Medium and Substack: my experience so far

Alexei Sorokin
5 min readDec 1, 2023

I started writing on Medium in October 2021 and stayed consistent. My story count exceeds 700. The Medium enhanced stats extension shows a total reach of almost 600K and 300K reads.

My first viral story happened already in the first month of writing on Medium. I’m a little embarrassed about it in light of what happened just several months later, but it’s okay. I don’t delete or sterilize my past writing. Everything I wrote, even if it sounds different as time goes by — is the output of my creative mind. By the way, finding that story just now so I could copy the link took a lot of scrolling. I’m a little in awe of how much I produced. I’m not commenting on the quality but the quantity is impressive.

I never had a niche, and I still don’t. My strategy was “build it, they will come,” and it largely worked, though it’s all relative, of course. I benefited, cynical though it sounds, from the Russia-Ukraine war because my stories were read a lot in the early months of the conflict, and I got a lot of followers. But I don’t feel like I “milked” the topic. I wrote when I had strong feelings and something to say. Otherwise, I continued to cover a variety of topics: running, family, entrepreneurship, current affairs, pop culture, and life in general.

Early in my Medium journey, I promised never to write about my earnings. I find such stories by other authors meaningless and annoying. So I won’t. That’s not to say I don’t care about earnings. In some months, my Medium money significantly contributed to my income. But the earnings are volatile and have tanked in the last four months. In one of my stories, I ranted about the new, supposedly improved Medium algorithm but ultimately accepted the new, almost-moneyless reality.

Why? Because I care more about the followers and building my audience. If I stay consistent with my writing, good things will happen eventually.

I started writing on Substack in the spring of 2022. I was so bullish about my writing that I launched two publications. One was about running, my life’s biggest passion, and the other was supposed to be similar to Medium but more intimate and maybe higher quality. I called it Alexei’s Eclectic.

At the end of every Medium Story, I’d leave links to both of my Substack publications. I had people subscribe, and some even pay, especially for Eclectic.

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Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. https://runningwritingliving.substack.com/