Jody McAlister
The Day Medium Experiment Jody McAlister

The results of trying hard

Image of Money

30 days ago on December 16, I decided to put in a full effort on trying to be a successful Medium writer. I have been a member since Nov 1, 2018 and had been mainly a reader for a full year. I published a handful of stories, nothing more.

This was back when claps mattered. I literally made pennies on my first articles, so there was nothing that urged me to try to improve.

Two months ago in November I published a few more stories and and almost covered my Medium dues. This brought some interest.

I thought it would be nice to have Medium pay for itself, so I started looking around on Medium articles about how to make money. I spent the first two weeks of December soaking up all kinds of different views and advice from people.

I’ve seen contradictions and clearly some click bait articles. Before I would trust an article I would look at their history of publishing and the amount of claps their previous stories had acquired. Even accounting for the change of claps to reading time being the metric of making money, it was clear that a lot of these articles were made by people that were giving advice without actually having succeeded.

And there were people that were succeeding that had written articles as well. I came away with my own plan based on what I had been reading.

Here’s what I came away with…

Get Curated. I was constantly seeing the high volume message appear on my stories and didn’t think too much of it. Then, I read a story and then a couple more about this high volume message being an indicator of what they were calling the curation jail. I looked back through all my stories and sure enough, occurring on a fiction story where the character cursed, spoke like a racist and a sexist, the message of not distributed in topics had changed to the high volume message. And has been that message ever since.

So, curation wasn’t going to be my answer. No lottery win for me. I was going to have to build my followers.

Look around and you will see plenty of articles about successful Medium writers without being curated.

Get Published in Well Established Publications. I submitted my first story to one of the largest publications and didn’t hear a thing for a few days. Maybe I had done it wrong. I tried again submitting the same story and received a fairly quick reply that they had received the submission and to not submit it anymore. They would let me know if they decided to use it.

Two weeks went by and not a word. I figured out how to cancel the submission and didn’t try again with them.

Quick backup, my first actual try was with Literally Literary and they were great. I received some helpful tips and positive feedback as they put both the stories I had submitted in their publication. They were before the nasty response from the “Big Publication”.

I decided to start three of my own publications so I wouldn’t have any issues in the future. I started “Flutter Town” for my programming, “Throwing Stones” for my opinion pieces and “Funny Pages” to post humorous articles.

I will Follow 125 People Per Day. Let’s face it, the only way people are going to see my stories are if they are already following me. I posted my results below, I’ve been quite happy with following this rule.

I posted an article explaining my rules that has actually been my best received story to date. Notice it’s not in any publication.

I Will Write More Often. Over the last 30 days, I have posted 16 articles. I could have done much better. But I was too busy glued to my stats. Some people may have noticed during this time that I quickly followed back claps, responses and people following me almost like a stalker.

Checking stats is exciting but kills your writing. Moving forward from this day, I am only going to check stats first thing in the morning, once in the afternoon and then try to minimize my night time looks. I want to respond in a timely fashion, reward people who clap and read as well follow anyone that follows me back.


I started very low, so don’t be shocked at the little numbers!


Previous 30 days I had a total of 419 views for 8 stories. 3 of which were about information for my 3 publications.

Last 30 days, I have had 1465 views. I broke 1000 a few days ago and topped 100 views per day the last 2 days for the first time ever.


Previous 30 days I had 229 reads.

Last 30 days I had 875 reads.

Fans (I still love claps even though they no longer count!)

Previous 30 days, 32 fans.

Last 30 days, 404 fans.


Nov 2019, I almost paid my Medium dues.

Dec 2019, with trying hard the last half of the month, I more than quadrupled November.

January 2020 to date, I have already beaten Dec by 150% and I am on track to triple my December amount.


I started at 178 followers for this challenge, 30 days later I have 808 followers. Thank you to everybody who was kind enough to return my follows. I am now starting to see people beginning to follow me that I have not followed first. I also just published to two smaller publications.


Without a lottery win like curation or a large publication success, it is a slow and steady build. I’m encouraged to keep building the same way.

I am going to try to publish in some of the larger publications now as my next step. I will also continue to build my publications and support smaller publications.

Shout out to two publications that have reached out to me and were kind enough to include me in their publications. in “LighterSide” and in “Authors & Peeps”.

The Visual Results of 30 Days of Trying

Before Trying
After Trying (oops, should have screen shot earlier)

I’m going to keep moving forward. I’m not expecting any quick rewards, but looking forward to what can happen down the road.

If you are a new writer to Medium, the sky is the limit. Publish to multiple publications, follow the curation guidelines, follow people, respond to articles and respond to responses. I think you can get even better results than I did.

Good luck everybody! Nothing like having fun and making money at the same time!

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