My 3-Step Plan to Make Money by Writing Fiction on Medium
I see a lot of questions about Medium cross my socials. One of the most common is whether Medium is a good platform for writing fiction.
I’ve avoided the question, because I like to be an expert in what I’m talking about, and I’ve only ever made $1.49 by writing fiction on Medium. Hardly a knowledge whiz.
But I saw the question surface often enough that I wanted to put some serious thought into how I’d do this. This article will get into the pros and cons of using Medium as a platform for your fiction writing as well as the 3-step plan for how to actually do it.
If you prefer the video version, check it out here:
My YouTube video on how to make money by writing fiction on Medium
The Pros and Cons of Writing Fiction of Medium
The short answer is yes, Medium is a good place to write and earn money for your fiction — but with caveats.
First, why is Medium potentially a good platform to write fiction?
Medium is, in my opinion, the very best place to make money by writing on the internet. No ads, just good content. So if I have an existing audience — like my newsletter, my YouTube channel, or anywhere else, I can point eyeballs to my stories and earn money for any reads I get through Medium’s Partner Program, which is royalty-based.
Second, it’s so user friendly. Part of the reason I have a Medium blog and not a wordpress blog is because literally all I need to get started is an idea. I can start typing up a storm and publish within the hour. The layout is lovely, simple, reader-centric.
What are the downsides of writing fiction on Medium?
The primary downside is Medium’s distribution system. Unlike any other social media platform, the way people get shown content isn’t purely algorithmically based on a combination of popular + who you follow. In addition to those, which are also a factor, Medium also hand-picks (“curates”) stories for further distribution. It curates stories into topics people follow, like relationships, psychology, pets, and fiction. (Yep, we’ll get into that exciting word in just a second!)
Functionally, this means I can write something today with no followers, have it curated, and get 100s of views if it’s distributed in topics people follow.
However, Medium has pretty strict rules on what is and isn’t curated. It has to be good, it has to be accurate, and it has to be standalone. That is, if I publish a 3-part series on how to write a best-selling book, I can guarantee it won’t be curated because each of the three parts is not standalone.
This is not a problem for short fiction, like satire, humor, or flash fiction. It’s also not a problem for long-form fiction, like books published all in a single post ( like this one ). These frequently get curated in the fiction topic. But when people talk about writing fiction on Medium, they typically mean publishing chapter by chapter. And — you guessed it — those chapters don’t standalone.
Plus, right now the audience just not as well-defined for fiction. People come to Medium expecting, frankly, self-help. But three years ago, people came to Medium expecting programming. It still exists, of course, but the market for me to write about my pets, my favorite memes, my life stories, and so much more now exists. The same will be true for fiction: if you build it (your friction story), they (your fiction readers) will come.
How do you make the most of the benefits while minimizing the downsides?
The 3 Step Plan to Make Money by Writing Fiction on Medium
Before I launch in, a caveat: this is not a start-today, rich-tomorrow type of scheme. This is a years-long type of plan. This is for people, like me, who want to someday have a good audience for writing fiction on Medium but understand it can’t be accomplished in a short time span.
Medium does have tools to let authors build audiences — today, using Publications and Letters, but tomorrow potentially other tools, too. They have a vested interest in helping readers find writers they like, no matter the subject. Let’s make the most of that.
Step 1: Build your ideal fiction audience.
Your book is like any other product, and Medium is just like any other marketing platform. (Kind of. Bear with me.)
The very first thing you should do is figure out who you want to read your book. In my case, it’s people like me, who love fantasy novels. Then brainstorm a bunch of non-fiction story ideas. For me, I could think of a few:
How to Write Convincing Fantasy
The Best Fantasy Books of 2020
How XYZ Author Creates Fully Developed Worlds
Create a publication (mine would be called “The Best of Fantasy” or something like that). Then, publish as many articles as you can in that publication. The idea is you’ll be curated and start to garner followers to that publication.
Step 2: Grow your publication to a good size.
This is both the shortest and longest part: grow your publication to a decent number of followers. It takes time to build a following — I gained 13,000 in about two years. I’d say minimum 5,000 for mine, but you can pick any number for yours.
The best way to grow followers is to consistently publish high quality articles that are curated in specific topics. In this case, I’d probably aim for Writing and maybe Fiction. You can also try simply writing in other publications with lots of followers — those readers might follow your personal profile, and then when you publish a story in your writing pub, they may see it cross their feed and choose to follow from there.
Step 3: Create a second Medium publication where your fiction story will live.
You have your audience, you’ve reached critical mass — now you can start to point them in the right direction.
Use Medium’s publication newsletter feature to email all the followers of my your pub about the existence of the second, fiction publication. You’ve gathered an audience which is likely to be invested in your journey and interested in your story.
I’d email them every time I published a new chapter, too. So despite not being curated, I could ensure a steady stream of eyeballs on my chapters. The home would be simple to point people to; it’s easy to write in Medium. Publications lend themselves well to serial telling — you can link each chapter to the next and previous.
And the upshot would be you’d get paid for people reading your work, even if it’s fictional. Plus, you reserve the rights to remove it off the platform, sell it on Amazon, whatever, at any point you want. You own all the rights to your own work here, which means Medium does not have to be the final home for your story.
Medium is one of the best places to get paid for writing on the internet because the logic is simple: if people read it, you get money. The tricky part is factoring in how people will read it, especially if you don’t have an existing audience.
However, this plan will give you (and me too, someday) the chance to use Medium as a home for our fiction stories, and be paid for them while not relying on curation.
How to Tell What Topics Your Medium Story Was Curated Into
6 reasons why you’re getting constantly rejected from publications.
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Serialize Your Novel on Medium
Serializing novels started in the 1830s with The Old Maid by Honoré Balzac in the first daily newspaper in France. The same year, Charles Dickens published The Pickwick Papers in installments in England and became a household name.
Back then, full books were cost-prohibitive, but most people could afford the serialized versions. It became so popular that soon most newspapers and magazines published serial novels for their readers.
The serial novel fell by the wayside when more people could afford the entire book—and they didn’t want to wait until the next installment came out to find out what happens next.
Today, there is a resurgence in consuming serialized novels for two reasons:
People don’t have the time or attention span to sit down and consume a whole book. But books in installments are easy to read on public transportation, while waiting in line, and other short periods of downtime.
More people are reading books on their smartphones than ever before. In fact, smartphones have eclipsed e-readers in popularity. And since you always have your smartphone with you during periods of downtime (see Point #1 above), serialized novels are handy.
Recent serialized books
Why choose medium, final thoughts.
Several authors are taking advantage of the above two trends to publish their work in serials. For example, Andy Weir published chapters of The Martian on his website as he completed them before he won a publishing contract.
In addition, Margaret Atwood published her Positron series in serials. Alexander McCall Smith published 44 Scotland Street of the wildly popular The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series in an Edinburgh newspaper in installments.
And who can forget when Stephen King published The Green Mile in serialized format over 20 years ago?
Today, savvy authors realilze they can gain attention, test the commercial viability of their novel, and build an audience—all through serializing on platforms like Medium , Wattpad , or even on Amazon. All you need do is go to Amazon’s Kindle Short Reads to find best-selling authors like Ken Follett and Lee Child with offerings anywhere between 15 minutes to 2 hours in reading length—easy to consume on any smartphone.
First, medium has over 60 million readers a month, offering awesome access to a whole slew of potential new readers. In fact, Medium is such a hot commodity that HubSpot published "How to Use Medium: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing, Publishing, and Promoting on the Platform."
Second, serializing your novel can improve your writing skills. Here are 5 benefits to serializing:
You don’t need a finished book to publish . This is perhaps the biggest benefit to writers. You can publish parts of your book while you’re working on other pieces. Which leads perfectly to the next benefit.
You get immediate feedback . You can get feedback on each installment that will help guide the rest of the book. Say you hear from readers they like an ancillary character or sub-plot. You can play that up in the rest of your book to keep them more engaged and happy. Which dovetails with the next benefit.
Your writing must enthral . If each installment in your serial doesn’t grab your readers’ attention and keep them turning pages, they won’t read subsequent installments. Each separate installment must engage readers from the beginning to the end with enough of a cliffhanger to get readers to buy your next installment. Why is this a benefit, you ask? It forces you to always bring your A game.
It’s a bridge to your other work . Once people consume your serials on their smartphones or e-readers, they more likely to look up your other work. You can also point out your other novels or collections in your serials, which may bring you new, devoted readers.
Practice makes perfect. To win at the serial game, you must publish often. Many publish once or twice a week which means you’re always churning out work. The more you write, the better you get. And don’t forget how getting immediate feedback can help you become a better writer as well.
I stumbled across a publishing company committed to bringing e-books, excerpts, and short stories to subway riders in New York City. Check out Plympton to learn more about their programs for serializing stories and novels.
When is the best time to serialize on Medium? Probably 6 years ago when the platform first launched. But since that’s all behind us, the best time to start is right now . If you don’t have one already, set up an account on Medium and get your work out there.
Who knows? You might be the next Andy Weir or, even better, Charles Dickens (sorry, Andy).
