I’ve never been good at following the rules.
It’s one of the reasons that I became a writer right out of school. I knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else.
I was writing for this new blogging company once. The editor and I had very different ideas about what we should do for content. He wanted the writers to write certain articles despite my numerous protestations that these articles would lead to little to know views.
So I ummmm ignored him and wrote what I wanted.
I posted a short story, “The Curious Case of Emma Lee.”
That story caught traction, and it’s gone on to earn well over a thousand dollars for me over a couple platforms. I never would have posted it if I listened to the editor.
He was mad, but by the end of the week, I was the highest viewed writer. He was still mad, but by the second week, I was no longer working for him.
I was reporting to His boss directly.
Now, I did this because I was willing to bet on myself. I knew that what I wanted to do would work and I was fully willing to deal with the consequences.
This rule breaking mentality kept going.
I was initially hesitant about posting on Medium.
A quick perusal of the site showed little to no fiction. I found some stories, and some poetry, but still it certainly wasn’t featured.
I read the same advice over and over again.
Fiction doesn’t do well.
It’s all about personal essays and non-fiction.
This put me in a predicament. I don’t mind reading personal essays, and many of the ones I’ve read here are truly great. But, I have zero interest in writing them.
So I did what I always do. I marched to the beat of my own drummer.
So I started posting fiction. It worked out well, even though when I started posting fiction there wasn’t even a Fiction category. Fiction and Poetry were lumped together in a category called Lit.
And people started reading it. I posted stories often, and generally they were well received.
Also, I heard the fiction doesn’t make any money. I’m here to tell you that it does. I’ve always been in the top ten percent of the MPP, and and the vast majority of my money is from fiction.
All the while, I kept reading articles telling me to do the opposite of what I was doing.
You need to write short articles. Nothing over five minutes. No one will read it.
So I took it as a challenge.
I posted a story “My Last Day.”
My Last Day
The line moved slowly. We were herded like cattle in one long, single file line. The decor was surprisingly nice for a…
It’s a 13 minute read and it’s been viewed over 3 thousand times, and 2.3 thousand have come from Medium.
So it’s possible.
I realize this is entirely anecdotal evidence, but I also wish to show that it happens.
I wrote another story “Suspension.”
It’s a 17-minute read, and it has done well, and it was curated. Which is another guideline I see often. That only short pieces will be curated. But, I’ve seen plenty of longer pieces curated, both fiction and non-fiction.
Also, many people read that curation is the only way to get views, and that curation is your biggest worry. But I’ve had plenty of stories do well without distribution. Yes, it’s often a boost, but if you post regularly you’ll get eyes on your work. Also, plenty of times my highest earning piece in a week wasn’t curated so you can make money without it.
I write this not say that you shouldn’t follow all the guidelines. There are generally there for a reason. But, it can pay to push the boundaries.
It helps with everything.
You can allows do more, write more. You have to push the limits.
And, it helps that sometimes the best advice is to ignore all the advice.