Medium 101

If You Are Looking to Write for Publications, Start Here

Tips and important considerations for submitting to publications

Photo: FrankRamspott/Getty Images

On Medium you’ll find stories from both individual writers and publications. Publications may vary in size and scope, may be powered by a single writer or multiple writers, but they generally feature stories written under a common theme.

There are a number of different types of publications on Medium. Some publications, like Forge, ZORA, and Debugger are run by Medium’s content group. Others, like the New York Times and Forbes, are syndicated publications. There are publications Medium partners with like Towards Data Science, Mind Cafe, and An Injustice! And there are many user-generated publications that feature all kinds of writers and topics. Each publication has its own subject area, submission policies, audience, and publishing practices, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the publication before submitting to them.

A few things to consider:

  • What kinds of stories are featured in the publication? Browse the publication to better understand the types of stories it publishes. Look at the overall quality of the writing in the publication, and look at how the stories are formatted. Note the topics covered in the publication and the tone of the writing. Do they feel like a good fit for your style of writing and the topics you like to write about? As a reader, do you enjoy the stories in the publication? If the stories are compelling to you, that’s a great sign.
  • What is the publication’s focus? The most rewarding publications for writers tend to have a strong sense of focus. Browse the publication’s homepage and ask yourself: What is this publication’s unifying theme or focus area? Does it have one? Is the homepage organized in a way that feels intentional?
  • Who edits the publication? Who are the editors behind the publication? How do they describe themselves and their work on the publication’s homepage and about page? Do they publish on Medium? Click through to their profiles and browse their work.
  • What writers contribute to the publication? Look at the writers who contribute to the publication. Does their style, approach, area of focus feel similar to yours? Would you like to be featured alongside them?
  • What’s the submissions process like? Some publications use submission forms, some use an email address; some require you to publish on the platform first, and others request drafts. You can generally find this information under the submission guidelines listed in a publication’s header or on its about page, or by reaching out to the publication directly through email. Alternatively, editors may reach out after seeing your story published on the platform, finding it through topics or through browsing tags.
  • What level of control do you want to retain over your story? It’s important to be aware of some of the mechanics of working with a publication. A story can only be in one publication at a time, so placing your story in a publication that feels like the right fit is key. Once a story is included in a publication, the publication’s editors can see any private notes left on a story and can also see a story’s stats. Publication editors also have the ability to change your story, including making edits, changing tags, or adding content. This additional content sometimes takes the form of a “call to action” — such as an email sign-up — that benefits the publication, usually added at the end. Remember: Everything in your story is subject to the distribution guidelines, including anything added by a publication. When submitting to a publication, be sure you’re comfortable with any changes made to your work.

It’s also helpful to think through what your goals are in working with a publication. Your goals will help inform your strategy for submitting to publications. Here are a few possible motivations for working with a publication and how they may impact your publishing strategy:

  • Publishing for influence and recognition. If you’re interested in building a professional writing portfolio, you can find publications that have a strong reputation for quality writing and journalism. These publications include, but are not limited to, those run by Medium’s content group.
  • Editorial support. Some publications have editors on staff who will work with you to shape your story for publication. If you are looking for this kind of editorial support, seek out publications who provide editing services as part of the submission process.
  • Community. There are several communities, especially around writing and personal stories, on Medium. Generally, you can identify these community-driven publications by the volume of conversation and feedback happening in the story responses.
  • Hone your craft. These are similar to publications that cultivate community, but in this case, they are specific to the writing topic and provide advice and support.
  • Compensation. If you’re interested in getting paid for your writing, look into the publication’s submission guidelines and terms. Some publications will commission stories. Other publications may rely solely on Medium’s Partner Program for payouts.
  • Grow your readership. You can explore the stories within a publication to get an idea of the amount of engagement they generally receive. You can also explore topics to see which pubs contribute stories to topics you are interested in writing for. It can also be helpful to look into a publication’s social media presence: Who is their audience, and how do they promote their writers’ stories?

To get started with publications on Medium, try browsing your homepage and the topics you’re interested in covering. Notice which publications your favorite writers and stories appear in. You can also search for publications from the Medium homepage: just search keywords that interest you and click publications at the top of your search results.

For more information on publications, head to our help center.

To help you consider an offer from a publication, check out “On receiving private notes from publications.”

Tips, tricks, and tools for Medium creators

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