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Kathy Edens is a blogger, a ghost writer, and content master who loves writing about anything and everything. Check out her books The Novel-Writing Training Plan: 17 Steps to Get Your Ideas in Shape for the Marathon of Writing and Creating Legends: How to Craft Characters Readers Adore... or Despise.
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Novel? Screenplay? Comic? How to Choose the Right Medium For Your Story
Ken pisani on writing across disciplines.
A film and TV writer by profession, I also write stage plays, documentaries, comic books, novels, and even stand-up comedy. (I know what you’re thinking: “Ken needs to learn how to focus.”) Writing across mediums is similar to being a decathlete, working across a variety of disciplines, but without the sweaty grunting.
Sweating and grunting notwithstanding, the decathlete analogy is also apt because writing across mediums requires different muscles. I use a different skill set to write a novel than I do for a screenplay, and call on still another part of my brain for a comic book; the single setting and limited characters of a play require yet another avenue of thinking, while a documentary demands not so much writing as harvesting a story from its parts and assembling it, like Dr. Frankenstein. And much like the story of Frankenstein , it all starts with selecting the correct brain.
That’s not to say such writer-brain-multitasking is easy. While each medium offers different storytelling opportunities, each also poses unique challenges. Some ideas will work across multiple mediums—witness how many books and comic books, stage plays and documentaries, are made into film, television, and even video games. But many won’t translate as well; some stories are innately suited to a specific medium. By developing different writing muscles, I feel I can best tell the best story in the best medium, but only if I understand how those mediums work. For example, I’m probably not a very good essay writer or I wouldn’t have used the word “best” three times in that sentence.
What if your idea basically entails two people doing nothing but sitting in a room and talking? That isn’t a comic book, which requires more visual stimulation than alternating talking heads, and no network executive would ever put it on television unless it was punctuated with frequent explosions. And it certainly isn’t a feature film, the single historical exception being My Dinner With Andre . Recognize that what you have here is a stage play.
I had an urge to explore the early days of the civil rights movement through the eyes of two former boxing champions, one white and one African American, who fought against that backdrop and are reunited in old age. As a period piece with older protagonists, it’s a hard sell as a film, and I didn’t think it would work best as a novel—I wanted to hear these guys bicker and quarrel and lash out at each other as their past lives trickled out and their true selves were revealed to an audience. That last part—that it could happen in front of a live audience—made it feel more nakedly real. Thus Glove Story became a play, with an immediacy and intimacy no novel, comic book, or even screenplay could match.
Conversely, a bigger world requires a bigger canvas. My first attempt at a graphic novel, COLONUS , was a sci-fi political thriller about colonies on Mars and Venus. Could it exist as a film or TV series? Yes, but the high production budget required is a bar to probable success. Unless it’s based on a wildly successful existing property—or your last name is Lucas, Spielberg, or Cameron—it’s difficult to sell a two hundred million dollar space opera, while the world-building I had in mind was something I could accomplish for a relative pittance with the right artist in a comic book format.
I stumbled immediately, writing my first script in Final Draft, screenplay formatting software that seemed to make sense: after all, comic books, like films, are all settings and dialogue. What I neglected to consider was that all that crackling tough guy dialogue may read well on the page, but porting it over to the sequential panel illustrations of comic books proved problematic: there just isn’t the physical real estate for it. Those word balloons can only hold so much—25 words of dialogue is a lot —and there are limited panels in which to say it. So it becomes an exercise in writing economically, paring that florid speechifyin’ to only what’s essential. The happy surprise for me was that the end result was better than what previously lived on that endless white page. Sometimes constraints will set you free.
And a graphic novel lets you do things like this: here’s some classic thrust-and-parry banter between the villain, momentarily holding the upper hand on the story’s protagonist (I resist calling him “hero” since he’s an outlaw who just beat one of his adversaries to death with a shovel). As the villain discusses the future, we get to see it as his captive envisions it, continuing the conversation in captions. It would be unusual to do this in a screenplay, difficult to convey in a novel, impossible in a stage play.
While both film and comic books are visual mediums, another difference is in how you write those visuals. In a screenplay, I might have a character enter a dark room, cross to a desk, pull out a bottle of whiskey and pour it into a glass, downing it in a single gulp. (In a novel, I’d have to write it more elegantly than that; in a stage play I’d have to set at least a full act in that room, and possibly my entire story.) But I can’t give that description to my artist as a single panel because that’s actually three or four panels of art: he stands in the doorway, framed by light from outside; I can cut him walking across the room and go directly to his hand pulling the bottle from the desk drawer (but only if I’ve told my artist to establish the desk in the first panel); then he drinks. A single throwaway line of stage direction in a script becomes a half page of storytelling art in a comic book.
It’s a pretty common rule not to overdirect your “action” in a screenplay, or the actual director will hate you and shout at you in front of the crew (which he’ll probably do anyway). But in writing a comic book you have to write exactly what you need to see in each panel, and sometimes the point of view. At the same time, you need to be very careful not to treat the artist like your art monkey, or s/he will hate you and scream at you in front of… well, nobody, because creating a comic book is a very small affair. It’s just the two of you, so it goes without saying that your artist is incredibly important to the process. Sometimes you’ll receive the finished art and discover that your artist has done such an amazing job of visual storytelling you start revising what you’ve written to match the images, and can actually start cutting captions and dialogue that you already believed had been cut to the bone. It’s gratifying to see pages you’ve written rendered so well that they require less writing; it feels a lot better than cutting dialogue because your actor is struggling with the word “marzipan,” or rewriting “The spaceship takes off in a fiery blast that scorches the earth” to “The spaceship is gone,” because production can’t afford the spaceship .
If I were to write COLONUS as a feature, it would be a very different process: writing on little colored cards. Any good screenplay starts with an outline of the big story beats and the individual scenes that make them up. Then those beats and scenes are written on color-coded index cards. For my screenplay about real-life heavyweight contender Two Ton Tony, because it covered an expansive life from the 1920s through the 70s, those scenes were coded as flashbacks (yellow), flash forwards (blue), boxing scenes (purple); additional cards indicated the narrative device of a deceased Tony telling his story (green), and cards indicating his antagonist, champion Joe Louis, culminating in their third-act confrontation (pink). Pinning all these cards on a board I can see at a glance how well I’ve paced and balanced my story: too many purple cards means there’s too much boxing, long gaps between pink and I know I’ve lost my antagonist and therefore my conflict. I can also move the cards around—show this flashback earlier to set up this fight later—or to tell the story in nonlinear fashion (in watching a film like Pulp Fiction it’s easy to imagine Tarantino dropped his cards and then pinned them up at random and liked what he saw). Then, I only had to sit down and write the damn thing, over weeks and even months, and hope it made sense.
That solitary endeavor is vastly different from the “writers room” of television. A TV staff can have upwards of a dozen writers, pitching both stories and, on a half-hour comedy, jokes. It’s like growing up in a large family with a need to get noticed around the dinner table, and maybe even snag a waffle before they’re all gone. The inclination might be to shout the first joke that comes to mind, but a general rule of comedy is never shout the first joke that comes to mind. In a room full of comedy writers everyone else will have thought of that same joke, and yours will be greeted with the kind of disdain usually reserved for a cat at a dog show. (And yes, for the record, shouting at a writers’ assistant while s/he types everything into a document is considered in television a form of “writing.”)
Then that story will usually be assigned to a single writer, sometimes two or more, who will seclude themselves and drink Red Bull and surf the Internet for anything that might make the other person laugh or extremely uncomfortable, preferably both. Eventually, they’ll get to work on scripting the story, which will be submitted to the showrunner for rewriting, and then further gang-rewritten by the staff—punching jokes, adding character moments, clarifying story, all making it presumably better but gradually less recognizable from its original draft. And by the time the writers see it on television it will resemble the vague memory of a lost love, blurred by the infidelity of the many episodes they went on to write before this one could air.
Writing in such a collaborative environment isn’t for everyone. In fact, it suits very few. Ok, let’s face it: psychopaths. There’s a misconception in Hollywood that if you don’t like collaboration, you should write a novel. It’s a terribly dismissive sentiment for several reasons, not the least of which is writing a novel is hard. More significantly, it’s only true that you can write whatever you want without the input and collaboration of others if you don’t care about it ever being published.
Your agent will have notes. Your editor will have notes. And so will your publisher. If you’re smart, you’ll listen to them; they’ll have insights and ideas that come from experience, a knowledge of the marketplace, and a fresh perspective lost to you after living with your book in your head for so long. The good notes will make your novel much better, and even the “bad” notes might lead you to improvements you might not have thought of on your own. My own agent and editor are very, very smart and gave me excellent suggestions. Also, they’re reading this.
