A Not So Gentle Reminder
When people Google how to succeed on this platform, one of the first pieces of advice they find recommends submitting to established publications. And on the face of it, that would make sense. But the further along the road I get here, the less convinced I am that course of action is worth its weight in dog shit. And here’s a perfect example of why I say that.
Recently, one of my favorite writers on Medium suggested I submit to a publication I won’t name, citing that she had a story appear there and garnered some new readers in the process.
The very next day, I wrote a story that didn’t fit the format of any of the 7 publications I’ve started here to avoid submitting to others. Normally, there would be context for at least one of that septet. But not with what I wrote that day.
So I sent it off to see if I would meet with the success my friend had. Bad idea. What followed was no fewer than 20 private notes nitpicking away at what I’d written.
I’m not saying that some of the suggestions weren’t worthy. But I will say this: I’ve been published in the Daily Beast, NY Daily News, New York magazine, the New York Times, and about 40 other publications not worth mentioning. And I have never had an editor make near the number of comments and requests that this guy (and girl) did.
I had to say to myself “I’d better make at least a few hundred dollars on this given how much reading and extra work I had to do to get this silly story published.”
Finally, the powers published the story a day and a half ago. As of now, it has 12 views and 25 cents in earnings. Now, I ask you. Was it worth a quarter to have people who don’t make a living as editors or writers — and probably have never been published in any major league medium — pick their way through your story with a fine-tooth comb as if they’d earned that privilege in the writing and editing world?
Not hardly. I’m no star here on Medium since the boss pulled all my curation. But rarely, do I have a story perform that poorly. All of which tells me to never subject myself to the whims of amateurs in pursuit of the Medium holy grail.
While there are some very good writers on this platform, the truth remains that this is an amateur hour show where just a tiny percentage of the legions of writers actually make a living here.
Don’t humiliate yourself by submitting to publications and having people of less stature judge you. Just start your own publication and let the pieces fall where they may. At least you’ll have your integrity.