How to Publish Your Full-Length Novel or Any Other Book on Medium

A step-by-step guide to publishing long-form content on Medium

Leonard Crane
Mar 12 · 28 min read
Source: Leonard Crane

Recently I published a full-length novel to the pages of Medium.

That is to say I took this 662-page trade paperback.

And turned it into the following 20-hour reading time online version now available to Medium subscribers:

Ninth Day of Creation as it appears on Medium. Source Leonard Crane.

This appears to be a publication strategy neither well recognized nor taken seriously on the platform. But that could change.

In this article, I will explain how you can use Medium to bypass traditional publishing platforms and not only put your book online for the world to discover, but also get paid each time your book is read, either to completion or partially.

Because this is possible anyone with a browser and a Medium subscription can now read Ninth Day of Creation online, and any writer with full-length works can ponder the benefits of doing the same with their books.

If you are an author you ought to be able to use the information in this article to take in stride all the obstacles I faced trying to get my book onto Medium. I would say there are enough of these to deter most people from ever getting started, let alone completing the job.

But as you are about to discover, I am rather stubborn and I will figure out a way to get something done even if it means doing it inefficiently.

This was certainly the case 20 years ago after I finished up the writing of what I categorized at the time as a science thriller.

Because I failed to convince the literary agents I pursued that I deserved representation I ended up having to self-publish my book. That meant I had to typeset the entire thing, which I did in Word, before converting those pages into a publishable PDF format. The result was a hefty trade paperback (pictured above) which was made available as a print on demand title from Ingram’s Lightning Source division.

To Ingram’s credit, their product has stood the test of time. The pages of the copies I still own are as crisp today as the day I ordered them, and the binding on the spine shows absolutely no sign of aging.

Unfortunately as it relates to the book’s availability, I ended up becoming disgusted with the whole self-publishing process, I got distracted with other things in my life (like how to earn enough to keep eating), and my print on demand company lost contact with me. As a result the book went out of print.

This is one of the reasons behind my decision to make it available in digital form.

Every page of it.

How to resurrect an out of print title

Prior to discovering Medium, which up until last year I was only vaguely aware of as a story publication platform of some type, I had pondered the possibility of putting my book online in its entirety. It seemed to me that if I could find a way to put an initial portion of the book online that anyone with a browser could access, and follow that with the remainder which could be read only after payment, then it might be worth doing.

Here is where I confess to you that I am not well versed in the possibilities of online publishing. Years ago I had briefly considered the Kindle publishing platform and rejected it as entirely unsuitable for my book. The formatting requirements seemed too finicky and my book (with images) needed room on the page to breath.

As it turns out, Medium allows for this.

When I wrote Ninth Day of Creation I instinctively split the story into two parts. The first third of the book was designed to act as a slow fuse. To set things rolling. The second part delivered the goods.

On Medium the first part of my book is not metered, it is available to anyone to read. The second part lies behind the paywall.

If someone elects to read those latter pages, I get paid a certain (unknown) amount of their subscription fee for that month. This amount depends on how much time the reader allocates to my book in relation to how much time they allocate to other pages on Medium. The downside to this payment model is that I must assume most of the risk. Unless I have done an extremely good job with the first part of the book I am not going to make a penny on the second part of it (because readers will have disappeared before reaching it).

But this is the gamble I am making.

When publishing the pages of your own book you get to decide whether any particular page is metered or not. So it is entirely up to you to as to how your payment model will work. You could model my approach, or you could do something completely different.

Whether I can find an audience on Medium for my book is presently unknown and is not the focus of this article. My objective here is to explain how it is possible to format your book so that it is not only accessible, and readable on Medium, but it is also recognizable as an instance of an online book.

On the face of it, publishing a “book” to Medium seems simple enough. After all, it is just a series of connected pages. One can easily imagine submitting “stories” (pages), each one linked to the next. But books are more than just a series of connected pages.