But back to the idea that writing a novel is hard. It’s not “coal miner” hard , nor does it require the precision of a diamond cutter or come with the life-or-death stakes of being a hostage negotiator. (Note to self: thriller about a coal miner who finds the world’s biggest diamond and takes a gem cutter hostage.) The muscles required to write a novel aren’t bigger or stronger or in any way better than those required in other mediums, just different. There are so many decisions that don’t have to be made in a screenplay or stage play or comic book or haiku: what’s the point of view—is it objective or omniscient, first person or third (or, inexplicably, second person like Bright Lights, Big City )? How much do I tell in dialogue, and how much do I tell from the distance of the observer or from inside the characters’ thoughts? Do I have a single protagonist or multiple, interlocking stories? (Yes, I’ll argue that this is unique to literature; despite sometimes large ensembles, very few films or TV shows have more than a single protagonist an audience follows, and around which the other characters orbit and function.)
Then you have to write it. And whether striving for eloquence or simplicity, the consideration of language in a novel is much more demanding than other forms, and it simply takes time to get it right. A lot of time. In my case, years, on and off. (And the jury’s out on whether or not I got it “right.”) On the other hand, I can write a comic book in a couple of days or a TV pilot in a week. They might not be very good, but now they exist on paper and I can spend a reasonable amount of time honing them into something that is; a decent novel from beginning to end simply cannot come into the world that quickly. And those other forms are finite—a screenplay around 110 pages, a TV drama around 50, a comic book 24 or 32 (print signatures are in multiples of eight). This means you know when you’re done . I believe it was Paul Valéry, whoever he was, who said “A poem is never finished, only abandoned,” and the same is certainly true of a novel.
For me, one of the attractions of novel writing is not to be hamstrung by the usual rules of screenwriting. There are wonderful screenwriters who can make a story seem unique—and even brilliant ones, like Charlie Kaufman and Terrence Malick to name two, who break the form completely—but most films, no matter the genre, essentially tell the same story: introduce a protagonist, set off an inciting incident, send him or her off on a hero’s journey; throw obstacles in the way to overcome and a mid-point reversal, bring him or her to a lowest point only to ultimately triumph and most importantly, change as a person for the better. It’s the template for nearly every film fiction, from The Gold Rush to Star Wars to Showgirls , although the biggest obstacle to overcome in Showgirls may be the ordeal of sitting through it.
I was having none of that in my novel AMP’D, “the most fun you’ll have reading about a guy whose arm is hilariously amputated™.” My inciting incident has already happened before the very first page, and it’s clear this guy is ruined. He’s not going to overcome obstacles or transcend his terrible circumstances; he’s going to weep and flail and suffer, albeit hilariously. Yes, he will enjoy small victories, and he’ll even learn something. But if this were a screenplay it would go like this: meet Aaron, he’s super awesome as a lawyer or executive and has the world on a string (if he’s a good guy) or by the balls (if it’s a redemptive story); this goes on for ten pages and then the terrible thing happens and we watch him lose everything, only to slowly begin to hurdle every obstacle in his way and come out of this a better man.
I wanted to be free of those rules to explore how real people face adversity, however darkly comic a take that might be. I believe we look up to exceptional people who do triumph over terrible adversity and overcome incredible odds because in real life they are the exceptions. Which means most of us are not. Few of us are on the hero’s journey, and we don’t have a transformative story arc. We don’t change all that much over decades (never mind an hour and forty minutes), or have a “super want”—the thing we want above all else—and numerous biblical-sized obstacles that keep us from it. Rare is the inciting incident that sends us off on a journey, and we certainly don’t have an accelerating third act where, after our lowest moment, we rush to triumph.
Real life isn’t like that. It can be mundane and extraordinary, filled with great love and longing, grand success and failure too spectacular to overcome, the dichotomy of isolation in crowds and small enormous moments. That’s real life, and that’s what I wanted to write about. And a novel seemed the best medium in which to do it. (Did I mention “hilariously”?)
Now, to get to work on that screenplay adaptation.
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Is Medium Worth It? (SOLVED for Readers and Writers)
I’ve been writing on Medium and reading articles on Medium for several years, so I have strong opinions on this topic.
Is Medium worth it?
Yes, Medium is worth it. Medium is a great platform for writers, readers, data scientists, and programmers. The $5.00 membership fee gives you exclusive access to an unlimited amount of articles (called stories on the platform). As a writer, you can make a monthly income of between $500-$5,000.
That’s the quick and dirty answer, but what makes Medium worth it differs depending on who asks. Read the rest of this article to find out exactly why Medium is worth it for you.
To read all of my stories and thousands of others, join Medium here .
Is Medium Worth It for Writers? (Solved w/ Examples)
I’ve written on Medium since the end of November 2019. I had no idea what to expect going in but I wanted to try out the platform for myself (something I highly recommend that you do).
So, is it worth it?
Yes, personally I think Medium is an awesome platform for writers. I could talk for days about why I think it’s so great, but let me try to streamline my answer into a few specific examples.
You can make good money
Making money is why I started on Medium. I think that’s true of most writers. You hear rumors of writers who rake in $5,000 or $10,000 per month and want to jump on the money train.
And, yes, you can make good money.
Some writers such as Zulie Rane, Tim Denning , and Ayo the Writer (among others) are killing it on the platform. Many other writers I personally know make between $1,000 to $4,000 per month. I’m also in this category.
You might have heard that fewer than 10% of writers on Medium make more than $100 per month. This is also true. But, in my experience, a skilled writer who studies their Medium analytics and consistently writes for 3-6 months will see a steady increase in monthly income. For example, I reached $100 my second month on the platform.
By the third month, I made over $1000.
Here’s a YouTube video where I cover one of the highest-earners on Medium:
You can scale up quickly
That brings me to my next favorite aspect of writing on Medium. You can scale your income quickly. In addition to writing on Medium, I also run multiple websites, which take anywhere from 6-12 months to start ranking on Google, bringing in traffic, and making me money through display ads and affiliate marketing.
When I finally went full-time as a freelance writer, I needed a monthly income sooner than later, so I tried Medium.
Surprisingly, I made $60 my first month, which far exceeded my expectations (I thought I would reasonably earn only a few dollars). I’m not saying everyone will make that much their first month, but it’s possible.
In my second month, I made $800. I crossed the $1,000 threshold in my third month.
Here’s a screenshot showing my average monthly income:
As you can see, I consistently make between $1,000 and $3,000 per month. It depends on how many articles I write and how well they do with paid Medium members.
Some months go better than others.
Again, I wouldn’t expect a new writer to make this much right out of the gate (I think it’s something of an anomaly), but it can certainly be done. Most writers seem to make under $20 their first month and grow from there.
No matter how much you make, if you consistently write quality articles, you can scale your income on Medium faster than most other platforms. For this reason alone, I think Medium is absolutely worth it for writers.
You can send traffic to your websites (or other platforms)
Writing on Medium is worth it because you can send traffic to your personal, self-hosted website. I do this almost every week for my own portfolio of sites.
Medium is a great place to establish yourself as an expert (or authority) in your chosen niche because it allows you to share content and get thousands of views within days or even hours.
Traffic is crucial, especially to a new website. You can also make money with Medium through affiliate marketing.
You can drive traffic directly to a sales page, or you can send traffic to your website where they can read more content that will eventually help them make a purchase decision. You can promote your products and services by sharing links to any page on your website (online store, blog, testimonials, etc).
Obviously, there are some restrictions. You should always follow the rules and regulations of Medium when posting affiliate links.
You can build an email list
One of the best ways to make money as a writer or blogger is to build an email list. You can develop an audience and email list on Medium, then offer your list valuable information and recommend affiliate products.
Medium gets hundreds of thousands of visitors every day.
Every person who reads one of your articles on Medium is a potential subscriber to your personal email newsletter. As you grow your email list, you can take that list to any other platform (so that you are not 100% reliant on Medium itself).
I use Medium to build email lists for all of the websites in my portfolio.
You can write what you want
Another aspect of Medium that I love is the freedom to write on any topic. You can literally write about anything—golf, fishing, finance, fitness, history, true crime, pets, relationships, programming, movies, music, and more.
It’s like YouTube in that you decide what you want to write.
Best of all, you get paid to write anything you want. On my websites, I write on topics related to my sites. I write based on keyword research, not personal preference.
However, on Medium, I can write about history one day and dating another day. I can write about self-improvement, history, animals, and humor. Anything and everything can be monetized on Medium.
Is Medium Worth It for New Writers? (YES, and Here’s Why)
But what about new writers? Yes, Medium is worth it for new writers, too. You can get paid to get better at writing, build your audience, and write on topics that interest you.
If you are just starting out on Medium, you will need 100 followers and one published Medium article to join the Medium Partner Program (and start earning money). The sooner you join Medium , the sooner you can get your first 100 followers. It’s not too hard, especially if you publish consistently and join Facebook groups related to Medium.
I think Medium is very good for new writers because:
- Medium pays new writers quicker than almost any other platform.
- You can establish yourself as an expert in a topic or niche of your choice.
- You can meet more experienced writers who can help you in your writing career.
- Writing on Medium will make you a better writer (you are paid by the quality of your articles, so Medium forces you to improve your introductions, formating, editing, etc).
Is Medium Worth It for Readers? (5 Good Reasons)
I’ve heard people ask the question in many different ways: Is a Medium subscription worth it? Is it worth paying for Medium monthly? Is joining Medium worth it? Is paid Medium worth it?
