Hi! :) Thanks for your lovely words! :)
In my experience, the number of followers plays no role at all! I am actually tracking the number of my followers (just out of interest) and in December I had around 2.5K followers. So the number certainly increased through the successful articles, not the other way around.
What’s crazy is that right now I am getting around 100 new followers per day, I don’t know about other Medium writers but for me, that seems like a lot.
The number of average reads and views you get per article certainly increases with more followers, but again: in my experience, it’s curation that truly matters and even with no followers you can get curated — at least I’ve seen that a few times with other writers!
All the best on your Medium journey! :)