To begin with, a book is a collection of text and/or images which is separate from the universe of text and images found outside of the book. So to establish this division we are going to need the digital equivalent of a physical binding which ties all the pages together and allows us to slap a work-defining cover on it.

The writer becomes a publisher

In Medium this binding mechanism is called a publication. Generally publications are used to run themed magazines to which various authors submit their theme-focused stories. But we can borrow the publication mechanism and use it to collect just the content of a single writer, our book author.

In my case the goal was to publish a novel to the pages of Medium. Novels almost invariably contain simple text passages with the occasional section or chapter title. So you might be wondering if the formatting procedure I am about to share with you applies to your book which might have more complex formatting requirements.

The short answer is that you will have to make some compromises.

Medium is, at the time of writing, HIGHLY limited in its formatting capability. No doubt this is intentional so as to “child-proof” the Medium environment and remove the ability of writers to make decisions about how to present information. On the one hand this makes a lot of sense, but for a publisher the limited formatting capability is very frustrating.

Still, my book does contain images and unusual fonts (the latter of which at present are not supported in Medium). Therefore, because I have been able to cobble together a reasonable facsimile of my own book, I would hazard a guess that you will likely be able to do the same with yours.

If you begin to explore Ninth Day of Creation on Medium you will see that it is a standard publication with a home page and a navigation bar. The home page contains a graphic which conveys the theme of the book (acts as a cover) and the navigation bar which appears below it presents links to some useful jump off points:

  • An About page — which is likely to be the most visited of any page in the publication
  • A Table of Contents
  • The first page of Part I of the book (the freely available portion)
  • The first page of Part II of the book (accessible to paid Medium subscribers)
  • A page of reader comments
  • My official web site

These are the access links I considered important for my book. But you could create a navigation bar with a different set of links.

Below the home page graphic and the navigation bar most publications will present a collection of links to various recent or featured “stories” in that publication. This allows us to add auxiliary pages containing whatever we might deem relevant as promotional material for the book, or bonus material for readers.

But the bulk of the publication is going to represent the pages on which the content of the book is presented.

I am not going to go into any depth on how to set up or manage a general publication. For one thing, in order to get our job done we do not need to understand all there is to know about publications and how they work. We just need to know the bits that help us turn a publication into a book.

For an excellent discussion of the basic features of a publication and how to create your publication from scratch I am going to refer you to the following three articles from Celine Lai:

What follows in this article as formatting information is a subset of the ideas found in Celine’s articles. My recommendation is you read this article fully to get the sense of what you need to do and then read Celine’s articles if you want more detail about the many quirks involved in setting up and managing a publication.

The setup process (where you pay your dues)

This, I suspect dear writer, is the part of the process you are going to hate the most.

Before you can begin “cutting and pasting” your work onto Medium’s pages you are going to need to craft the vessel to contain your magnum opus.

If you are a Medium writer you may have already submitted your stories countless times to different publications without ever once considering the prospect of creating your own publication.

This is how you do it: when you click on your avatar in the top right of a Medium page you will see that Publications is one of the options in your drop down menu, and when you visit that page you will see the option to create a New Publication. To get started with the process you simply click on that button.

Setting up a publication is a two step process.

On the first page you are going to supply basic information about your publication, the mandatory fields of which are the following:

  • Name: The title of your book. This is going to be converted into the URL of your publication. So specifying The Wizard Of Oz as the Name results in a URL that looks like https://medium.com/the-wizard-of-oz
  • Tagline: This is the short description (100 characters or less) which will appear in the left hand column of the pages of your publication. We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!
  • Description: This is the longer description (up to 280 characters) which appears at the bottom of the pages of your publication and in search results. The book that 80 million read! The play that 941 cities saw! Now the greatest Technicolor show-world miracle since “Snow White”
  • Publication avatar: This (square) image is going to be shrunk down and will appear in various places where it will represent your publication. For example, to the right of your personal avatar in the Medium navigation bar. Clicking on your publication avatar is going to bring up all your publication options. I recommend you use a two-color icon for this (e.g. navy blue and white) as simple icons scale down well. For this purpose I used a 600 by 600 pixel image from the Noun Project

With the exception of the Name field which determines your publication home page location, you can modify these values later if needed.

