Why Fiction Writers Should Still Find a Home on Medium
An Update on the Fiction Landscape on Medium Since 2015
A couple years ago, I wrote a Medium post called “Why Fiction Writers Should Find a Home on Medium.” It’s by far my most read and recommended post, even though some of it is irrelevant in light of changes Medium has gone through since it was written.
The summer of 2015, when the post was published, I had only been writing on Medium for a few weeks and wanted to find a place to publish some short stories I’d written that I couldn’t find a paid home for. Even though I’ve loved fiction my entire life, two years ago was when I started writing short stories seriously, so I knew I needed to grow as a writer, but I also knew that I needed to find people to actually read my stories.
I was trying Medium out and I noticed that most of the popular posts were predominantly self-help, entrepreneurship, and listicle posts, but I was able to find a small thread of fiction writers who were publishing their stories on Medium. I loved Medium (I still do), and I decided that it could be a great place for people to read fiction as well as nonfiction. Hence, “Why Fiction Writers Should Find a Home on Medium.” If I could make a home for short stories on Medium, I wanted other writers to be encouraged to as well.
Where to Find Fiction on Medium
Two years later, and I’m excited to see a lot of fiction writers sharing their stories on Medium. A few of them that have made their mark with fiction are (and I’m going to intentionally keep this list brief in order to focus on the publications that specialize in fiction) Ernio Hernandez, Lizella Prescott, Jeff Elkins, Stephen M. Tomic, and many others you can find under the fiction tag.
I’ve especially been excited to see a lot more publications focused on publishing fiction.
- There is my personal favorite, The Weekly Knob, an innovative publication challenging writers to write from a visual prompt each week, led by Aura Wilming and S Lynn Knight.
- The Junction, led by Stephen M. Tomic, has been home to many stories I’ve read on Medium.
- Great Jones Street, led by Kelly Abbott, has been churning out some high quality fiction both here on Medium and on their app.
- The Unending Tales, led by Chad Allen Zollinger, has been doing some interesting things with serialized fiction.
- The Grimm Reaper, led by Lizella Prescott, is home to several re-mixed fairy tales.
- Panel & Frame, led by Brad Decker, is home to several short stories, including my own ode to Anakin Skywalker, “The Jedi’s Redemption.”
Undoubtedly, I’ve missed some good writers and publications, so feel free to add names in the responses.
What Remains the Same as a Fiction Writer on Medium?
Medium Streamlines Writing
Medium’s simple design frees writers to focus on writing rather than formatting. The formatting tools are minimal and intuitive. The Medium editor makes it easy to add pictures, headlines, links, and embedded web content. With Medium, what you see is what you get, and the design looks fantastic.
Medium Measures Reader Engagement
One of the best things about Medium is that you can see when a story you’ve written isn’t engaging readers from beginning to end because the metrics tell you how many people have viewed your story and how many people have read all the way through to the end. Plus, readers can now like your post multiple times through “claps.”
If the engagement metrics aren’t what you’re hoping for on a story, then you know to try something new with your next story.
Medium is Designed for Interaction
In addition to the “clap” feature where readers can tell you if they liked your story or absolutely loved it by how many claps they offer, readers can also leave responses at the bottom of your post. These are similar to comments on a blog, but they’re Medium posts in their own right, so people can respond to a response of your story. Whole conversations can be generated on Medium through responses.
An added bonus is that anyone who reads a response to your story has a link to your story, which could potentially widen your readership when someone’s response shows up in a person’s feed who has never heard of you or your stories.
People Browsing Medium are Looking for Something to Read
It’s still true. When I’m browsing Medium on my computer or through the app on my phone, I’m looking for something interesting to read. Everyone on Medium is, and while they’re still probably looking mostly for nonfiction posts to read, Medium is still a place people could discover a well-written short story you’ve written.
What Has Changed to Benefit Fiction Writers?
The Medium Partner Program
When Medium announced their new Partner Program, which would pay writers for highly engaged posts, I was beyond excited. For two years, I’d shared my short stories for free on Medium and even took them all down at one point because those were the posts I put the most of my heart into, and I hoped to submit them (after revisions) to publications eventually and get paid for them.
Becoming a Medium Partner, I was able to start generating a supplement to my teaching income by posting the stories I love most to write.
While it might be difficult to build a following on Medium with your fiction, if you can do it, you definitely want to take advantage of being a Medium Partner, especially now that it’s open to everyone.
Tom Farr is a writer, teacher, and storyteller who believes in crafting lies to tell the truth. When he’s not enjoying the good life with his beautiful wife Lindsey and their three much-adored children, he’s striving to create stories that thrill and inspire and preparing for the day Disney calls him to write a Star Wars movie. His work has also appeared on Panel & Frame, Wordhaus, Curiosity Never Killed the Writer, The Write Practice, and The Unsplash Book. Check out his fiction writing portfolio on Medium.