You have done what few are able to do successfully (myself included). You have in a very short amount of time created a successful platform (or as some call it “brand”). You’ve amassed a sizable following on both Medium (7,900 Followers) and Twitter (14,000 Followers). You’ve created a brand awareness for “SF Ali.” This is not an easy thing to do and should not be taken likely. For that, I applaud you.
As Orisirisi, Bettye C., and other have said (and I join them from a place warm affection when I say this), you owe it to yourself pursue any one of the traditional publishing routes. Is it easy? No, but nothing of value comes easily. Is it worth it? Yes. What do you have to lose? Nothing. Worst case scenario, if you don’t like it, you can continue to write for free. But you owe it to yourself to be compensated for both your work and worth. That’s not selling out or pimping anyone. You have a thing that people are willing to pay for—talent, insight, perspective, stories. You have no idea how many other brown, black, and many other color lives you will touch. There are too many out there who feel that they are “the only ones” who are dealing with struggles you have brought to light in your writing.
There are so many other people you can reach who do not have access to Medium. Your stories are stories that need to be shared and heard. To quote @lolasleggz, “share them with everyone, not just on Medium for free.”
I hope you receive this in the spirit it is intended, and that is in support of and encouragement to someone I find very talented—you.
If you’re unsure about how to go about doing the publishing thing, be it indie or traditional, there are so very many people who would be more than happy to share what they know. Like who? Me, for one!