You can also delete a publication if you need to start from scratch. To do so you would look for the Advanced menu on the upper right area of the publication Homepage and settings tab and select Delete publication. This is the nuclear option, and hopefully you will never need to use it :)

There are other fields shown in that first step of setting up your publication.

You can add tags (up to 5) to represent your book, like Childrens Books, or your author name. As you type you will see often-used tags appear. It is probably wise to go with popular tags and not invent your own. Use a comma to force a new tag box to appear.

Add an email address for the Contact Info.

You can also specify yourself as an editor (e.g. @lymanfrankbaum if Lyman Frank Baum is your Medium name/pen name), although I believe you will be automatically added as an editor if you skip this step.

On the second page of the two-step set up process you will see options for designing the look of your home page. This is by far the most confusing aspect of a publication, but you must master it because if your home page looks ugly or amateurish it may end up being the only page a reader ever sees before heading elsewhere.

Setting up your home page requires that you take into account five aspects of the page design: Size, Layout, Alignment, Color, and Background image. Although perhaps not so easy to see, your selections will be highlighted in green (so you can keep track of your ongoing choices).

Let’s go over these five design choices, in summary, and then I’ll expand on the subject of the “cover image”.

  • Size: This determines the vertical extent of the area at the top of your home page used to present your graphical element (your cover image). Small means you get NO space for an image. Medium< means you get just enough space for a band across the top of the page (you will only see the top of your selected background image). Large means you get a good-sized chunk, which is what I went with because I want to show the nearest thing we can offer to a cover image. I’ll say more about this below.
  • Layout: You can elect to have your publication Title automatically overlayed as text on your display area, or you can have a Logo image overlayed, or you can have both. I chose to have only my logo added because it contains the name of my book. More about this decision below.
  • Alignment: Where to position the title/logo? Left-aligned, or center-aligned (which was my choice).
  • Color: The color of the navigation bar (when the Bold rather than the Subtle color option is selected). This color is used in various places in your publication.
  • Background image: This is essentially your “book cover”, but it can also work in conjunction with the logo to perform this job (as I explain below in more detail).

Your cover image

One of the most frustrating aspects of design elements in Medium is you never really understand the logic behind the way images are scaled and presented. So a little experimentation seems to be required and this can easily drive you crazy if you are a writer and not someone more skilled in design work.

The first thing you will notice on looking at the top of this article is that the cover art for my paperback is completely different from the “cover art” for the book’s home page on Medium.

Print covers are made up of a back cover, a spine, and a front cover, in that order, left to right. The cover is one extended image.

An early version of the cover art for Ninth Day of Creation. Source: Dmitry Kirsanov

The artwork is therefore biased to the right side of the image. The home page image of a Medium publication is center-biased. As you restrict the size of the page in your browser, and especially on a mobile device, you only see what is at the center of the image. So your existing print cover art is likely to be entirely unsuitable for the current purpose of designing a home page for your Medium publication.

Also, your existing artwork will have the wrong dimensions.

By experimenting I was able to see that the vertical extent of a home page background image in the LARGE format is scaled on Medium until it is 570 pixels tall. I wanted the image to stretch from one size of the monitor screen to the other (which for most people means 1600 pixels), so I decided to go with a background image size which was 1600 pixels wide by 570 pixels tall.

The next consideration was that I wanted the title to be easy to read and not subject to any scaling or shifting of the background image on a mobile device. You can see what a mobile device-rendered web page looks like in several modern browsers, such as Chrome and Edge, by right-clicking and selecting Inspect.

By looking at the home page designs of several other Medium publications I realized I could achieve what I wanted by using a logo image of 400 by 400 pixels positioned at the center of the page. This is the image which carries the book title on my home page.

It was obvious that I was not going to be able to use any of the existing artwork for the cover which was created over 20 years ago. Wrong dimensions, wrong format, wrong positioning, wrong everything. So I went and found two suitable stock images from 123RF.