Let’s settle these questions right now.
Yes, Medium is worth it for readers. There are five good reasons why paying the monthly Medium Membership fee (currently $5 USD) is worth it.
Here are those five reasons:
- You get access to thousands of quality articles on a wide range of topics.
- You can interact personally with the writers you love (Medium encourages a responsive environment).
- You can learn tons about a subject or topic (I’ve learned about coding, formatting, affilate marketing, side hustles, and more).
- You get an ad-free reading environment (worth it for this alone in my opinion).
- Most current subscribers (approximately 75%) report satisfaction with their monthly fee.
I should mention that I, myself, happily pay the current $5.00 membership fee each month. As a reader and a writer, I get so much value that I think it’s absolutely worth it.
Is Medium Worth it in 2021-2030?
Yes, Medium is still worth it in 2021. For the foreseeable future, Medium will be worth it for at least the next decade. Sure, there will be changes to the platform for both writers and readers. There have been several big shifts since I started.
None of those changes hurt my earnings. In fact, most of them increased my income or provided other possibilities for me to earn even more money.
For example, Medium recently introduced the Medium Membership referral program where writers earn half of a paying member’s monthly membership fee forever (if the paying member signs up through the writer’s referral link). This is an awesome new way to make passive monthly revenue on top of getting paid when members read your articles.
If anything, I think Medium is even more worth it now (between 2021-2030) because of these changes.
You get two ways to make money. There is still plenty of room for new writers to join Medium, scale their income, build their audience, and earn a sizable monthly payout.
Is Medium Worth It for Data Science?
If you write or read about data science, Medium is a go-to source for good information. There are a TON of quality articles about beginner topics and some more advanced tutorials.
One of the most popular publications (essentially a channel or magazine on Medium) is called Towards Data Science .
Here are a few reasons Medium is worth it for data science:
- Many readers say that articles on Medium introduced them to new data science ideas.
- Many articles explain data science concepts in layman’s terms (easier to undersatand).
- You can practice writing in preparation for producing a paper or thesis for your Master’s Degree or PhD program.
- You can break up rigerous journal article reading (or writing) with something more palatable.
Keep in mind that some of the data science articles will be better than others. My best suggestion is to find writers you like and trust, and then follow them on Medium.
Is Medium Worth It for Developers?
Medium is a good place for developers to write and read about programming.
Medium provides an easy and clean platform to monetize your experience and expertise. You can also learn about programming on Medium in publications such as Toward Data Science , Better Programming , and Java Script Scene .
No, Medium might not be the best platform for learning deep technical concepts. Yes, writing code in Medium is not always easy.
However, I still think it’s worth it as both a reader and a writer. As a writer, you can publish programming-related content on the site. As a reader, you can learn about the basics of programming in beginner-friendly language.
Is Medium Worth It For Fiction Writers?
Maybe you write fiction and you’re wondering if writing fiction on Medium is worth it. Again, I say, “Yes.”
I know a few authors of Medium who publish their fiction directly onto the platform. Other writers publish articles related to their fiction or books, which earns them an income and builds their audience before their book release.
Here is why I think Medium is great for Fiction Writers :
- You can earn money while you write your book.
- You can publish small sections of your book on Medium (you own the copywrite), and basically get paid to write your book .
- You can grow your audience and email list for a better, more profitable book release .
It’s true that writing fiction on Medium is harder than writing non-fiction. Don’t expect to make as much money. However, if you write both fiction and non-fiction on Medium, you can make a good side or full-time income.
Sidenote: Once you write enough articles on Medium, you can easily turn them into an ebook with programs like Sqribble (you can get a 7-day trial right now).
Is Medium Worth It For Poets?
Many people write poetry on Medium. I’ve even dabbled in poetry on the platform.
But is it worth it for poets?
Yes, Medium is a good place for poetry. You can publish poetry faster because it is usually shorter than long-form articles. You can also get paid for your poetry. Once you write enough poems, you can combine them into a book and sell your book of poetry on Amazon or your own website.
You might not make as much money writing poetry as you would writing non-fiction, but you can still earn some money while you build your audience.
Once you build your audience, you can mobilize that audience onto other platforms (such as your personal website or YouTube channel).
If you join online communities for Medium writers and poets (such as on Facebook), you can get even more exposure, encouragement, and earnings. The life of a poet is often a struggle, but you can leverage Medium to help accelerate your potential.
Is Medium Always Worth It? (No, and Here’s Why)
Ok, time for some hard truths. Medium is not always worth it. Some high-earning writers have fled the platform after losing half their monthly income. Others complain about reduced exposure, over saturation, and the poor quality of some curated articles.
These are all reasonable concerns.
Therefore, here are a few times that Medium might not be worth it:
- If you want to make $1,000 the first month (or even the second, third, or fourth month).
- If you struggle with writing grammatically correct sentences.
- If you don’t like change.
- If you are not commited for the long-haul (when I started, I gave myself at least a year to make it work).
- If your time is limited and you’d rather build your own personal, self-hosted website (something I highly recommend along with writing on Medium. I do both).
The bottom line is that I think Medium is worth it. The sooner you join , the sooner you can find out for yourself. I hope to see you there!
What to read next:
- Can You Make Money On Medium? (Insane Six-Figure Case Study)
- How To Start a Blog on Medium: Exclusive 10-Step Freelancer Guide
- What Is Conversion AI? (14 Things You Need To Know)
Table of Contents
Should I Write on Medium.com as An Author?
A full breakdown of what you can do on Medium as a writer
I’m an online writer, self-published satire author, and all-around perpetual-wannabe polymath. I’ve also carved out an odd little side-niche on Medium.com — I write Meta Medium articles.
And no, that “Meta” isn’t related to whatever the hell Facebook wants to call itself to hide their society-ruining misdeeds.
I wrote a giant collection of hundreds of articles to help newbies get the hang of Medium.com’s complexities. Today I want to share how you — as an author — can take advantage of Medium in the easiest way possible.
I first started writing on Medium.com around 2.5 years ago as part of that whole I-no-longer-want-to-work-a-real-job-like-a-mature-adult movement.
- I’ve climbed up to the top 250 out of ~500,000 authors on the platform
- I’ve had at least 30 of what they call ‘Top Writer’ badges
- I also have slightly over 12,000 followers — which is pretty high up there for Medium
More apt to this article, I spent two years building a publication ( what they call a curated collection of submitted articles on Medium ) that focused almost exclusively on getting better results on Medium.
Yea, not exactly the “real” writing you’re probably used to on this website, but useful nonetheless. To that point, Feedium has had over 1.5 million reads and 4,300 subscribers.
My point? I’m probably one of the few dozen people in the world who ̶w̶a̶s̶t̶e̶d̶ invested thousands of hours on the platform learning the pros, cons, ins, outs, and every other nook and cranny adjective you could think of.
But enough about me, let’s jump in!
Should I write on Medium.com as an author?
It’s a simple question with a frustratingly simple answer:
If you’re looking to make over $10,000 a month as you might see some people promote, I can tell you, you’d be better off jumping down a wishing well, collecting all the pennies, and then hoping one of them can be made into an NFT and spend the rest of your life wondering if we’re living in the wrong timeline.
In short, extremely few people make anywhere near that amount of money on the platform. I’m talking numbers under 20 or 30 on a good month. In fact, I suspect after many changes during the past year, that number might be far closer to 0 than anything.
Still, it’s a great place to earn some pocket money for pursuing a hobby you already love — writing scribbles on the internet.
But more importantly, making money directly from member views isn’t the only way to benefit from the platform.
Medium has other benefits for authors
I have a tendency to drone on in my writing, so in the interest of time, I’ll list out the various benefits you can use Medium.com to help your work.
1. Writing is a huge topic on Medium
For whatever ( probably obvious ) reasons, Medium has become a Mecca for writers and authors. While other websites boast somewhat niche audiences like programming on Hubspot or scamming on Vocal.Media, one of Medium’s main audiences is writers.
On one hand, you could look at that as being a bad thing.
More writers = more competition = less results?
On the other hand, you could look at that as being a door opening up to a stadium full of fellow potential friends passionate about the same thing, without having to cross that introverted barrier many of us writers have to worry about.
In short, Medium has a huge community of writers you can learn from, talk to, befriend, teach, and even sell to if that’s your cat’s pajamas.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned in the past 2.5 years from all of the excellent articles on the craft of writing that exist on the platform. Trust me, if you saw my attempts at writing before that, you’d think you were talking to a half-finished corporate AI PR bot.
Maybe you still do.
Maybe you’re right.
Either way, all hail our corporate overlords, they’re the best!
2. Google loves Medium
This is an aspect not often discussed on the platform. I certainly don’t cover the topic too often, even though I spent half a year on the subject.
Medium’s been around since 2012. It also gets an insane amount of views every month, somewhere in the range of 300 million webpage views a month according to their founder last year.
That’s not easy.
But it’s a good thing for you, because…
3. You can post anything on Medium (within reason)
Want to write a review for your book? Sign up for free and post it. Or better yet, join a publication that has dedicated viewers ( like Feedium , cough, cough ) and post it there.
