Or anywhere else.
I’ll skip the story-like intro.
I hate intros anyway and you’re here for the list.
Let’s not waste any of our time.
Here we go.
- I already have my own platforms. That is where I post most of the articles and I am satisfied with the results. On Medium, I am primarily publishing content that does not necessarily match the line of my other blogs — topic or style-wise — or that is platform-specific.
- I never pitched any of my content. Both audience and collaborators found me anyway. Write about topics that you are passionate about, in areas where you are knowledgeable, complete it to a decent level that helps the audience, pay close attention to SEO, and everyone who needs to find you will find you. That is how I get most of the visits on my main blog, Psychology Corner, how authors and representatives for major publishing houses found me and proposed collaborations, and how book editors discovered in me one of their next segment writers.
- I profoundly dislike working with editors. Especially those who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. When I was a freshman in college, I was writing for free for a national newspaper and later I participated in the creation of several minor scientific publications. I also had my own work published, but that’s another story. The editors I worked with had some of the most ridiculous suggestions and requirements, and that often proved they had absolutely no clue about the topic of an article or basic journalistic or academic principles. Most of the suggestions were vague and offered no actionable advice or constructive criticism. Sure, I was likely dealt a very bad hand when it comes to editors, but I recognized some of those traits in many of the submission guidelines on Medium and in the stories of writers who have had similar experiences. To be fair, I also had a great experience with one academic editor. But that’s it. One. That’s my story, anyway.
- Many of the Submission Guidelines are irrelevant and ridiculous. Very long and apparently well-thought and well-organized submission guidelines usually hide some really stupid requirements that make no sense for the reader’s experience. I don’t want to link to any of the publications but among those requirements we find adding sources and references for personal stories, taking your time to go through their previously published stories to make sure your topic hasn’t already been covered — cool way to get clicks, eh? —, exclusivity when they offer nothing in return, and many more.
- Many of the Submission Guidelines seem to project a rather disrespectful attitude toward potential writers. “Don’t send us this and this and that”, “Don’t make us correct your stuff too much”, “Just give us the perfect content that we can exploit, you wannabe”. That’s my translation for many of the submission guidelines that I’ve read. Instant turn-off.
- Many of the stories posted by editors of some Medium publications show that they are rather rude toward the authors whose stories they assess and there’s also a sense of superiority coming through. They’re the Publication Gods. To get to be known to the world, you need to pass the gates they defend. Narcissism much? There’s one such story floating on Medium where an editor wrote about the reasons why she’s rejecting 90% of the submissions. Imagine having that kind of power, you peasant?
- Editors are so random. People with strong credentials or with no credentials at all, they all hold the same power on Medium.
- Publications do not offer anything that would even remotely resemble a fair collaboration. I personally do not care about the audience of a publication as in numbers. I want them to explain to me how they actively give writers access to that audience since “exposure” is the only thing they put on the table. Also, the external views make the writer no money. I don’t know about you, but I would rather take my chances with great SEO strategies and publish independently. The Medium members that follow a publication are people you can also reach on the platform. They are linked to Medium, not to Publication X, so I find it shady when the publication uses tokens they do not own to entice writers to join them. Basically, what is the publication’s own contribution to the collaboration? It’s your writing, Medium’s users and money. I think publications should pay writers a flat fee, even if symbolic, upon acceptance of a story. There’s competition, your story made it, you should get a guaranteed prize. Otherwise, the deal is that with each submission, the publication gets a new lottery ticket — that can get them more followers and maybe clients, while you’re sharing your potential gain — mainly recognition — with them.
- Many of the practices exploit the writers. Some writers already talked about their stories being modified in a way that removed their potential incentives — affiliate links, CTAs, gone — and also about publications reposting content on websites they own without paying anything or even informing the authors about it.
- Some publications steal the stories and post them as their own. You may have a great novel idea for an article. You write it, make it perfect, and “Submit”. Editor finds it — it’s great stuff indeed —, takes your main idea, and writes their own version. They hit “Publish”, and you get the rejection message. Fair.
- I am not a native English speaker. I don’t want them to reject my articles for that even when the content is decent. I don’t claim to teach English through my posts, I proofread as much as I can, but as long as I can convey the core message, I won’t refrain from hitting “Publish” and won’t spend an eternity on reaching the perfect language targets in my stories. Publications can have proofreaders available if they want a certain piece of content. At least they’d offer something in return.
- You can self-publish and have similar, and even better results. I created my own publications, and after reading many of the stories of Medium writers, I seem to be getting very similar results. “Chosen for distribution” — checked, internal views — checked, earnings similar to many, minus the hassle. I’ll take it.
- You don’t have to lend or dilute your brand. Why share and not centralize your work to your benefit, when alleged “collaborators” won’t do any of the work? Why associate with them on a promise?
- I am usually inclined toward independent work and meaningful, selective collaborations. It seems to me that this whole “all you can Submit” strategy on Medium entertains an unnecessary mentality based on faux hierarchy. You give some random individuals on the internet power over your work, your vision, your skill, your brand, and — worst thing of all — over the way you shape your image about yourself. So many of the talented writers on this platform start thinking of themselves, professionally and personally, in approval/rejection ratios. Not a constructive strategy, in my opinion.
Why waste time with things that are more likely to bring your energy and determination down, when you can invest those resources in activities that build you up?
Connect with other writers — I’m here — get feedback and support from them and your audience. In the end, your readers are the only ones who matter anyway, right?
Collaborate with those worthy of the label and forget about everything else.
NOTE: If the publications game works for you, then, by all means, go for it for as long as you like.