One of these images I selected for use as my background image.

The other stock image serves as my logo. This is the circular disc seen at the center of the home page — it contains the image of Leonardo DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man, and has the title of my book plastered across it.

I was able to arrive at something that worked for me after a little work in my image editor. In general you will likely need to find someone familiar with graphics design and have them come up with a cover graphic that matches your vision and does a reasonable job when viewed either on a desktop or a mobile device. This is probably going to be one of the more challenging aspects of setting up your publication.

Also, I have noticed the navigation bar is clipped on the right side when displayed on mobile devices. As this is outside of our control, be sure to place the most important links on the left side of the navigation menu (I note that there is a Medium app for reading on mobile devices so this clipping issue might not be present there). In contrast, the logo image behaves well on mobile devices as well as standard browsers.

One word of warning regarding the use of logos, because I have made the following mistake myself. If you should upload a tiny invisible image as your logo because you want to see how that affects the placement of a title on the home page when both the title and logo are present together you may discover that it is impossible to find the logo again. The reason this matters is because when it comes to deleting or replacing an image you must be able to find it and click on it to be given the option to do so. If you know you are going to need to use a proper-sized logo but you nonetheless allow yourself to lose control of your logo editing ability then you may have to DELETE the publication and start again. Thus, beware the invisible single-pixel test logo!

And that is all I am going to say about “cover design”. Someone who wanted to specialize in this topic could tell you much more about your choices and what might work better for you. For more information on the question of home page design this article on How to Make Your Publication Look Great may be of some use (not a lot seems to have been written about this topic).

Home page content

In addition to specifying the way your graphical element looks on the home page you can also add one or more sections which will appear below it (and below the navigation bar).

Each of these sections can be populated with a particular story type, and each of those stories will be added either manually or as the result of an algorithm. For example, you would add a Featured story manually but stories selected according to a specific Tag value would be pulled in automatically.

Because none of this auxiliary home page content is required in order to get your book published on Medium I am not going to spend any time on it. However for more details on this part of the setup I would point you towards the second of the Celine Lai trio of articles on how to set up your publication. You will also find more details in that article on what your design options are when it comes to that all-important graphical element.

Your navigation bar

Your cover image is meant to attract the eye and alert the reader to the idea that something special awaits them. Your navigation bar is how they will find it.

If you click on your publication avatar, which will be in place after you create your publication, you will see the option for Navigation elements. Setting up your navigation bar is very straight forward. You can add up to 7 links internal to Medium pages, and one link to an off-site destination which for most authors will be their official site.

For those internal pages I recommend an About page where you summarize what your book is about for the benefit of readers who might know absolutely nothing about your book, or even about you.

I also recommend you create a page which presents select comments from readers who have taken the time to leave feedback. This will help those who have stumbled across you for the first time to decide whether or not to take a chance on reading you.

In addition to those two optional but highly recommended navigation links you can be sure your reader is going to be looking for a link to the first page of your book. So be sure to add that link and not rely on any indirect route to page one of your book via the About page or any other story which might appear on the home page. Always keep in mind that your goal is to make the job of reading your book as simple as possible for your reader. If you allow for any kind of confusion your reader may take it as a sign they ought to be doing something else with their time and once they are gone they are not likely to return.

Because of this, it is not the worst idea to put a link to the first page of your book on as many non book pages as possible. For example, on your About page, and on your Reviews page.

We have now covered the all the essential parts to setting up your book as a publication. Next we look at the part likely to interest you the most. How to add the pages of your book.

Adding pages of your book

In order to typeset my book before having it turned into a print on demand title I had to do two things.

My first task was to study the typesetting employed in Tom Clancy’s novel Red Storm Rising. My book was fairly large and I wanted to know how to cram as many words as possible onto a single page while maintaining readability.

