Can Poets survive on Medium?

Medium changed their system for calculating writer-earnings on 28th Oct. 2019, and the new system doesn’t seem to work very well for me.

I have been writing stories and poetry on Medium in English and Japanese since March 2019. My first earning month was April or May (I cannot remember) and my earning in this month (November 2019) will possibly be only 20 or 25% of the best month. It is also because I wrote less in this month and last month though.

Their new system might kill poets

The biggest impact is that they have installed a reading time-based calculation instead of the claps-based reward system.

Claps on Medium: you can clap on the stories which you have liked on Medium. If you are a paid member, a part of your monthly fee will be tipped on the writer you have clapped.

Now that they changed the calculation system, the important thing is how many minutes your stories have been read in the month, not how many claps you have gotten.

It is not a happy situation for poetry writers like me, honestly speaking.

It means that Medium prefers longer stories than short poems. You may think that we can create as many poems as we can to cover the shortage of reading time. However, it seems like they no longer allow the writers to publish more than four posts per day at the same time when they changed the policy about writer-earning.

Can the poetry writers survive?

In theory, if we have “loyal readers”, the earning cannot be sliding down much because they calculate with the ratio of reading time of our readers. It depends on their reading preference and reading habits.

For example, if last month a member spent 10% of their monthly reading time on your story, you will receive 10% of their share (a portion of their subscription fee).

If I can have some readers who love reading poetry, I can still make some money on my poems. However, I just wonder how many readers exist who only read poems on Medium.

Change my strategy on Medium

I will continue writing stories in Japanese on Medium, but I am not sure about writing in English. Now, it may be a platform to share my stories which I have published on my other blogs, not to publish new creations.

Also, I will move my stories in English which I have posted on Medium onto my WordPress site which you are reading now, actually.

I had been blogging in English on Blogger (the blogging platform supported by Google) until I moved it into a WordPress site recently.

On the Medium analytics, I saw that my most read article is read by people who came from search engines, and who are not paid members of Medium, which means I don’t get any earnings from that post. Therefore, I decided to move the posts onto my own blog even though I know that search engines have highly ranked my posts on Medium because the domain of is relatively strong.


It is a shame because I have loved writing poetry on Medium, but I cannot write without any rewards.

Maybe I should focus on writing stories in Japanese on Medium and try to do self-branding in English on my WordPress site.