Publications on Medium: My Two-Cents
Recently a Medium publication for which I write on a regular basis, rejected one of my pieces. That got the wheels turning in my head regarding submitting to publications.
One of the very first writers I “met” on Medium was the self-proclaimed Resident Cheerleader for Medium, S.F. Ali. SF was tireless in reading, awarding hearts (likes) and commenting on stories. He was also tireless in producing articles and commentaries on a wide variety of subjects, which I totally enjoyed reading.
SF was published In a publication called The Bullshit.ist.
I began to follow and read SF because he was an inspiration. (I miss hearing from SF.)
Thanks in part to SF, at some point I began to take an interest in Publications on Medium.
I thought for a while that actually creating and running one might be useful for me.Then, after reading about Publications more closely, I decided that the whole thing sounded like way too much work, without a big return, and so gave creating one a miss.
It was a surprise, but I was flattered and submitted the article, which was subsequently accepted by the publication. I was interested that the publication covered a wide range of topics and interests, and I began to read and follow many of its writers. I also began to submit articles I thought would fit their mandate, and at first most were accepted.
Now, in 2019, when I look at the Bullshit.ist, it has whittled down to one area of interest only — Technology — and clearly, they do not have any interest in anything else. Unfortunately. I also noticed that not a single item I submitted to them since early 2018 has been accepted. As I come across those unaccepted pieces, I remove them from the submission tab.
I was really excited when several other publications invited me to submit articles to them. It kicks ones self confidence up several notches to be thus invited. I didn’t really care about the so-called circulation. It just felt good to be recognized as a writer, and invited to join the publication.
Once I had been added as a writer, I was able to submit articles to these publications, and did so.
Recently I noticed that submissions to The Coffeelicious appeared to have just been ignored. A recent review of my stories on Medium revealed that most of the articles submitted to the Coffeelicious in 2018 were still in “story submitted” phase. I concluded that they are overwhelmed with requests and that nothing previously submitted in 2018, but still not accepted, will be accepted. Therefore, I removed those articles. A bit annoying, since I felt that the articles submitted would be of interest to the publication. When I checked the Coffeelicious publication page, I see that only one editor remains — that could explain the lack of response to articles submitted. Oh well.
Earlier, one of the things I wanted to find was publications dealing with photography. These were few and far between. The only one that even somewhat approaches photography in a way that allows me to submit, is human basics . If I have something featuring photos where I have done some post processing, or something where some specific lighting or photo techniques are discussed, human basics is my go-to. The circulation isn’t huge, but it allows me to share an interest of mine.
While searching for a photography-friendly publication, I came across Snapshots. At first and after reading all the submission caveats, I was sceptical. Then, I tentatively submitted a request to join as a writer, was accepted, and submitted a draft of a short general interest photo blog which was accepted.
What I found at Snapshots is a really nice group of writers. People with whom one exchanges opinions and thoughts, and one where really nice, human interest photos and stories are shared. This little publication is a real pleasure to be a part of. It is a real community and I love that.
While thinking about why I would want to continue to submit to Medium publications, I found an article by Thomas Despin called 5 Reasons Why I stopped Posting In Major Medium Publications.
Thomas said a lot of things that resonated with me. One was if the publication is really big, one is likely to get buried among other more popular writers.
He is not keen on the publications that insist on getting a draft of your work prior to publication. He opined that this takes away your ability to publish the piece when you want. The bigger the publication, the longer it is likely to take for the piece to be accepted — meantime your piece that you slaved over and are dying to share — sits waiting to be noticed by the busy publication editors. Timeliness of publication is of course crucial to you if you are writing about a current event or theme.
I’ve noticed over the past two years that the notifications of new articles that I get from Medium are less and less useful. I had thought that being in assorted publications might raise my audience. Clearly not the case for me.
I thought that Medium would see which publications and which writers I follow, and would send me notifications of new items from those publications and writers. This is rare. What I do see is notifications of articles by people not only that I do not follow, but that is “member only” content. These notifications are supposed to act as encouragement for me to became a paid member. I get that. I also get that Medium has to have a way to sustain itself. However, sadly almost none of writers whose work Medium tells me about are ones I would be interested in reading and less so in paying to read.
What does this tell me? If I am getting notifications about work from people that I do not, for the most part, follow, who is getting notifications about MY work? Apparently not my 1.7K followers since I rarely see any action from them.
Back to what got me started on this article: Recently, I was quite cross to see that a submission I made to Hopes and Dreams for Our Future was rejected. It was a humour piece called Paraoid and Loving it.
What annoyed me was that the story had been submitted several months previously, and was in line with other material I had submitted to them. It occurred to me that the main editor has changed from Erika Sauter to Iva Ursano , and that Iva has probably has decided on a different direction for the publication. I just noticed on the main publication page for submissions guidelines, they now want a draft. Hmmm. So even though this article was submitted BEFORE Erika gave the publication to Iva, it was possibly rejected because it did not comply with Iva’s new guidelines. Fair enough. Maybe…
But what that rejected story really did was make me sit back and re-evaluate my writing, why I do it, and how useful being in a publication is.
The bottom line for me is the actual writing of the piece. When I feel moved to write something, an article, a story or a song, it is about something that is important to me. If only one or two other people read it and enjoy it, I am satisfied. If a whole bunch of people read and enjoy it, obviously I am thrilled, but really, writing that piece was the most important thing to me.
Being in a publication supposedly gives one a much broader audience. So far the only two publications where that happens for me are Snapshots and The Crazy Cat Lady Photoblog. Those are also the only two that give me that sense of community, thaty sense of interaction with other writers — that is so important to me.
My conclusion is that if I like the publication and it seems to be part of a friendly community, it may be worth joining.
Otherwise, I will just continue flying solo.