Guidelines (last updated: August 31, 2019)

Clay Rivers
Mar 23 · 6 min read
Photo by REVOLT on Unsplash

What We Are Interested In

The writers for Our Human Family are intentional not only in the messages we convey, but the way in which we convey them. Our goal is to unite the world — our world, as well as our sphere of influence — by dispelling the lie of race and the practice of racism, and replacing them with the truth of love and equality. We make that possible by sharing the truth of our lived experiences and observations as explored in our essays, with the hopes of fostering meaningful conversations that broaden perspectives and offer hope. In short, we strive to inform and inspire.

At present, our primary focus is on creative nonfiction, memoir, and personal essays. This doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to consider poetry or fiction at some point in the future. What it does mean is for the time being, as a new publication, we’re focusing exclusively on the aforementioned genres.

We’re interested in the firsthand experiences and musings of people of color, the LGBTQ community, their allies, and all who recognize and uplift the inherent humanity and equality of all human beings regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation or lack thereof. This is not at the exclusion of writers who at first glance might be seen as part of the dominant American culture; but we ask that your submission have a point of view that supports marginalized people OR explores your journey out of a dominant-culture-biased worldview and offers insight to others who wish to do the same. We are interested in writing that offers solutions, not writing that perpetuates problems.

From this point forward, we are interested in original work that has not appeared in a Medium publication.

What We Are not Interested in

We have no interest in hateful, demeaning, or demoralizing works. We do not propagate any -ism that seeks to divide humanity.

Prior to Submission

Writers for OHF must submit their draft via their Medium account. If you’ve written for other Medium publications, you’ll find our process is similar, but read our requirements before you submit your essay to Our Human Family.

All submissions must comply with Medium’s Rules and Ad-Free Policy.

We only accept unpublished drafts written in English.
Medium’s algorithm gives place of prominence to the newest pieces. If you submit a piece that was published three months ago, the Medium algorithm will not show you the love it lavishes upon newly written works. Newer pieces always receive more love, better placement, and more views.

Proofread, edit, and revise your submission.
Nothing lessens the likelihood of us featuring your writing in Our Human Family faster than bad spelling and poor grammar. Proofreading, editing, and revising your own writing is hard work, but it is a necessary step that can transform an average piece of writing into a good piece of writing, and make a good piece great.

AP or Chicago? We follow The Chicago Manual of Style as a guide for writing.

The Point and the Point of View
Your work must lead the reader through a series of coherent points to a specific conclusion. In case you’re unsure if your piece is ready for primetime, have a friend read it over. The essay, “Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge,” by Betty S. Flowers, Professor of English and Director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, explains how to sharpen the flow of an essay. Unfocused and rambling stories will be rejected.

Please submit your draft formatted with the title (in title case) and subtitle (in sentence case) above the main image.

Images and Placement
A key image is mandatory. Thousands of public domain images can be found on a number of websites, including,, and Since our focus is nonfiction, color photography is strongly preferred. Stories without a key image will be rejected.

Your key image should meet the following requirements:

  • Bright, color, eye-catching images
  • Black and white images are reserved exclusively for stories tagged “history”
  • Tie in to one of your essay’s themes
  • Placed immediately below both the headline and subhead, but before the first line of your work
  • Must be landscape (horizontal) in orientation, in order to work best in Medium’s various layouts and type treatments. Square images are strongly discouraged.
  • Large enough to span the full width of the digital page; even in the case of the typewriter on this page. The white background extends to the full width of the digital page.
  • Supporting images are not required for your submission, but judiciously breaking up text with either image(s), pull quotes, or dingbats, demonstrates that you are invested and capable of communicating your ideas not only in words, but by reinforcing your concepts with images.

Appropriate Attribution
Inclusion of the name of the artist (actor, dancer, illustrator, photographer, sculptor, singer, et cetera) along with the image source positioned as the image’s caption are mandatory. Stories without appropriate attribution will be rejected.

Appropriate Tags
Please choose four tags that will help readers find your essay based on its content. Prior to publishing if our editors feel the need for a fifth tag, this leaves us the option to add one without having to remove one of yours. Stories without appropriate tags will be rejected.

The Application Process

If you’re already a writer for Our Human Family and have an essay you’d like for us to publish, you know the drill. Submit your draft and we’ll check it out.

All new writers seeking publication of their work in Our Human Family are requested to send an email that includes the following information. Emails without all of the following requested information cannot be considered:

  • Your first and last name
  • A link to your Medium profile
  • A brief statement telling us who you are, the events that have shaped you, and what it is about your point of view that separates you from the pack.
  • Links to three writing samples that showcase why you would be an integral addition to our writing team. Please send only links to the specific samples. We will not hunt through a website in search of your work. If you do not have links to your work, you may attached a writing sample saved as a PDF.
  • Email your submission to
  • By submitting an email application prospective writers agree to Medium Rules and the criteria set by Our Human Family. Writers who disregard these requirements, cannot be considered.
  • Submission of an application is not a guarantee that we will add you as a writer or publish your work.

After submitting your application, please give us five to seven days to review your samples and draft. At that time, we will make every attempt to notify you of our decision, and if selected, we will add you to Our Human Family as a writer.

Unpublished drafts should be submitted within seven days of adding you as a writer, unless otherwise stated. Works not submitted by the agreed upon date, will not be accepted.

All drafts must be submitted through Medium. (How to add a draft or post to a publication.)

  • We will only accept one submission per day, per writer

The Our Human Family editors are pretty hands-on, not in a domineering way, but a nurturing way. Submissions will be edited for formatting, grammar, and spelling. We will always respect your voice, but when necessary we will help clarify the expression of your thoughts while allowing your voice to remain intact and aligning with our own.


Once Our Human Family publishes a work, the expectation is that the work will remain here. If you’d like to remove the work, please afford us the courtesy of notifying us just as we notified you we were interested in your work. We would also like to understand why you are removing it.

  • We will only publish one story per week, per writer.

Medium Partner Program Submissions

Of course, your published story can be a part of the Medium Partner Program.

What Do You Pay Your Writers?

The short answer and the long answer, all in one.

One Final Thought

Our submission requirements may have the appearance of a series of flaming hoops whose sole purpose is to trip up writers and set their writing ablaze. That’s not the case at all. We want you to succeed. We want to showcase transformative writing that aligns with our vision, connects with our audience, broadens their perspective, and inspires them to be a force for good. But we must have an objective standard by which to evaluate submissions.

Be smart. Be direct. Be yourself. And for goodness’ sake, don’t be boring. Show us who you are and the truths you’ve learned about our human family.

Love one another.

Clay Rivers

Written by

Author, art director, actor, and optimist. I write about equality, faith, and racism. Let’s chat over espresso. Books:

Our Human Family

Conversations on achieving equality

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