Medium Publications: How to handle multiple invitations?
Serve one, or serve all?
UPDATE 09 Feb 2021:
I read (or imagined?) a rumor that Medium.com does not curate articles that aren’t metered to earn money for Medium.com. (Forgot where I read that.)
In any case, I realize I may be hurting Medium.com by making my articles free rather than have them pay Medium.com via readership. Full details
I’ll be using Twitter to continue making my articles free to read, while getting Medium.com paid by readers who don’t bother to go to my Twitter to obtain Friend Links.
My Medium.com profile page links to all educational articles I write; I don’t want to be shout out my opinion pieces.
I’m hoping that my educational articles, when put behind Medium.com’s paywall, can help Medium.com grow and serve the world better.
UPDATE 07 Feb 2021:
To the publication editors who generously invited me to publish in your publications: I’m sorry to say that I can’t accept your invitations simply because I’ve been paralyzed by choice overload.
I just wanna write what I learn, mainly for knowledge retention.
I must also disclose that I’m choosing The Startup as the only publication I will submit my articles to, simply because:
- The Startup was the first publication that took in my articles (Python stuff).
- I have an OCD that wants to avoid having my articles spread over multiple publications. (Especially articles of the same type/topic.)
If that means some of my articles don’t get carried by a publication, so be it. I have no need for the traffic/readership.
I also have no wish to spend effort in building my own following or brand name. I want to write. I’ll leave the marketing to the publication. Though some of my articles outside of a publication already garnered hundreds of reads within days, I have no interest in analyzing why and in repeating the “success”.
I just want to write! Thank you all for your encouragement and support!
Written: 24 Jan 2021
Recently, I’ve gotten a few invitations from Medium.com publications for the few articles I’ve written. As I have only recently started blogging, I’m very surprised, and certainly deeply honored and flattered, by the invitations from these professional bloggers/writers!
This article is a request for help and advice. I hope the community of experienced Medium.com bloggers will be willing to guide me via responses to this article.
Aiming to write better
Although I’m adequately proficient in English (am native English speaker), and I did train in school for journalism at some point, I’m not a professional writer. (I’m primarily a STEM person, working in a wide spectrum of software and technology fields: cybersecurity, software engineering, data sciences, etc.)
I’m also reasonably acquainted with cognitive psychology that allows me to direct my writing such that readers can better enjoy and process the content I write.
The main purpose of submitting my stories (upon invitation) to publications will be to hope that professional writers/editors can spot errors/issues in my writing, or even outright tell me how to write properly if they feel generous in guiding me.
So far, the article that got accepted by a publication, the only article I submitted, was not at all modified or improved. It’s not that I deny the possibly solid quality of my writing, but criticism is always good news to me. No news is indeed bad news; even for perfect writing, the lack of criticism almost always means stagnation. (I do understand that editing is a paid service.)
Will I learn to write better by publishing under publications?
That said, I’m currently writing technical references that don’t aim to garner insane volumes of traffic. I want to learn to write better in terms of both content and engagement, but also in a way that aligns with the main aims of my technical references.
Writing to Inform and Educate
Although the technical references I write have much effort spent on flow, and can aid learning even better than well organized textbooks, they are still a content form that eschews the principles of successful blogging.
I want my readers to learn knowledge/skill from these references, not get distracted by calls-to-action or email lists.
Listicles, for example, don’t work in technical references. Knowledge is built as a map of interconnected concepts, not a plain top-to-bottom list of barely connected facts.
However, I’m not opposed to crafting 2 versions of each technical reference: one for education, and one for the benefit of the publication. I want to benefit the publications just as much as I want to benefit learners who subscribe to said publications.
Will I still need the traffic-building expertise on the staff of publications if I’m only ever writing technical references?
That said, I do want my technical references to benefit as many people as possible.
Wide Reach vs Value Delivered
Should I publish under publications that have the most subscribers so that my technical references can have wider reach?
Or should I go for publications with the correct (and possibly very trim) audience for my technical references so that they reach a larger volume of ready beneficiaries?
And then, there’s the issue of organizing my technical references so that beneficiaries can look them up easily.
Organization of stories, topics
I want learners to be able to look up my technical references in a logical way: tables of content, indexes, topical groupings, etc.
Should my technical references on a single topic be split across multiple publications?
I do plan to have “articles” that function as “Tables of Content” or indexes that lead to all my technical references. Will that address my need to organize my technical references, even as I split my technical references across multiple publications?
I would anticipate that a single publication probably won’t agree with every single one of my technical references, so that would preclude the possibility of housing them all under a single publication?
I also want to stay with Medium.com platform. I don’t want to spend time creating and maintaining the infrastructure for my own blog. I’m well-versed in a wide variety of Content Management Systems, such as Jekyll, Wordpress/Joomla/Drupal, and so on. But I would still like to spend all of my time on learning and writing.
Keeping Articles Up-to-date
Can I update the technical references I publish under publications?
I feel it would be rude of me to change my stories published under publications. The editors would get a nasty surprise if they find my updated stories to be unsuitable for their publications.
However, I still may need to update my technical references from time to time for a couple of reasons:
- New knowledge that obsoletes older knowledge. Same for technologies, skills, and so on. Aka “state-of-art updates”.
- Links to other technical references to form a more complete and connected map of technical references as I write on more topics that are related.
Will my updates be held for approval by publication editors, or will they be published by Medium.com immediately? I prefer the former.
Will publications have writing style guidelines that I can follow and that also allow state-of-art updates to the technical references I write?
Focusing on writing, not marketing
While I’m pretty sure I can probably make a lot more money if I study online marketing from the likes of Neil Patel, my interest is in learning and imparting knowledge, not in marketing.
I have limited time each day, and I want to spend my time on studying the topics I like (technology, linguistics, psychology) and on devising creative ways (instructed by cognitive psychology) to present these topics for easier consumption.
If the staff on publications are interested to market my writing for their own profit, I will gladly provide content for their profit-oriented goals.
I probably answered my own question of “whether to publish under publications”. I should do so, because publications will deliver the value I create to more beneficiaries, and also simply because I’m making myself useful to these publications.