Things To Know If You Want To Run Your Own Publication On Medium

Should you start one too?

Shannon Ashley
Jul 19, 2019 · 4 min read

I have a handful of my own pubs here on Medium:

Fyi, you're not allowed to have a publication with the word Medium in the name.

Another side note? You also can't give your publication a name that happens to be the username of a Medium member.

Yeah, so, I'm apparently a big fan of pink and peach colors, sheesh. And it's taken 15 months to own 4 publications, but to be fair, it's not as if I really run the pubs in a traditional way.

In fact, that's partly what I want to talk to you about.

Here are a few things you'll need to think about:

Topics and tags: what kind of stories will your publication cover?

Will your publication house your stories alone, or will you add other writers? If adding other writers, what are your submission guidelines? How heavily will you edit submissions (if at all)?

How much will you promote your publication? If you include other writers in the pub, I'd say that promotion is a bit more important than if you keep the publication for yourself. How will you promote the publication? ( Facebook, Quota, Twitter, and LinkedIn are just a few options.)

Will you keep an editorial calendar? Or any other type of schedule?

How about the look of your publication--will you aim for a more cohesive brand or let it be a hodgepodge?

If you'd like to add a writer to your publication, first ask them if they're interested! It's often offputting for a writer to be added to any publication without warning.

You don't own your writers or their stories. If they'd like to remove their stories, it typically pays to be kind and let them do so without a fight. If you don't like one of their stories elsewhere on Medium, think really hard before kicking them off of your publication.

If you're not ready to manage all of the editing yourself, you've got options. You can bring on an editor or two, or, if you trust your writers to create quality that you can believe in, you can give your writers editor status to go ahead and publish their stories onto the pub without waiting for review.

Of course, anyone who's an editor will also receive email notifications when drafts get added to the publication. So, not every writer will appreciate being an editor too.

Personally, I don't really feel up to the task of managing a publication with other writers. My time is limited and I'm not getting any less busy.

So, for now, my pubs are just for me and my writing ... maybe that will change down the road. But for now, I'm happy to keep it simple.

I think, if I do decide to collaborate on owning a pub and managing it for fellow writers, I will probably be very selective about the writers to avoid unnecessary drama. It may be a heavily curated publication too.

It's something to consider for the future.

Medium has a nice feature where you can send out a letter to the followers who have enabled emails from your pub. Sending out a letter is a great way to connect more deeply with your followers, but Medium isn't great about recording the clicks from those who open your email and click through to your stories.

Try not to sweat it if the clicks seem low. You can also use bit.ly links to confirm what's happening behind the scenes.

There are a variety of reasons. Name recognition or branding are big ones. You get to reach out to your publication followers by email. It's a nice way to niche down and organize your work.

If you are hoping to get a particular story picked up by a Medium-sponsored publication like Human Parts or Gen, you shouldn't put it into a publication. Medium will avoid pulling stories that belong to indie pubs.

Owning a publication on Medium can be as laid back or as serious as you want it to be. There are very few rules here. It really only gets murky when you add writers and make promises to edit, promote, and support those stories.

You just want to make sure you don't make promises you can't keep. And, that you can manage working relationships in a professional and positive way.

What questions do you have about starting a publication on Medium?


Join my email list to keep in touch, or check me out on Write Already!

Med Matters

Stories about all things Medium from an all-in Top Writer.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

Single mama, fulltime writer, exvangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. Top Writer. shannon.ashley.medium@gmail.com

Med Matters

Stories about all things Medium from an all-in Top Writer.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade