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A nonprofit magazine called NFT (Nerd For Tech) with a Medium account (https://editorialteamnft.medium.com/) and its own website (https://www.nerdfortech.org/) contacted me out of the blue at my Medium blog and said they liked one particular nonfiction (recreational mathematics/math education) article of mine (https://bartshmatthew.medium.com/its-easy-to-convert-from-base-ten-to-base-one-thousand-ae0bf72d53d4) that I had published on my Medium blog. They added that they wanted to feature it.

But then their system said they never pay for articles, and I would retain full ownership and could remove it from their system whenever I wanted. The 'nonprofit' Medium account has a couple of thousand followers. I couldn't find anything on Google about the website.

I am a complete writing for publication noob, having never sold any writing, nor ever tried to, so I was quite surprised and pleased by this.

Then I thought, why not negotiate for payment? After all, even a pittance would allow me to say honestly that I had sold the article (or at least got paid), making me a professional writer. Is there any chance they would make an exception in my case, and pay me some money?

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  • They may or they may not. I don't see yet how we could help you. What is your actual question besides the fortune-telling?
    – Matt
    May 11 at 7:18
  • My 2¢: Anyone can set up a website calling themselves a "magazine" or any other noun they like. If they don't pay their writers, then they are not a professional outlet. Of course, there's nothing wrong with publishing in a non-professional outlet, such as Medium itself, but these NFT people contacted you.
    – Kevin
    May 11 at 18:32
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Legalese is your friend:

I suspect you may want to consult a lawyer. If you have a legal service, they may give you an off-the-cuff opinion about if these folks are legit or not. Their legitimacy is more of a concern, I think. Don't sign anything or permit anything until you ask a lawyer. But I doubt they'll pay you anything if they don't actually pay for articles. If, however, you want exposure to eventually start selling articles, it doesn't sound like a bad idea.

Unless you sell them the article, it is true you retain all legal rights to it, and often even after you sell it. But this isn't my area of expertise, so don't take my unsupported word. If you are considering this as a career (or at least a side-hustle), then the money spent checking with a lawyer is an investment and an education.

I find it interesting they came to you. Perhaps this article is better than you thought. Look at similar magazines that DO pay for articles, and see if any of them would be interested in buying it. Just because one non-profit won't pay you doesn't mean others won't.

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It is very unlikely that a Medium publication would pay. I am not aware of any that do. That is because Medium itself pays if you sign up to be paid. Essentially, if you write for Medium and you tick the box which says for members only, they will pay if enough people read your post. I am simplifying it, but the more people that read your article, the more you get paid.

If a publication takes your post, people are more likely to read it. The popularity of the publication matters. I linked an article to a publication and then found it had virtually no followers. I got paid very little. Having said that, if you post without a publication, you are unlikely to get more than a couple of readers.

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