Here’s my strategy:
- When I write a clever piece for a wide audience, it does okay whether I lock it or not. Unlocking a story always boosts traffic.
- Sometimes, my locked stories bomb hard. I wrote this cute piece where cats give life advice. Barely made me $20, but that’s fine. You can’t predict what hits.
- When I get Kerouac-level drunk and write about sex or dating, then I lock it from the start and they do really well.
I just try to balance locked and unlocked stories based on how I feel about each post when I’m done writing.
As for being discovered by NYT, or some literary agent? I wouldn’t fret that. I’ve had free stories bomb, and locked ones get thousands of reads. My guess is that any editor or agent who truly wants to find new talent on Medium will cough up the $5 a month, right?
Hope this helps!