eating at me, the behavior of some writers to talk trash. Well, write trash. The editor in me likes to be specific. However, yesterday, my internal editor was asleep at the wheel because she didn’t catch something I let slide in my post.
Here’s what I wrote yesterday.
A little backstory on the genesis of the piece. I’d been reading about some negativity in the Facebook groups I belong to. I’d also experienced some myself, nothing directed at me personally, but in the way I reacted to people trashing Medium or other writers.
Also, someone complained about too many pieces about making money on Medium. So I decided to look at how some popular writers handled these subjects. I felt an article brewing. To fill it out, I narrowed my search to six writers I read periodically but don’t know through personal contact, looked at whether they stayed in niches, or wrote about money and sex.
I just wanted to air my feelings about writing negativity and show that my selected top writers don’t do it, and by the way, here’s a look at their path if you want to take it.
Someone in a Facebook group surprised me by taking the piece to mean I didn’t support writing about money. Another reader seemed to suggest I didn’t think Medium was the place to write about sex.
I had to go back and look at what I’d written because neither point was true. I would never discourage anyone from writing about anything, or from going wide, or sticking with a niche. I will, however, do my part to dissuade harmful negativity, even if it doesn’t specifically cross the lines of Medium’s TOS. But that’s just me being me.
I cringed when I saw what I’d done because I care about editing and specificity. But, as I always say, nobody’s perfect, especially moi. No excuse, really, when I’m trying to establish credibility, but in this case my mouth got ahead of my brain.
I wrote, meaning my list of five things top writers don’t do, “avoid these pitfalls,” meaning if you want to follow in their footsteps to glory these things are pitfalls to avoid, not that writing about them was wrong.
I’m here to say, absolutely not. It’s just those topics aren’t the only path to success.
I’m usually a stickler for clarity, certainly with my editing clients. If someone else had sent me that draft, I hope I would have said you have to be specific and add, “the pitfalls to following their lead” or people will think you’re damning writing about sex and money or going wide.
So if we do, you do, too, if you want to succeed. Just saying.
But now on to the main point of this piece. I thank Shannon Ashley for reminding me that we owe a debt of gratitude to those successful writers who leave breadcrumbs for the rest of us by not just posting their earnings, followers, fans, and other stats, but showing us their methods.
I came to Medium because I heard that Shaunta Grimes made $5k a month, and she wrote about how she achieved that number. I wouldn’t still be here if she, Shannon, and others haven’t continued posting about not just their earnings, but great tips about how increase your earnings on the platform.
Writing for arts sake is all well and good. Believe me, I’m totally there. But I’ve paid my dues on honing my craft. I need the money because writing is my source of income. And maybe it is for you as well. How else will we learn how to do it, if the scouts that have gone ahead don’t show us the way?
A writer whose name is lost to me posted that he reached 1000 followers by finding 20 new writers every day. That increased his earnings, and he described his time-saving system for his daily task. Since I’ve been doing that, even finding far fewer writers than he recommended, my stats have improved. I wouldn’t have known that on my own.
I wouldn’t have known that on my own.
I know that to be true. I read a post a while back that showed the majority of high earners are men. I trust that estimation because I’ve searched high-clap articles. Men earn 20–30k clap articles with far more regularity than women. Do the math and you’ll learn why some writers earn $20k a month. You can bet they’re men.
I’ve written about money myself, and I echo Shannon’s sentiments, that we need more writers to come forward and show us how they do it.
I’ll add my encouragement. I stand by what I wrote yesterday that you don’t have to write about money to make money. But if you do, it’s not a sum zero game. You won’t lose anything by sharing your tips. We don’t take money out of the pockets of Shannon, Casey Botticello, Shaunta and anyone else when we read their articles about how to be more successful. Mostly, we can’t do exactly what they do anyway. We use their example and figure out how to make it work for us.
I’ll add my encouragement. I stand by what I wrote yesterday that you don’t have to write about money to make money. But if you do, it’s not a sum zero game. You won’t lose anything by sharing your tips.
And by the way, writing about money is a way of giving back, and yes, you’ll get followers. But the articles won’t get curated-Medium won’t do it-and they don’t make as much money. But, hey, won’t knowing you helped a newbie writer single mom make the rent give your self-esteem a boost?
We’ll credit you for sharing, and you’ll get more followers while we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out the instructions. Some of us will get it, and rejigger it to our own needs, then post that, and on and on.
It’s called It takes a village.
We’re all in this together.
We’ll scratch your back if you scratch ours.
Okay, that’s enough. The editor in me has had enough cliches.
Let me just say good luck with your path, in whatever direction it takes you. Medium is a big place; there’s room for all of us. Let’s all be successful together.