Part 3 of 5: Publications

Exclusive crash course for early Medium success. 

Photo by NMG Network on Unsplash

Hello! Welcome to the five-part series and a full-blown introduction to the Medium platform. In this crash course, we will look at various parts of the Medium equation. Then, we will figure out how you can jump-start your success on the platform.


  • Part 1: Intro & Familiarizing Yourself with the Platform
  • Part 2: Creating a Writing Schedule
  • Part 3 (You are here): Publications
  • Part 4: Building your Medium Clan
  • Part 5: Promoting Yourself & the Secret to Real Monetization

Publications for beginners

Publications are the next logical step in your Medium learning curve. This lesson will be more complicated but also shorter than previous lessons. That’s because there is not a whole lot to say about publications.

Here’s how I look at them: the more you give, the more you get.

If you want to succeed on Medium, publications are your vehicle. But that doesn’t mean they provide a shortcut. Believe me, you will have to work diligently and intentionally to access the full potential publications.

What are publications?

When I started on Medium, someone explained publications to me as digital magazines. That explanation has stuck with me since.

Publications are individual collectives usually of specific niches. Hence, the magazine comparison.

Imagine you go to the store and pick up a copy of Sports Illustrated magazine. Inside, there will be a collection of writings from various correspondents. You expect those articles are tailored to sports fanatics, right?

That’s exactly what a publication is on Medium. A continuous online magazine, without specific editions. They are a collective of writers who produce content towards a dignified niche.

Why should you use publications on Medium?

The cool thing about publications on Medium is their reach. Once you get into a publication, you will be exposed to a large audience of tailored readers.

Usually, too, those who join publications are active readers. Meaning they’re likely paid members of Medium. I’ve found I get paid more from views in publications.

That changes the game.

If you can reach a wider audience and get paid more, why wouldn’t you want to publish through a publication?

The disadvantages of publications

So, the reason why many people fail to use publications? It’s a lot of work.

I don’t mean that lightly. Generally, there are three types of writers on Medium:

  1. Those who don’t write for publications.
  2. Those who use publications the lazy way (I’ll explain).
  3.  Those who put in the work and maximize benefits from publications.

What do I mean by ‘the lazy way’ of utilizing publications? I mean when writers get too stuck in their ways and too comfortable with the publications they submit to.

Think about it this way: If you’re constantly publishing through 1 or 2 publications, you’ll eventually stop reaching new readers.

Once readers of a publication get used to you, they may or may not like you. Meaning they may or may not skip over your articles. Hopefully, they like you and become an avid reader. But what if they don’t? What if your articles are being brushed over?

Then, you’ve missed out on a huge opportunity.

Finding the right publication for your work is time-consuming. It’s half the battle on Medium if you ask me.

Not only that, but it is impossible to stay on a strict publishing schedule when submitting to publications. That’s because most publications will take 3–5 days to answer your submission. Plus, it’s no guarantee your piece will be published.

Rejection is harsh, especially when you worked hard on a piece. I have had some pieces rejected that I was so proud of. Likewise, I’ve had pieces that were accepted that surprised me. Generally, editors of publications are nice and if they must reject you, they do it in a respectful way.

My best advice is to just keep writing and submitting on schedule. Act like the “Submit to Publication” button is the “Publish” button. Don’t wait for an answer from a publication before writing your next piece. Just. Keep. Writing.

What’s the best way to use Medium publications?

Stay active. Shop around for new publications constantly. Take notes on the kinds of articles a publication will accept. Take notes on how a publication’s audience reacts to given subjects. Always try to tailor your work to a specific audience in a specific publication.

When you sit down to write, have your audience and publication in mind.

I try to join one new publication per week. That means I put in the effort to figure out how I can become a writer for a new publication once a week. There are hundreds of them on Medium.

As a matter of fact, I have a perfect tool for you. It’s called Smedian. It’s a third-party platform that allows you to easily find publications that suit you. It’s the mecca of Medium publication databases.

I also have another tool for your research. It’s a template I created for my own publication research. Especially useful when I was first getting started. I’ve left some of my early research available to you, but I suggest adding to it to find publications that suit you, too. You might need to copy and paste the template to your own spreadsheet.

You will find the template great for staying organized in your research. It’s a reference I am always coming back to and relying on when trying to find a publication for my idea.

If you’d like my up-to-date template so you don’t have to do the research, consider joining my Patreon!

Pro Tips:

1. Find out where your favorite writers are publishing their work. The cool thing about Medium publications is that the small guys can publish in the same places as the big boys. All it takes is good writing!

2. Remember to track your successes with various Medium publications. Every time you get published in a new publication, track your success. By gauging which audiences interact with your writing most, you’ll propel your journey and publish more intentionally.

Publications are key to Medium success

If you pay attention to all successful writers, they will tell you it’s impossible to grow without publications. Especially without an audience at the beginning.

Use publications as intended. Take advantage of the fact that they give a voice to the small guys — us. Find publications that tailor to your niche(s). Grow your audience. And turn your Medium writing into a stable income.

Read the next lesson in the “Read More” section below.

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