You’re right, Jack Preston King , in that Ev Williams has made his five-year plan abundantly clear; and that is to turn Medium into the world monopoly of NON-FICTION journalism (and the world’s largest repository of self-help articles). Literary fiction is nowhere to be found in that statement of his mission. The fact that Fiction continues to be forever banished from the links at the top of the page and continues to not have a front page feed reiterates the Medium mission beyond a shadow of a doubt.
No doubt the Medium Staff has noticed that people have been complaining about this for years but nothing has been done about it. Why? Because fiction goes against Ev’s vision of Medium. In the two and a half years I’ve been on Medium one of the biggest problems being complained about is the very troubling lack of ‘discoverability.’ But after at least two and a half years of complaints about this nothing has been done about this problem either. Any hopes of discoverability is left totally in the hands of a tiny editorial curating staff; a staff tasked with sticking religiously to Ev’s future vison.
Jack, we are not at the “very beginning” of a 5-year plan. We are a few months into that plan. We may still be at the beginning but we’re not at the “very beginning.” We are now in the phase where all the many problems are surfacing. This is where Medium’s responses to these problems will show us what we can expect. While Medium continues to shun literary fiction and while they continue to keep discoverability strictly in the hands of a tiny curating staff, how they respond to the restriction of locked stories from publications will show us all even more about what their true objectives are.
It seems to me that one of their primary objectives is to retain as much absolute control over what Medium readers see and read. What is not so clear is their objectives towards publications (small, non-corporate publications). Medium publications and the Partnership Program are currently in a state of irreconcilable differences. They simply do not work together in any way that is positive to BOTH publications or authors. How Medium solves this glaring problem is one of the biggest hurdles it has faced since starting the Partnership Program. I hope that the Medium Staff realizes that how it solves this dilemma will be extremely revelatory as to the true nature of Medium’s mission goals.
Earlier this evening a Medium publication contacted me to ask me if I would allow a story that I had written this morning to be included in their publication. In the two and a half years I’ve been on Medium this is the very first time this has ever happened. I didn’t know what to think. The notification went on to state that by agreeing to allow my article to be included in that publication I waived all my rights to lock the story and receive any compensation for it and that I acknowledged that the publication had the right to lock the story and receive 100% of any compensation for the story. It may as well have read, “Would you be willing to pull down your pants and bend over.”
I wrote that story in like 11 minutes. I was in a fowl mood when I wrote it and writing it was an attempt on my part to pull myself out of that fowl mood. It was a throwaway story if ever there was one.
So I figured if I was going to throw a story away I may as well give it to a publication and let them reap any rewards that might possibly come from it. After all, I happen to really like that publication. I’ve had a tiny few stories published there and I thoroughly love the owner. If I can help her publication then that is fine by me. It’s all about giving, right?
But this may very well be the last time I give my writing away for free so that someone else can make money on it. Sure, I realize the importance of giving but I also know the importance of eating and keeping a roof over my head and keeping the electricity on so that I can keep writing. Perhaps this is something the wealthy elite of the Medium hierarchy do not understand. Perhaps they are blissfully unaware of how life is like outside of San Francisco.
I hereby go on strike. I hereby refuse to no longer give any of my hard work to any Medium publication until the publication and the author are at least equally compensated (without the writer having to pay a fee — or subscription — to the publication which automatically makes it unequal).
If enough of us go on this strike then perhaps Medium and Medium publications will start to listen and work towards resolving this glaring problem. Maybe, just maybe, all the money will not flow to the top as in the current system and some of it will flow to the bottom where the actual writers of the content reside. Perhaps quality will finally start being rewarded on Medium instead of just quantity.
It’s a long shot but I am praying each day that this utopian ideal comes to fruition. What better place for it to happen than on Medium? If only we can catch the ear of Ev Williams and his staff of yes-men. That, in itself, is a long shot. While we wait for that to happen we have each other. So please let’s keep supporting each other. Please.