Know your book’s topic inside out? Split up each chapter, cut them down to article length, and post it there. Sprinkle some SEO liberally throughout, leverage Medium’s SEO presence, and put a link to your book at the end of each article.
Have content written elsewhere? Repost it on Medium, let Google know you’re not plagiarizing with a canonical link , and wait for the Google views to pour in on Medium.
None of these strategies will make you much money directly on Medium, but if you do it right, you can get your book a lot more attention ( and potential sales ) with a little extra work.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always a fan of high ROI tasks.
4. You can find a new audience on Medium
If you’ve had the pleasure of self-publishing and the displeasure of trying to find new people to read your work, Medium can help in that department.
While it can be a struggle to climb up the ranks and make money directly from Medium, I can’t understate how much of a community aspect exists on the platform.
The only thing the website is really missing is a proper group chat function to help facilitate the idea. But that’s why there’s dozens of Facebook groups and Discords to make up for it.
But as with everything in life — there are highs, lows, and platforms with positionally self-descriptive names.
The Pitfalls of Medium for Authors
One of the main complaints I hear these days from Mediumites is the difficulty in growing their followers and making money directly.
This is certainly an issue if those two things are your main goal — but I’d propose a different way of looking at it as a book author.
- Look at Medium as free access to a giant community of fellow authors
- Leverage Medium for free publicity for your books and other content
If you become familiar with Medium after a certain amount of time, you’ll inevitably notice a lack of popular fiction on the platform. It was actually a bit surprising to me as writing is such a mega-niche on the platform, but it kind of makes sense.
The company simply prioritized “good stories” over anything else. And for some reason beknownst only to them, that mostly meant good real-life stories.
I’ve spent probably hundreds of hours scouring Medium with SEO tools and other tricks I’ve learned along the way, and the number of viral purely-fictional stories is insanely few.
The closest I ever came to a viral hit on a story-story was called I Lived With a Serial Killer for 10 Years and Didn’t Know It and somehow made almost $1,300. But even that story was mostly non-fiction, just written with some extra pizzazz ( and likely extra pizzas ).
So, if you’re looking for a place to share your short-stories, or even release your novel chapter by chapter, go ahead, but don’t expect amazing results. There are probably better platforms to try that out on.
But again, if you look at Medium as a community, then what a great place to find other short stories, fiction authors, and fellow enthusiasts for whatever niche your writing falls into!
If you’re really passionate about a subject, you could even create a publication focusing on just that niche and invite other Mediumites to submit stories to you.
I hope you found this article useful as an introduction to Medium for authors. It truly is a fantastic place that has unusually “kind” qualities for a giant tech platform.
But it isn’t easy to make money directly on it if you’re a fiction writer. It also takes a long time to grow an audience on top of that. However, using Medium for its other benefits can be hugely helpful and doesn’t even need too much time investment.
To review, here are the main ways to use Medium as an author:
- Publish your book reviews and excerpts
- Release your books’ modified content chapter-by-chapter with links to your book at the end
- Repost previously written content without any worries, linking back to your own websites for extra SEO juice
- Find a community of fellow writers in your niche to join and learn from
- Teach others the craft of your writing ← this one can actually make some money directly if you’re good at it and consistent over a long time
- It’s free to join and post! Medium offers memberships for those looking to read more than 3 stories a month, but you can publish ( and earn ) without paying
That’s it! If you’d like to learn more about Medium, I’ve written hundreds of articles on the subject over here .
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels
The 3 secrets to book marketing, and a haunted castle tour.
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By Rachel Kadish
Ms. Kadish is the author of the novel “The Weight of Ink.”
“Write down a phrase you find abhorrent — something you yourself would never say.”
My students looked startled, but they cooperated. They knew I wouldn’t collect this exercise; what they wrote would be private unless they chose to share it. All that was required of them was participation.
In silence they jotted down a few words. So far, so good. We hadn’t yet reached the hard request: Spend 10 minutes writing a monologue in the first person that’s spoken by a fictitious character who makes the upsetting statement. This portion typically elicits nervous glances. When that happens, I remind students that their statement doesn’t represent them and that speaking as if they’re someone else is a basic skill of fiction writers. The troubling statement, I explain, must appear in the monologue, and it shouldn’t be minimized, nor should students feel the need to forgive or account for it. What’s required is simply that somewhere in the monologue there be an instant — even a fleeting phrase — in which we can feel empathy for the speaker. Perhaps she’s sick with worry over an ill grandchild. Perhaps he’s haunted by a love he let slip away. Perhaps she’s sleepless over how to keep her business afloat and her employees paid. Done right, the exercise delivers a one-two punch: repugnance for a behavior or worldview coupled with recognition of shared humanity.
For more than two decades, I’ve taught versions of this fiction-writing exercise. I’ve used it in universities, middle schools and private workshops, with 7-year-olds and 70-year-olds. But in recent years openness to this exercise and to the imaginative leap it’s designed to teach has shrunk to a pinprick. As our country’s public conversation has gotten angrier, I’ve noticed that students’ approach to the exercise has become more brittle, regardless of whether students lean right or left.
Each semester, I wonder whether the aperture through which we allow empathy has so drastically narrowed as to foreclose a full view of our fellow human beings. Maybe there are times so contentious or so painful that people simply withdraw to their own silos. I’ve certainly felt that inward pull myself. There are times when a leap into someone else’s perspective feels impossible.
But leaping is the job of the writer, and there’s no point it doing it halfway. Good fiction pulls off a magic trick of absurd power: It makes us care. Responding to the travails of invented characters — Ahab or Amaranta, Sethe or Stevens, Zooey or Zorba — we might tear up or laugh, or our hearts might pound. As readers, we become invested in these people, which is very different from agreeing with or even liking them. In the best literature, characters are so vivid, complicated, contradictory and even maddening that we’ll follow them far from our preconceptions; sometimes we don’t return.
Unflinching empathy, which is the muscle the lesson is designed to exercise, is a prerequisite for literature strong enough to wrestle with the real world. On the page it allows us to spot signs of humanity; off the page it can teach us to start a conversation with the strangest of strangers, to thrive alongside difference. It can even affect those life-or-death choices we make instinctively in a crisis. This kind of empathy has nothing to do with being nice, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
Even within the safety of the page, it’s tempting to dodge empathy’s challenge, instead demonizing villains and idealizing heroes, but that’s when the needle on art’s moral compass goes inert. Then we’re navigating blind: confident that we know what the bad people look like and that they’re not us — and therefore we’re at no risk of error.
Our best writers, in contrast, portray humans in their full complexity. This is what Gish Jen is doing in the short story “Who’s Irish?” and Rohinton Mistry in the novel “A Fine Balance.” Line by line, these writers illuminate the inner worlds of characters who cause harm — which is not the same as forgiving them. No one would ever say that Toni Morrison forgives the character Cholly Breedlove, who rapes his daughter in “The Bluest Eye.” What Ms. Morrison accomplishes instead is the boldest act of moral and emotional understanding I’ve ever seen on the page.
In the classroom exercise, the upsetting phrases my students scribble might be personal (“You’ll never be a writer,” “You’re ugly”) or religious or political. Once a student wrote a phrase condemning abortion as another student across the table wrote a phrase defending it. Sometimes there are stereotypes, slurs — whatever the students choose to grapple with. Of course, it’s disturbing to step into the shoes of someone whose words or deeds repel us. Writing these monologues, my graduate students, who know what “first person” means, will dodge and write in third, with the distanced “he said” instead of “I said.”
But if they can withstand the challenges of first person, sometimes something happens. They emerge shaken and eager to expand on what they’ve written. I look up from tidying my notes to discover students lingering after dismissal with that alert expression that says the exercise made them feel something they needed to feel.
Over the years, as my students’ statements became more political and as jargon (“deplorables,” “snowflakes”) supplanted the language of personal experience, I adapted the exercise. Worrying that I’d been too sanguine about possible pitfalls, I made it entirely silent, so no student would have to hear another’s troubling statement or fear being judged for their own. Any students who wanted to share their monologues with me could stay after class rather than read to the group. Later, I added another caveat: If your troubling statement is so offensive, you can’t imagine the person who says it as a full human being, choose something less troubling. Next, I narrowed the parameters: No politics. The pandemic’s virtual classes made risk taking harder; I moved the exercise deeper into the semester so students would feel more at ease.
After one session, a student stayed behind in the virtual meeting room. She’d failed to include empathy in her monologue about a character whose politics she abhorred. Her omission bothered her. I was impressed by her honesty. She’d constructed a caricature and recognized it. Most of us don’t.
For years, I’ve quietly completed the exercise alongside my students. Some days nothing sparks. When it goes well, though, the experience is disquieting. The hard part, it turns out, isn’t the empathy itself but what follows: the annihilating notion that people whose fears or joys or humor I appreciate may themselves be indifferent to all my cherished conceptions of the world.
