If you’re new and trying to navigate the online platforms for writers, it can be overwhelming. Amazon is omnipresent, but the second you join a writing group you hear about Vella, Radish, Medium, Vocal, and dozens of others.
It’s wild out there.
There is a lot of value in short form work. But where do you start? What platforms make sense, and which ones should you stay away from?
Here are just a few to look at:
Blogging is probably the most familiar of the online platform opportunities for a lot of us. This is the short-form content that we’re used to reading on websites. Little vignettes meant to entertain or inform. The posts that you may see on author websites or on sites like Scary Mommy and Her View From Home are blog posts. Some of the larger open platform blogging sites are:
Medium is where a lot of people start. It’s free to sign up, and you can pretty much post whatever you want and send it into the Medium ecosystem The site is broken into a ton of categories, ranging from news to fiction to narrative. Some popular topics on the site include technology, creativity, entrepreneurship, self, politics, productivity, and media. In order to get reads, you’re going to want to try to fall into a niche that is already in the ecosystem.
How it works: As a reader, it costs $5 a month to become a Medium partner and gain unlimited reads on the site. Readers respond to authors with claps. Those claps give the author of the article a fraction of their $5 fee. So, if you accumulate a ton of reads and a ton of claps, you can actually make a little bit of money.
Vocal is another blogging site, similar to Medium. On Vocal, however, you have to submit your content for approval and they don’t publish everything. The monthly traffic is also significantly smaller than Medium.
How it works: You get paid $3.80 for every 1000 views. If you’re a Vocal+ member, you’ll make $6 per 1000 views. You can also compete in competitions and receive tips from writers.
A lot of larger sites accept submissions and have some sort of pay structure for writers. If they accept submissions, they’ll have a form on their site, and tell you what they require. The whole story? An idea? Go through the process. Her View From Home, for example, has everything right there.
You can also try searching for lists, submissions calls, or scrolling Submittable.
This is newer to the world of online platforms for writers, but it is likely to keep growing. The pay-for-read/serial apps are platforms that allow you to publish your stories chapter by chapter. The writing tends to be episodic and each “chapter” feels like an episode. Readers pay to unlock each chapter.
Vella is Amazon’s serial app. It is new, and currently only available in the United States. Since it’s new, they seem to be offering monthly bonuses to help writers out. There’s not an application process for Vella writers, and the approval period after you post an episode verifies that the work is not posted elsewhere online.
You can pull your Vella, wait 30 days, and publish on Kindle Direct Publishing, if you so choose.
Things to keep in mind:
- Be consistent. The more you post, the more money you will make. At least, for now. Bonuses are rewarding prolific creators.
- Find Vella author discords to join.
- Don’t give up on quality. Just because it’s a serial doesn’t mean people don’t expect quality. Edit, and pay attention to cover design.
Things to keep in mind:
- The standard for writers is higher, and the output is rigorous.
- You WILL make some money.
- Because of the first two points, it may be harder to get in the door.
Radish is another serial app. Romance, mystery, thriller, and fantasy fiction are all found here, but it’s known for its romance. Romance is a little more stringent in its requirements (and involves an application process and a story pitch before you start posting.) However, all writers get paid.
These are all serial apps, similar to Radish. They offer various royalties, contract opportunities, etc. The success tends to depend entirely on the author and the situation.
WattPad is huge and has a wide user base. It has been around for a long time, and is accessible to everyone.
WattPad has its place, and a lot of people enjoy posting and engaging or using it for fanfiction. However, the platform only pays its top-tier writers and has had some serious problems with plagiarism.
Overall, this platform is fun and can get you some readers, especially in the fanfiction realm, but there’s no quality control and very little monetization opportunity.
Creating your own online platforms for writers
If you can’t find a fit, don’t let that discourage you. Your journey doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. If you want to create your own blog or social presence and share work, that’s awesome. Submit to anthologies. However you choose to get your work out there is okay.
About the Writer: Allie Gravitt is a mom of 3 and lives in metro Atlanta with a house full of animals and plants. Her debut poetry collection, prisonbreaks, and second collection Killing Ghosts are available now on Amazon. Follow Allie’s writing journey on TikTok and Instagram.