Hey Jenny— I know, right? A lot of us feel that way. Let me tell you a short story, and the point isn’t what it might seem at first. I have been here a long time, too. On Friday, I sent my first email to my brand new list. And you know what? I had more opens than I have subscribers. I could have cried. Why did I never do this before? I dunno. Because I didn’t “have to” I suppose.

The point isn’t me or my list. It’s this. The changes at Medium are making us think about things we didn’t have to think about before. Like, how to connect with our readers, how to bring them back, and who they are in the first place.

Under the old system, we got to know each other in small increments. People who like poetry, for example — everyone who writes poetry knows a handful of others who do. Under the old system, there was a lot of “clap to support” going on. We saw that in the FB groups. Drop a post on FB and know that some measure of people will clap. Whether they actually read, that’s another story. Some did, some didn’t.

I read a post by a young woman who said the changes make it so much harder to support the people she likes. Because before she could just clap, but now she would have to read, and there’s not enough time in the day to read all the people she likes and write and work and mother, too. And that’s really the crux of the problem. You know? I think that’s why the changes happened.

All the things you said — Patreon, Twitter, Fiverr — they are all possibilities, of course. The problem is that the same issue will happen on all of those sites. Tweeting to crickets, setting up a fiverr that no one knows exists, and Patreon is probably the worse, because it shows how much each person is earning. So when people click the Patreon and see that you have 2 backers and earn $10/month, well — there’s no social proof. You know?

I think what we need to be doing is building a list. Because when you have a list, as it grows, it becomes easier. Then you can email the list and say hey, I started a Patreon and actually see some signups.

A simple substack, maybe to say “Can I send you my best poem every week?” or “start your day with a poem” or something like that. Whatever feels right to you. And then put it at the bottom of every poem you post. And heck, go back and add it to the old ones, too.

I bet you’ll grow like crazy. Because you write more wins than duds, and because you are loved here. The change was a shock to all of us, mostly because we got complacent. All we had to do was write, hang out, read, as you put it. Now we have to think farther. It’s frustrating, for sure, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing in the long run. Because those of us who do get to work building our own audience will have an asset we never had before.

Sorry this was so long. I didn’t want to leave some brief and trite reply because the concern is real and many of us share it right now. ❤

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