The second task was to implement this typesetting using the only tool available to me at the time, which was Word. After figuring out how to do this with a suitable font face, and the appropriate inter-line spacing and paragraph indentation, I exported all the pages to PDF format and end up with pages that looked like this:

Source: Leonard Crane

But when it comes to adding your pages to Medium none of those fancy typesetting considerations matter.

You do not get to choose a font face. Nor can you adjust the spacing between lines, or add indentation.

Every time you hit the return key to create a new paragraph, or place a line of dialog on a separate line, a large gap appears between successive lines.

“See what I mean?” Crane wrote into his article.

This is just the Medium way and it would be so much nicer if one could do away with it and rely on paragraph indentation to signify the transition. But alas, this is not an option at present.

Compromises, remember?

Writing from scratch versus cut and paste

One could imagine creating a novel from scratch by writing and adding pages to Medium as you go. I have no experience with this and find it hard to imagine myself attempting it. So I will just comment on the alternative, which is that you write your book initially off Medium and then transfer it onto the platform page by page.

All of the pages of my book were available to me as Word files. All I had to do was select a block of text from one of these files and paste it into a Medium page.

Not all of the formatting was preserved. None of the uniform interline spacing or the paragraph indentation from those Word files survived. But italicized text survived. To my relief, so did left and right double quotes on dialog. Had that not been the case it is doubtful the job of “typesetting” the book on Medium would have seemed worthwhile.

My advice, before you go about pouring your efforts into creating a publication vessel for your book, is that you ensure you know exactly what is going to happen to your already-formatted text when you perform your cut and paste. Create a test document and do a little experimentation first.

For instance, if all I had was plain text files of my book chapters I would not have been able to import left and right double quotes because my plain text editor does not record them. I would have been very unhappy about the prospect of trying to add them.

Handling chapter titles / section headings

If you do use the Title field at the top of a page your author byline will appear below it when the page is published (added to your book). How annoying would it be to be presented with the novelist’s byline under each and every chapter title you came across in their book?

The work around to this is to use the Subtitle field for chapter titles and section headers. The two caveats are as follows:

[1] No adjustable interline spacing

Remember how we wanted to avoid the big vertical gap between successive paragraphs, but could not? Well here we might like to put a gap between the chapter title or section header and the first paragraph which follows. But alas, Medium automatically removes it.

The way around this issue, I found (although this is clunky), is to insert a small invisible image between the chapter/header text and the following paragraph. I use a 10 pixel wide by 2 pixel tall transparent PNG file to introduce a vertical gap between text and chapter titles and between text and images.

Medium adds vertical spacing above and below an image so there is a limit to how small this spacing can be. Once again, this typesetting inflexibility is a little vexing, but it is better than no spacing.

[2] URL considerations

Normally Medium reads the content of your story title and uses it to fashion the URL of your story (page).

But in the absence of a title Medium will take the text on the first line it finds, which may be your chapter title or section header. This might not be what you want to happen.

My preference is to have the URL reflect the story or page number followed by some other relevant string. So for example, page-01-science-thriller.

Now you might be thinking, why not use the title of the book here, rather than the descriptive phrase science thriller? Well, it is because the full URL for the page already includes the title of the publication, e.g. https://medium.com/ninth-day-of-creation/page-01-science-thriller

OK, so why not just choose to use page-01 for the relative URL?

It’s because Medium gobbles up a minimum number of characters from the top of your document when figuring out how to create the URL. If you placed the words page 01 at the top of your document and followed that line with a paragraph which began On a dark and stormy night… then your URL might end up being page-01-on-a-dark-and

So here is what I do. I add the text page 01 science thriller on the top line, create my document so that the URL is cast, then I edit the page to remove that first line. Usually this means the first line of the document is a chapter title (with the caveat of previous/next page links which I will discuss separately).

Note also that Medium adds at the end of all of its internal story URLs a string of random characters to represent a unique page ID (if you glance up at the URL for the page you are reading now you will see what I mean). This part of the URL is beyond your control, but that is not the case for what comes before it.