Then the 10-minute timer sounds, and I haul myself back to the business of the classroom — shaken by the vastness of the world but more curious about the people in it. I put my trust in that curiosity. What better choice does any of us have? And in the sanctuary of my classroom I keep trying, handing along what literature handed me: the small, sturdy magic trick any of us can work, as long as we’re willing to risk it.
Rachel Kadish is the author of the novel “The Weight of Ink.”
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Google’s Gemini is now in everything. Here’s how you can try it out.
Gmail, Docs, and more will now come with Gemini baked in. But Europeans will have to wait before they can download the app.
- Will Douglas Heaven archive page
In the biggest mass-market AI launch yet, Google is rolling out Gemini , its family of large language models, across almost all its products, from Android to the iOS Google app to Gmail to Docs and more. You can also now get your hands on Gemini Ultra, the most powerful version of the model, for the first time.
With this launch, Google is sunsetting Bard , the company's answer to ChatGPT. Bard, which has been powered by a version of Gemini since December, will now be known as Gemini too.
ChatGPT , released by Microsoft-backed OpenAI just 14 months ago, changed people’s expectations of what computers could do. Google, which has been racing to catch up ever since, unveiled its Gemini family of models in December. They are multimodal large language models that can interact with you via voice, image, and text. Google claimed that its own benchmarking showed that Gemini could outperform OpenAI's multimodal model, GPT-4, on a range of standard tests. But the margins were slim.
By baking Gemini into its ubiquitous products, Google is hoping to make up lost ground. “Every launch is big, but this one is the biggest yet,” Sissie Hsiao, Google vice president and general manager of Google Assistant and Bard (now Gemini), said in a press conference yesterday. “We think this is one of the most profound ways that we’re going to advance our company’s mission.”
But some will have to wait longer than others to play with Google’s new toys. The company has announced rollouts in the US and East Asia but said nothing about when the Android and iOS apps will come to the UK or the rest of Europe. This may be because the company is waiting for the EU’s new AI Act to be set in stone, says Dragoș Tudorache, a Romanian politician and member of the European Parliament, who was a key negotiator on the law.
“We’re working with local regulators to make sure that we’re abiding by local regime requirements before we can expand,” Hsiao said. “Rest assured, we are absolutely working on it and I hope we’ll be able to announce expansion very, very soon.”
How can you get it? Gemini Pro, Google’s middle-tier model that has been available via Bard since December, will continue to be available for free on the web at gemini.google.com (rather than bard.google.com). But now there is a mobile app as well.
If you have an Android device, you can either download the Gemini app or opt in to an upgrade in Google Assistant. This will let you call up Gemini in the same way that you use Google Assistant: by pressing the power button, swiping from the corner of the screen, or saying “Hey, Google!” iOS users can download the Google app, which will now include Gemini.
Gemini will pop up as an overlay on your screen, where you can ask it questions or give it instructions about whatever’s on your phone at the time, such as summarizing an article or generating a caption for a photo.
Finally, Google is launching a paid-for service called Gemini Advanced. This comes bundled in a subscription costing $19.99 a month that the company is calling the Google One Premium AI Plan. It combines the perks of the existing Google One Premium Plan, such as 2TB of extra storage, with access to Google's most powerful model, Gemini Ultra, for the first time. This will compete with OpenAI’s paid-for service, ChatGPT Plus, which buys you access to the more powerful GPT-4 (rather than the default GPT-3.5) for $20 a month.
At some point soon (Google didn't say exactly when) this subscription will also unlock Gemini across Google’s Workspace apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides, where it works as a smart assistant similar to the GPT-4-powered Copilot that Microsoft is trialing in Office 365.
When can you get it? The free Gemini app (powered by Gemini Pro) is available from today in English in the US. Starting next week, you’ll be able to access it across the Asia Pacific region in English and in Japanese and Korean. But there is no word on when the app will come to the UK, countries in the EU, or Switzerland.
Gemini Advanced (the paid-for service that gives access to Gemini Ultra) is available in English in more than 150 countries, including the UK and EU (but not France). Google says it is analyzing local requirements and fine-tuning Gemini for cultural nuance in different countries. But the company promises that more languages and regions are coming.
What can you do with it? Google says it has developed its Gemini products with the help of more than 100 testers and power users. At the press conference yesterday, Google execs outlined a handful of use cases, such as getting Gemini to help write a cover letter for a job application. “This can help you come across as more professional and increase your relevance to recruiters,” said Google’s vice president for product management, Kristina Behr.
Or you could take a picture of your flat tire and ask Gemini how to fix it. A more elaborate example involved Gemini managing a snack rota for the parents of kids on a soccer team. Gemini would come up with a schedule for who should bring snacks and when, help you email other parents, and then field their replies. In future versions, Gemini will be able to draw on data in your Google Drive that could help manage carpooling around game schedules, Behr said.
But we should expect people to come up with a lot more uses themselves. “I’m really excited to see how people around the world are going to push the envelope on this AI,” Hsaio said.
Is it safe? Google has been working hard to make sure its products are safe to use. But no amount of testing can anticipate all the ways that tech will get used and misused once it is released. In the last few months, Meta saw people use its image-making app to produce pictures of Mickey Mouse with guns and SpongeBob SquarePants flying a jet into two towers. Others used Microsoft’s image-making software to create fake pornographic images of Taylor Swift .
The AI Act aims to mitigate some—but not all—of these problems. For example, it requires the makers of powerful AI like Gemini to build in safeguards, such as watermarking for generated images and steps to avoid reproducing copyrighted material. Google says that all images generated by its products will include its SynthID watermarks.
Like most companies, Google was knocked onto the back foot when ChatGPT arrived. Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI has given it a boost over its old rival. But with Gemini, Google has come back strong: this is the slickest packaging of this generation’s tech yet.
Ai for everything: 10 breakthrough technologies 2024.
Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.
What’s next for AI in 2024
Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year
- Melissa Heikkilä archive page
OpenAI teases an amazing new generative video model called Sora
The firm is sharing Sora with a small group of safety testers but the rest of us will have to wait to learn more.
Deploying high-performance, energy-efficient AI
Investments into downsized infrastructure can help enterprises reap the benefits of AI while mitigating energy consumption, says corporate VP and GM of data center platform engineering and architecture at Intel, Zane Ball.
- MIT Technology Review Insights archive page
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Leading science fiction writer Ted Chiang explores technology's impact on writing
Author whose novella was adapted into movie 'arrival' delivers 2024 humanities institute distinguished lecture.
Science fiction author and futurist Ted Chiang smiles during Thursday evening's Humanities Institute Distinguished Lecture at Armstrong Hall on ASU's Tempe campus. Chiang explores complex relationships between science, technology, religion and philosophy in unconventional and insightful ways through his writing. He posed the question about the advancement of communication, starting with the spoken word, progressing to the written word, and evolving into what is next. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News
Science fiction author Ted Chiang spends a lot of time thinking about language and writing. It’s his livelihood — his work has earned four Hugo and four Nebula awards, among other accolades — but one might argue that language is also a special focus.
His novella “Story of Your Life” — adapted into the 2016 movie “Arrival,” starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner — has at the core of its worldbuilding an alien language that, well, no spoilers, but there’s more to this language and how it affects its users than first appears.
So it wasn’t a surprise that language was the focus of Chiang’s remarks Thursday evening at Arizona State University as the 2024 Humanities Institute distinguished lecturer.
He spoke at Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus about the evolution of speech to writing, calling written language a form of technological breakthrough. First there was speech — a natural biological function — but writing had to be invented and purposefully taught. No one spontaneously learns to read on their own, Chiang said. Writing changed how we use language.
“The bards of ancient Greece used patterns like (rhyme and meter) to improvise their way through thousands of lines of verse,” he said. “... Nowadays, we think of rhythm and meter as primarily decorative features. They’re an important part of pop music, so much so that we have come to associate them with a lack of seriousness, which may be why their role in modern poetry has declined.
“But before writing was widely used, rhyme and meter were essential mnemonic tools. There was no way anyone could have remembered the Iliad and the Odyssey if they consisted of ordinary prose. But now, because we used the written word instead of our memories, rhyme and meter exist mostly for fun.”
He doesn’t think language is done evolving.
“What is the next step beyond writing itself?” he asked, wondering how technology will influence written language in the future.
“What is the cognitive technology that will succeed writing? Suppose it’s 100 years from now or maybe 1,000 years from now, and you are going to give a presentation. What kind of technology are you going to use to help you figure out what you’re going to say?
“I don’t mean a replacement for word processing software. Is there some sort of cognitive technology similar to writing, but better than writing that will help you articulate your thoughts and choose the words you will actually say when you give your presentation? A successor to writing that can only exist in a digital medium?”
A conversation with Matt Bell , director of ASU’s Worldbuilding Initiative and a professor in the Department of English, followed the lecture. Chiang told Bell that he was skeptical about the role of artificial intelligence in creative writing.
“The question of conscious machines is one that I think is super interesting and raises a lot of philosophical questions, like what kind of respect do we owe to conscious machines that we make?” Chiang said.
“… Right now, we’re just dealing with these autocomplete on steroids, and the fact autocomplete on steroids is kind of spookily good is really weird and interesting, and it might be very useful. … But right now, it seems like they’re pretty terrible at every use that people are proposing.
