October Update From the Partner Program

Improving the earnings model, ZORA call for submissions, writing advice, and story spotlights

Medium Creators
The Medium Blog
5 min readOct 28, 2019


Photo: Yaroslav Kushta/Getty Images

It’s that time again of autumn, feeling the transitions, and making space for moments of growth. We’re starting this newsletter with a big announcement: We’ve recently updated the earnings model for writers on Medium. Read more about this update below, followed by a call for submissions from ZORA, a new Human Parts series on writing advice, and a highlight of the winner from Slackjaw’s Humor Writing Contest. We’ve also included a few story spotlights with editor commentary and writing tips to help improve your writing. As always, thanks for writing on Medium.

Earnings model updates

Last week, Medium shared an announcement from

, product manager at Medium, on improvements to how we calculate your stories’ earnings. As of today, October 28, those changes are now live!

Here’s a recap of what’s changing:

  1. We will calculate earnings based on the reading time of Medium members.
  2. We will include reading time from non-members too, once they become members.
  3. Your earnings will be updated daily, not weekly.
  4. Your story stats will show new metrics to explain your earnings.

For more details, please read last week’s announcement. Overall, our aim is to reward the quality stories that resonate with readers, as well as to improve clarity and transparency around your earnings.

As of today, we’re using the new model to calculate earnings. Here are upcoming important dates:

  1. Over the next few days, you will gain access to your updated earnings dashboard and a revamped story stats page for each of your stories. For questions, see our stats FAQ.
  2. By Wednesday, October 30, as usual, we will kick off your payments with the old model for October (September 30 to October 27).
  3. By Friday, November 8, we will kick off your first payment with the new model, covering only earnings for October 28 to 31. Moving forward, we will send monthly payments by the 8th of the following month. For details, see our earnings FAQ.

You can also see a writeup from TechCrunch about the improvements.

Call for submissions from ZORA

Senior Editor

and the ZORA team are honored to showcase perspectives from Midwesterners who explore what it means to be Black, female, and from the Midwest. Excessive media coverage has been devoted to the heartland of America, but there has been unevenness — and downright neglect — of covering those who do not fit the expected profile of a White Trump supporter. This discrepancy is what inspired our upcoming “Black in the Midwest” series as a way to fill in the gaps and broaden our viewpoints as we prepare for the 2020 presidential election. These homages about Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Kansas, are introspective and robust but do not cover the entire region. This is where you come in.

ZORA is seeking submissions from Black female Midwesterners on topics that are firmly rooted in their hometowns. Whether it be a personal essay, reported piece, or a hybrid of the two, we are looking for strong narratives that are both specific and speak to larger issues. If you have a story that you think will fit, please submit it to zora@medium.com.

A new series on writing advice in Human Parts

What is good writing? How can you “find your voice”? These are questions all writers ask. We have answers. In The Draft, a biweekly column from Human Parts, former MFA director

answers your questions about storycraft, writing, and how to tell the truth in words. In the first story, “How to Tell the Truth,” Pollack answers the question: “In creative nonfiction, how much of your life can you embellish?” Stay tuned for more updates and advice in this series. You can submit your questions on creative writing here.

Slackjaw story competition

In a previous update, we shared Slackjaw’s Humor Writing Challenge. They pored over the submissions to pick a winner and a few runners-up. Slackjaw’s judges panel chose

’s “Ernest Hemingway at the Taco Bell Cantina” as the winner of their Humor Writing Challenge. , editor at Slackjaw, says, “It’s a dark and compelling literary parody, beautifully written, with a great mix of jokes about tacos, frozen margaritas, and getting punched in the face.”

The second-place winner was “New — It’s Adjunct Barbie™!” You can read more about the Slackjaw challenge and find the complete Top 15 finalist list here.

Story spotlights

Medium editors are always on the lookout for great stories published on the platform. Just like last month, we’ll spotlight a few stories that Medium editors found and brought into their publications. They’ve worked with the authors to edit and produce the stories. Read more to learn what the editors found compelling in these stories.

Human Parts
In “It’s All Process,”

highlights the in-betweens in our lives, and our fixation on the beginnings and ends. “Danielle Morgan’s dynamic, illustrated reflection on creativity reminded me of the possibilities for creators on Medium,” says , deputy editor at Human Parts. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

In “Computer Files Are Going Extinct,”

waxes nostalgic about files as we shift to the cloud. “Simon Pitt’s ode to the dying computer file immediately caught my eye,” says , platform editor of OneZero. “It was such a loving tech story clearly written by a true geek.”

Formatting your title and subtitle

The header and preview of your stories are the first impression. When you format them properly, you improve their readability, and your readers will appreciate it. We offered some advice in an earlier newsletter update and fleshed it out further in “Tips for Formatting Your Title and Headers.” Formatting your headers is a simple edit that will make your stories look great.

Tips on submitting to publications

Publications can be a means to further distribute your stories to readers. How might you pick ones to submit to? What’s important to know about the process? We’ve created a quick intro guide: “If You Are Looking to Write for Publications, Start Here.”

October payments

On October 28, we processed payments for the month of September 30 to October 27. This was the final period for which we calculated earnings based on the old model (distributing each member’s $5/month based on their engagement last month).

Based on member engagement from this period:

  • 59% of writers or publications who wrote at least one story for members earned money.
  • 9% of active writers earned over $100.
  • $24,438.59 was the most earned by a writer, and $6,783.28 was the most earned for a single story.

Words to write by

This month’s advice comes from the first story in the The Draft, the new series in Human Parts. In “How to Tell the Truth,” Eileen Pollack describes ways to keep your stories genuine and maintain reader trust in writing creative nonfiction.

“What’s creative about creative nonfiction is the writer’s determination to speak in a natural voice rather than hide behind the manufactured doublespeak of the military-industrial-governmental-academic complex.”

For more writing inspiration, check out the stories in the Writing topic.

Keep at it,


, Writer Advocate

This monthly newsletter is emailed to all writers enrolled in the Partner Program. Learn more about earning money for your best work on Medium here.