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I’ll Just Say It: Medium Should Get Rid Of Publications

Okay, so before you start throwing the stones… hear me out.

I like publications. No, really I do.

I publish 90% of my stuff in publications.

The majority of my success in the first couple of months on this platform was due to the publications I had the privilege to publish with. Great ones like Start it up, Better Marketing, Better Humans, or Curious.

Most of my viral hits from these first few months were stories published in those prestigious publications.


Here’s the problem. The rest of my well-received posts weren’t. They were either published in smaller pubs, in open publications like Illumination, or self-published. This means even without the hassle of jumping through a rigorous acceptance hoop, the stories did just as well, or even better.


More recently I was and still am an editor for two publications. I was for Thoughts and Ideas and I still am for The Shortform with Tom Fenske and Kristina God. I also run my own publication.

Of course, I do publish many of my posts in these pubs, especially The Shortform. The latest viral and also my most viewed post to date live at The Shortform.

Overall a great experience with publications, right?

Yes and no.

Here’s the deal…

… and we all know it. Publication editors don’t get paid for the work they do.

Some did a while back but then Medium cut the funding for this. Which resulted in the shut down of a couple of the biggies like P.S. I Love You or The Ascent.

The folks at Medium run a few of their own publications as well. These editors get paid (I assume).

So, it’s not a level playing field right there.

Medium seem to want to move away from publications.

If Medium really want to, then they should just get rid of publications altogether.


  • A level playing field for everybody.
  • Only self-publishing.
  • No unpaid editors. No unpaid editorial work.
  • No advantages or disadvantages of getting in or being rejected by publications.

Want to create a niche?

  • use lists as a replacement for publications (read more about that by Anthony Lawrence (Pcunix))
  • organize your tags, specifically the tags tailored to the readers’ interests which you can find in each stories’ stats
  • introduce kickers to generally establish the theme of any given post, you can also make this kicker clickable and let it lead to one of your lists with related stories
  • sort and group stories on your profile, don’t pin multiple posts at the top but pin one post with all relevant groupings, lists, and favorites

The downsides

Getting rid of publications means… well, you can’t follow publications anymore. So, you can’t follow the niches of your interest. But instead, you could follow tags that fit those interests. And the algorithm should ideally take care of the rest. Heavy emphasis on the word “ideally” here.

The upsides

  • Just publish. Don’t wait for approval or rejection
  • No one edits your work (without permission, Susie Kearley ran into that problem)
  • Schedule your stories as you like. Pick the perfect time of the day (which is important for views)

You can read more about the upsides here:

6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Publish With a Publication
There are good reasons to

The bottom line

Again, I like publications.

I don’t like that the work of editors isn’t getting paid.

I‘m not saying I want Medium to do away with pubs.

But if Medium execs want to move away from publications, then they should get rid of them altogether. For a level playing field.

Now you can throw the stones.

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