Submission Guidelines for Serious Eats @ Medium

[Photo: Vicky Wasik]

Hello! If you’re reading this, you may be interested in contributing to Serious Eats @ Medium, the members-only version of Serious Eats. If you’re reading this and are also confused, check out our official announcement about SE@M for background.

As noted in that announcement, SE@M will publish weekly Medium-only exclusives, culled from our staff, contributors, friends, and new friends. To submit, you only need a dream and Medium account. Here’s the first example of such an exclusive, which of course requires signing up and paying for SE@M to read.

You can pitch ideas directly to medium@seriouseats.com based on the guidelines below. If you have something written already, include a link to the draft you want us to consider (on Medium or elsewhere). Do note that we only consider previously unpublished work for these membership exclusives.

And now, the details.

Length. 800 to 2,000 words. Or thereabouts. It will be vastly easier if you can supply at least one high-resolution image to go along with your piece.

Topics. Anything related to food, cooking, eating. We prefer to develop recipes in-house, so including recipes in SE@M submissions is probably not advisable. Same with specific or generalized technique advice that would require our staff to test and verify; we’re trying to keep this platform more personal and less prescriptive, for now. Otherwise, the relation to food can be specific or tangential as long as the focus is sharp. Speaking of which:

Sharpness. The Medium community favors essays, and so shall SE@M. However, we want to explicitly avoid gauzy introspection that ends by evaporating into a puff of scented vapor. We don’t insist that SE@M submissions have the same emphasis on hard-core utility and service that is a hallmark of the main Serious Eats site (though that helps!), but for the writing to be acceptably sharp it needs to have:

A Point. SE@M contributions should make and argue, however elegantly or elaborately or circuitously, a rhetorical position. That position can be abstract or humorous or or satirical or political or even minutely picayune. But it needs to be there. The point should not be needlessly provocative or rabble-rousing. The author should legitimately believe the point and should desire to convince others of its truth. And this can be done in almost any:

Format. While we have room to experiment on SE@M versus the main site’s guidelines, neither should this version of Serious Eats be unrecognizably different from its progenitor. The simple nature of Medium’s toolset means we can’t get too bizarre in any case. That said, there are no overt restrictions on art, textual appearance, links, and so on beyond obvious parameters of taste and sincerity. Contributions which are largely (or even entirely) driven by photos, videos, or illustration are welcome. Assuming you’re still intrigued, your next question is probably about:

Payment. We will begin by paying $100 for SE@M submissions. As we observe audience reaction and preferences, we intend to buy more pieces and pay more for them. We are not looking at SE@M as a cash cow, so our guiding principle will be re-investing membership subscriptions back into the publication. Because these pieces are meant to be exclusive for our paying members, we will require exclusive rights to publish them.

These guidelines will no doubt evolve over time in response to what we like and what our audience likes. Submit ideas, questions, and suggestions to medium@seriouseats.com when ready.