Handling page navigation

Your publication will already have a navigation bar which allows you to move to a few important pages associated with your book. But on each page you are going to need links to allow the reader to move to the next page in the story, or return to the previous page.

In a printed book a chapter generally contains multiple pages. But this scheme is reversed in a publication. Each of your pages may contain multiple chapters of your book, depending on how large they are.

When it came to deciding how much material to place on a single page I was guided by reading time. I wanted to put between 15 and 30 minutes of reading material onto each page. My chapters are short and most clock in at a few minutes reading time. This means several chapters might appear on a single page, of which there are 52 in the Medium version of my book.

This means there will be at least 52 times when someone looks for the next page link at the bottom of a page. I also place a previous page link at the very top of the page, following the page number. So the pages look like this:

PAGE 15 | PREVIOUS PAGE

[story content]

NEXT PAGE

You cannot create a link on text formatted with the Title field, so you are limited in how large you can make these navigation links. But you can link on text created with the Subtitle field. So that is what I do, using uppercase to make the links stand out.

It may have occurred to you that when you are adding pages to your publication you will know the URL of the previous page but you will not know the URL of the next page because you have yet to create the page. So you will always have to come back and edit the page to add your next page link.

Also, I should point out for the sake of clarity, just in case you go off and examine the next/previous page links in my publication, that they do not appear to use Medium URLs. Instead every URL is associated with my own web site.

The reason for this is that I maintain a database of addresses for each page in my book and I use those to direct the reader to the next page or the previous page. I do this for a few reasons.

The first reason is that if I store the page addresses on my site I only have to change the page address in one place if for any reason I should have to delete a page on Medium and replace it with another (which will be generated with a new and different URL).

The second reason is that when I am creating new pages in the publication I do not need to know the address of the next page when I create the link for it. I can add that in later to my external database and every link in my publication which refers to that page will automatically redirect to the correct place.

The third reason is that I can intercept these next page requests if I have a reason for doing so. For example, I could interrupt the reader with a request for a review, or perhaps I could point out that a print edition exists somewhere else should they want to continue reading the story that way. Certainly when they reach the end of the free portion of the book I put up a page to explain what their options are going forward.

Of course you could so all of those things by adding intermediate pages on Medium. I just prefer to temporarily direct readers to my own site so they become aware of it.

So the moral of the story here is that this storing of external page locations is entirely unnecessary. But because I happen to do it I wanted to point out what that is about.

Handling images

Most novels are devoid of images (graphic novels being the obvious exception). But mine happened to include several, so I will spend a little time on this topic.

Image handling in Medium is fairly atrocious. Your control over how an image is displayed, and at what size, is very limited. For this reason I again recommend that before you launch into adding the various pages of your book you create a test page and insert into it every image you intend to have appear in the book.

By the time you have finished doing this you will have figured out the formatting and sizing issues for every image ahead of time and you will not be caught by surprise later (and hugely disappointed by what you assumed would be possible but is not).

You have the choice of specifying that your image should be reduced in size and set off to the left of the page, or that it can be centered in the page. When the image is page-centered it can appear in one of a very limited number of sizes, with the number of size options dependent on how wide the image is that you upload.

For example, if your image is sufficiently wide you might be able to show it at a width of 1032 pixels. But if you attempted to upload the image at that size you would only be offered the option to show it at a width of 680 pixels.

If your image is 680 pixels wide or narrower it will be shown full-size when centered. I chose to center all of my images, and almost without exception I rendered them at a width of 680 pixels. The end result is sharp images when the pages are viewed on a desktop computer.

Unfortunately when an image is shrunk down, as it is on a mobile device, or you add an image which is wider than 680 pixels (perhaps because it contains details which are hard to view at smaller sizes), the image loses its sharpness.

For example, on page 347 of the printed edition of Ninth Day of Creation the reader is presented with an amino acid sequence comparison. I printed the comparison sideways because the information is better viewed in an elongated format:

Source: Leonard Crane

But on a desktop device the reader cannot turn the page as they can do with a physical book. So I was forced to present it on the Medium page as a “landscape” image wider than 680 pixels.