“They’re definitely interesting in terms of what they reveal about the statistical properties of text … but they do not deserve respect. Anyone who tries to claim differently is trying to sell you something.”
Chiang said he hopes technology’s future influence on the written word won’t “dehumanize” its art.
“A lot of people feel that technology is dehumanizing, and there are plenty of situations where I feel that is accurate,” he said.
“But if there is any technology that is humanizing rather than dehumanizing, it is the written word. The written word helps us to be creative, and it helps us to be, and it helps us to reason. And those are the most human of activities.”
About the program
The Humanities Institute’s Distinguished Lecture program brings to ASU a prominent scholar whose work highlights the importance of humanities research. While on campus, speakers discuss humanities trends and participate in informal sessions, allowing ASU colleagues and students to share related research interests. In Chiang's case, his visit included a screening of "Arrival" and film discussion on Friday, co-sponsored by ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination.
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WGA Nominations: ‘Oppenheimer,’ ‘Barbie,’ ‘The Bear,’ ‘Succession’ Among 2024 Nods
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The Writers Guild of America ‘s west and east arms have announced nominations for this year’s honors in screenwriting, television, new media, news, radio/audio, and promotional writing during 2023. Delayed due to the Hollywood strikes, this year’s ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 14, 2024. Here are the nominees:
“Air,” Written by Alex Convery; Amazon MGM Studios
“ Barbie , ” Written by Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach; Warner Bros. Pictures
“May December,” Screenplay by Samy Burch, Story by Samy Burch & Alex Mechanik; Netflix
“Past Lives,” Written by Celine Song; A24
“American Fiction,” Screenplay by Cord Jefferson, Based upon the novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett; Amazon MGM Studios
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.,” Screenplay by Kelly Fremon Craig, Based on the book by Judy Blume; Lionsgate
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” Screenplay by Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese, Based on the book by David Grann; Apple Original Films
“Nyad ,” Screenplay by Julia Cox, Based on the book “Find a Way” by Diana Nyad; Netflix
“ Oppenheimer ,” Screenplay by Christopher Nolan, Based on the book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin; Universal Pictures
“Bella!,” Written by Jeff L. Lieberman; Re-Emerging Films
“It Ain’t Over,” Written by Sean Mullin; Sony Pictures Classics
“The Pigeon Tunnel,” Written by Errol Morris; Apple Original Films
“Stamped from the Beginning,” Written by David Teague, Based on the book Stamped From the Beginning by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi; Netflix
“What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears?,” Written by John Scheinfeld; Abramorama
TELEVISION, NEW MEDIA, AND NEWS NOMINEES
“The Crown,” Written by Peter Morgan; Netflix
“The Curse,” Written by Carmen Christopher, Nathan Fielder, Alex Huggins, Carrie Kemper, Benny Safdie; Showtime
“The Last of Us,” Written by Neil Druckmann, Halley Gross, Craig Mazin, Bo Shim; HBO | Max
“Succession,” Written by Will Arbery, Jesse Armstrong, Miriam Battye, Jon Brown, Jamie Carragher, Ted Cohen, Nate Elston, Francesca Gardiner, Callie Hersheway, Lucy Prebble, Georgia Pritchett, Tony Roche, Susan Soon He Stanton, Will Tracy; HBO | Max
“Abbott Elementary,” Written by Quinta Brunson, Ava Coleman, Riley Dufurrena, Justin Halpern, Joya McCrory, Morgan Murphy, Brittani Nichols, Kate Peterman, Brian Rubenstein, Patrick Schumacker, Justin Tan, Jordan Temple, Garrett Werner; ABC
“Barry,” Written by Emma Barrie, Alec Berg, Duffy Boudreau, Bill Hader, Nicky Hirsch, Taofik Kolade, Liz Sarnoff; HBO | Max
“The Bear,” Written by Karen Joseph Adcock, Joanna Calo, Kelly Galuska, Rene Gube, Sofya Levitsky-Weitz, Stacy Osei-Kuffour, Alex Russell, Catherine Schetina, Christopher Storer; FX Networks
“Jury Duty,” Written by Tanner Bean, Lee Eisenberg, Marcos Gonzalez, Cody Heller, Mekki Leeper, Katrina Mathewson, Kerry O’Neill, Ese Shaw, Gene Stupnitsky, Andrew Weinberg, Evan Williams; Amazon Freevee
“Only Murders in the Building,” Written by Matteo Borghese, Madeleine George, Sas E. Goldberg, Joshua Allen Griffith, John Hoffman, Elaine Ko, Noah Levine, Tess Morris, J.J. Philbin, Ben Philippe, Jake Schnesel, Ben Smith, Siena Streiber, Pete Swanson, Rob Turbovsky; Hulu
“The Diplomat,” Written by Eli Attie, Debora Cahn, Mia Chung, Anna Hagen, Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom, Peter Noah;Netflix
“Poker Face,” Written by Christine Boylan, Wyatt Cain, Chris Downey, CS Fischer, Rian Johnson, Alice Ju, Joe Lawson, Natasha Lyonne, Charlie Peppers, Lilla Zuckerman, Nora Zuckerman; Peacock
“Shrinking,” Written by Wally Baram, Rachna Fruchbom, Brian Gallivan, Neil Goldman, Brett Goldstein, Bill Lawrence, Annie Mebane, Bill Posley, Jason Segel, Sofia Selig; Apple TV+
“A Murder at the End of the World,” Written by Zal Batmanglij, Cherie Dimaline, Brit Marling, Melanie Marnich, Rebecca Roanhorse; FX Networks
“Beef,” Written by Joanna Calo, Bathsheba Doran, Jean Kyoung Frazier, Niko Gutierrez-Kovner, Lee Sung Jin, Alice Ju, Carrie Kemper, Mike Makowsky, Marie Hanhnhon Nguyen, Kevin Rosen, Alex Russell; Netflix
“Fargo,” Written by Thomas Bezucha, Bob DeLaurentis, Noah Hawley, April Shih; FX Networks
“Lessons in Chemistry,” Written by Victoria Bata, Lee Eisenberg, Hannah Fidell, Emily Jane Fox, Susannah Grant, Rosa Handelman, Elissa Karasik, Boo Killebrew, Mfoniso Udofia; Apple TV+
TV & NEW MEDIA MOTION PICTURES
“Finestkind,” Written by Brian Helgeland; Paramount +
“Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie,” Written by Andy Breckman; Peacock
“No One Will Save You,” Written by Brian Duffield; Hulu
“Quiz Lady,” Written by Jen D’Angelo; Hulu
“Totally Killer,” Screenplay by David Matalon & Sasha Perl-Raver and Jen D’Angelo, Story by David Matalon & Sasha Perl-Raver; Prime Video
“A Mid-Childhood Night’s Dream” (The Simpsons), Written by Carolyn Omine; Fox
“Carl Carlson Rides Again” (The Simpsons), Written by Loni Steele Sosthand; Fox
“Homer’s Adventure Through the Windshield Glass” (The Simpsons), Written by Tim Long; Fox
“I Know What You Did Next Xmas” (Futurama), Written by Ariel Ladensohn; Hulu
“Thirst Trap: A Corporate Love Story” (The Simpsons), Written by Rob LaZebnik; Fox
“Crown Jewels” (Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story), Written by Shonda Rhimes; Netflix
“Kill List” (Succession), Written by Jon Brown & Ted Cohen; HBO | Max
“The Last Generation” (Star Trek: Picard), Written by Terry Matalas; Paramount +
“Living+” (Succession), Written by Georgia Pritchett & Will Arbery; HBO | Max
“Our Black Shining Prince” (Godfather of Harlem), Written by Chris Brancato & Michael Panes; MGM+
“Sleep, Dearie Sleep” (The Crown), Written by Peter Morgan; Netflix
“Escape From Shit Mountain” (Poker Face), Written by Nora Zuckerman & Lilla Zuckerman; Peacock
“Fishes” (The Bear), Written by Joanna Calo & Christopher Storer; FX Networks
“Forks” (The Bear), Written by Alex Russell; FX Networks
“House Made of Bongs” (Reservation Dogs), Written by Tommy Pico and Sterlin Harjo; FX Networks
“Ice” (The Great), Written by Tony McNamara; Hulu
“Pride Parade” (What We Do in the Shadows), Written by Jake Bender & Zach Dunn; FX Networks
COMEDY/VARIETY TALK SERIES
“The Daily Show,” Head Writer Dan Amira Senior Writers Daniel Radosh, Lauren Sarver Means Writers David Angelo, Nicole Conlan, Devin Delliquanti, Anthony DeVito, Zach DiLanzo, Jennifer Flanz, Jason Gilbert, Dina Hashem, Scott Hercman, Josh Johnson, David Kibuuka, Matt Koff, Lenny Marcus, Joseph Opio, Randall Otis, Zhubin Parang, Kat Radley, Lanee’ Sanders, Scott Sherman, Ashton Womack, Sophie Zucker; Comedy Central