When you upload one of these landscape type images in Medium you have the option of having it appear in one of several sizes. But none of them is the size at which the image is uploaded. So while for this particular image the letters of the genomic sequence are larger and therefore more readable in this landscape mode (not shown) they are nonetheless a little fuzzy. In general this image quality issue should be expected if the image contains fonts or line art. On the other hand for photographic images the image degradation would likely not be at all noticeable.

For example, a graphic novel in which all the images were uploaded at 680 pixels width would render well on a desktop computer. But at any larger size the line art, speech bubbles, and dialog would very likely appear slightly smudged.

The upshot of all this is you really have to do some initial testing on what is and is not possible with your images.

Handling non standard fonts

For most novelists Medium’s restriction to a single font face for the rendering of text will cause few sleepless nights.

But if you make use of an occasional change of font to present lettering which is output from computer terminals, or displayed on signage or other documents with characteristic font faces then you have a bit of a problem.

If an unusual font appears inline with your text (embedded into a sentence) then that font face is converted to the default font face. Your only real option to make it stand out is to perhaps use capitalization, bolding, or italics. Capitalization worked for me when it came to the inline changes of font. But when a new font appeared by itself on separate lines I resorted to screen captures and rendering that block of text as an image.

This is not an ideal solution, but it works fine for pages displayed on desktop. Here is an example showing a simple telegram printout:

On a mobile device with a small screen the image would become uncomfortably small. The reader would need to rotate the screen and expand the image to get a better look at it. But in my opinion the preservation of font face in these few places throughout the book is worth the inconvenience that might be caused to some readers.

But wait — does Medium even have long-format readers?

If you are an author and you are thinking of going to the trouble of adding your full-length book to Medium it would be reassuring to know that Medium’s readers actually want to read anything longer than a one-page story.

So is there any proof these readers even exist?

Medium itself seems to think so. Recently it acquired the French social ebook platform Glose.

Glose offers its readers (paid/subscriber) access to more than one million digitized titles “from the world’s best authors and publishers”. The idea is that you can read 10 percent of any book for free before committing to the portion behind the paywall.

The only downside to Glose, at present, from the point of view of the prospective author is that you cannot upload your book to the platform. It caters primarily to readers. Writers are not invited to participate.

Publishing your book to Medium gets around this rather severe limitation of the Glose platform. However, once your book is on Medium it is up to you to figure out how to find readers for it. This is no trivial matter and it remains to be seen whether novelists like myself can find a way to get the job done.

In summary, you can publish your novel on Medium

As the publication on Medium of Ninth Day of Creation proves, there is nothing to stop a persistent author from making their book available online to Medium readers.

An initial portion of your book can be made publicly accessible and free to read by anyone with a browser. Another portion can be hidden behind the paywall and made available only to paying Medium subscribers. This allows you to be paid for your writing if you can find a way to attract an audience.

Yet Medium is far from being the perfect publishing platform for book authors. As I have indicated in this article, the formatting options for your book are presently limited. Not so much that you should not consider the possibility of placing your work on Medium. But you should certainly be familiar with those limitations before “becoming a Medium publisher” of your own work.

In the long run, if enough authors do add books to Medium we might see features added which assist with the publication of long-format works. But do not count on this. When I enquired with Medium support as to whether they would like to work with me to figure out how to make the platform more friendly to novelists my message went unanswered.

The bottom line: you can publish your book on Medium, but do not expect anyone to cheer you on. If you want to see a revolution in Medium publishing you are going to have to roll up your sleeves, jump in, and see the job through yourself.

~ // ~

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Leonard Crane

Written by

Heavily science-oriented. In the past I have spent time dabbling as a: physicist, novelist, software developer, copywriter, and health-related product creator.

The Startup

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Leonard Crane

Written by

Heavily science-oriented. In the past I have spent time dabbling as a: physicist, novelist, software developer, copywriter, and health-related product creator.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +794K followers.

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