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” Senior Writers Daniel O’Brien, Owen Parsons, Charlie Redd, Joanna Rothkopf, Seena Vali Writers Johnathan Appel, Ali Barthwell, Tim Carvell, Liz Hynes, Ryan Ken, Mark Kramer, Sofia Manfredi, John Oliver, Taylor Kay Phillips, Chrissy Shackelford; HBO | Max
“Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Head Writer Alex Baze Writing Supervised By Seth Reiss, Mike Scollins Closer Look Writing Supervised By Sal Gentile Writers Jermaine Affonso, Karen Chee, Bryan Donaldson, Matt Goldich, Dina Gusovsky, Jenny Hagel, Allison Hord, Mike Karnell, John Lutz, Seth Meyers, Ian Morgan, Amber Ruffin, Mike Shoemaker, Ben Warheit, Jeff Wright; NBC Universal Television
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Head Writers Ariel Dumas, Jay Katsir WritersDelmonte Bent, Michael Brumm, Aaron Cohen, Stephen T. Colbert, Paul Dinello, Glenn Eichler, Gabe Gronli, Barry Julien, Michael Cruz Kayne, Eliana Kwartler, Matt Lapin, Caroline Lazar, Pratima Mani, Carlos Felipe Torres Medina, Opus Moreschi, Carley Moseley, Asher Perlman, Michael Pielocik, Tom Purcell, Kate Sidley, Brian Stack, John Thibodeaux, Steve Waltien; CBS Studios
“The Problem with Jon Stewart,” Head Writer Kris Acimovic Writers Henrik Blix, Rob Christensen, Jay Jurden, Alexa Loftus, Tocarra Mallard, Maria Randazzo, Robby Slowick, Jon Stewart, Kasaun Wilson; Apple TV+
COMEDY/VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
“History of the World, Part II,” Writers Ike Barinholtz, Emmy Blotnick, Guy Branum, Owen Burke, Adam Countee, Lance Crouther, Ana Fabrega, Fran Gillespie, Janelle James, Jennifer Kim, Nick Kroll, Sergio Serna, David Stassen, Wanda Sykes; Hulu
“How To with John Wilson,” Written by John Wilson, Michael Koman, Allie Viti; HBO | Max
“I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson,” Writers Tim Robinson, Zach Kanin, John Solomon, Gary Richardson, Reggie Henke, Brendan Jennings, Patti Harrison; Netflix
“Saturday Night Live,” Head Writers Kent Sublette, Alison Gates, Streeter Seidell Writers Rosebud Baker, Dan Bulla, Megan Callahan-Shah, Michael Che, Mike DiCenzo, Alex English, Jimmy Fowlie, Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, Steve Higgins, Vannessa Jackson, Colin Jost, Erik Kenward, Steve Koren, Ben Marshall, Dennis McNicholas, Lorne Michaels, Jake Nordwind, Ceara O’Sullivan, Josh Patten, Gary Richardson, Pete Schultz, KC Shornima, Ben Silva, Will Stephen, Bryan Tucker, Asha Ward, Auguste White, Celeste Yim; NBC
“Adam Sandler: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor,” Written by Jon Macks, Rita Brent, Jeff Stilson, Meggie McFadden; CNN
“Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love,” Written by Jon Macks, Carol Leifer; NBC
“Marc Maron: From Bleak to Dark,” Written by Marc Maron; HBO | Max
“Sarah Silverman: Someone You Love,” Written by Sarah Silverman; HBO | Max
QUIZ AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
“The Chase,” Head Writer David Levinson Wilk Writers Erik Agard, Kyle Beakley, Micki Boden, Megan Broussard, Jonathan Daly, Brian Greene, Robert King, Jason Lundell, Sierra Mannie, Amy Ozols, Bobby Patton, Ellen Teitel, Ari Yolkut; NBC
“Jeopardy!,” Writers Marcus Brown, Michael Davies, John Duarte, Mark Gaberman, Debbie Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Billy Wisse;ABC
“Weakest Link,” Head Writer Ann Slichter Writers Chip Dornell, Ryan Hopak, Walter Kelly, Stuart Krasnow, Jon Macks, Meggie McFadden, Rylee Newton, Ryan O’Dowd, Scott Saltzburg, Doug Shaffer, Aaron Solomon, Grant Taylor, Mia Taylor; NBC
“Days of Our Lives,” Head Writer Ron Carlivati Creative Consultant Ryan Quan Writers Sonja Alar, Jazmen Darnell Brown, Joanna Cohen, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Cheryl Davis, Kirk Doering, Christopher Dunn, Jamey Giddens, David Kreizman, Henry Newman, Dave Ryan, Katherine D. Schock; Peacock
“General Hospital,” Head Writers Dan O’Connor, Chris Van Etten Writers Ashley Cook, Emily Culliton, Suzanne Flynn, Charlotte Gibson, Lucky Gold, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, Shannon Peace, Stacey Pulwer, Dave Rupel, Lisa Seidman, Scott Sickles; ABC
CHILDREN’S EPISODIC, LONG FORM AND SPECIALS
“The Ballad of the Last Men” (Sweet Tooth), Written by Jim Mickle & Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt; Netflix
“I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher” (Percy Jackson and the Olympians), Written by Rick Riordan & Jonathan E. Steinberg; Disney+
“Romance Dawn” (One Piece), Written by Matt Owens & Steven Maeda; Netflix
“Say Cheese and Die!” (Goosebumps), Written by Rob Letterman & Nicholas Stoller; Disney+
“What Guy Are You” (American Born Chinese), Written by Kelvin Yu & Charles Yu; Disney+
SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA
“Carpool Karaoke,” Written by Casey Stewart, David Young; Apple TV+
“Command Z,” Written by Kurt Andersen, Larry Doyle, Emily Flake, Akilah Hughes, Jiehae Park, Chloe Radcliffe, Nell Scovell, Roy Wood, Jr.; commandzseries.com
“The Busing Battleground” (American Experience), Written by Sharon Grimberg; PBS
“Clarence and Ginni Thomas: Politics, Power and the Supreme Court” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS
“Episode One: Blood Memory” (The American Buffalo), Written by Dayton Duncan; PBS
NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“Black History Month – Hall Of Fame Hero” (CBS News New York), Written by Joe McLaughlin; WCBS-TV
“Deadly Tornadoes Unleash Terror Across the Central U.S.” (CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell), Written by James Hutton, Rob Rivielle; CBS News
“Surprise Attack!” (CBS Weekend News), Written by J. Craig Wilson, Ambrose Raferty; CBS News
NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Healing and Hope” (60 Minutes), Written by Scott Pelley, Nicole Young, Kristin Steve; CBS News
“Hide and Seek” (60 Minutes), Written by Sharyn Alfonsi, Oriana Zill de Granados; CBS News
“Put To The Test” (CBS Sunday Morning), Written by Richard Buddenhagen, Lesley Stahl; CBS News
“Targeting Seniors” (60 Minutes), Written by Sharyn Alfonsi, Emily Gordon, Oriana Zill de Granados; CBS News
“How Paris Kicked Out the Cars,” Written by Henry Grabar; Slate
“The Persuaders: A 5-Part Investigation into the Union-Busting Industry,” Written by Dave Jamieson; HuffPost
“The Rise of ‘Gas Station Heroin,’” Written by Manisha Krishnan; Vice News
“Want to Stare Into the Republican Soul in 2023?,” Written by Alexander Sammon; Slate
“The Woman on the Line,” Written by Aymann Ismail and Mary Harris; Slate
“America’s Blackest Child” (Slow Burn: Becoming Justice Thomas), Written by Joel Anderson; Slate
“The Black Box: Even AI’s creators don’t understand it” (Unexplainable), Written by Noam Hassenfeld; Vox
“The Call” (This American Life), Written by Mary Harris; Slate
“Emmery” (Party Crews: The Untold Story), Written by Janice Llamoca; Vice
“Expecting: Pregnancy Souvenirs” (Unexplainable), Written by Byrd Pinkerton; Vox
RADIO/AUDIO NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“The Ballad of Tucker Carlson” (What Next), Written by Paige Osburn and Mary Harris; Slate
“World News This Week – Week of March 17, 2023,” Written by Joy Piazza; ABC News Radio
“World News Roundup Late Edition – October 9, 2023,” Written by Spencer Raine; CBS News
RADIO/AUDIO NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“The Diagnosis Was Fatal. She Couldn’t Get an Abortion” (What Next), Written by Madeline Ducharme and Mary Harris; Slate
“Lacrosse – Spirit of the Land” (ABC News Radio), Written by Robert Hawley; ABC News
“Stephen King Is Just as Confused About Blue Checks as You Are” (What Next: TBD), Written by Lizzie O’Leary and Evan Campbell; Slate
PROMOTIONAL WRITING NOMINEES
ON AIR PROMOTION
“Cross Walk, Cyber Bullying, VR Meditation” (KCAL News), Written by Adam Thiele; CBS News
“Strange New Promos,” Written by Molly Neylan; CBS / Paramount+
“WCBS AM Promos,” Written by Bill Tynan; WCBS Newsradio 880
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