August Update From the Partner Program
Story spotlight, Medium Editor tips, calls for submissions
For this update, we’ll spotlight several recent stories, dive into a few tips on using the Medium editor, share a few calls for submissions, and share the Partner Program earnings stats for August.
Recently we shared details on how Medium editors search the platform for compelling stories to feature in Medium publications. These stories receive higher-touch editorial attention and production. Here are a few stories that editors found on the platform and added to Medium publications.
In “My Friend Posted a Violent Manifesto on Facebook,” Michael R. McBride writes about the experience of witnessing mental breakdowns on social media. “I was first struck by the headline, but when I read the piece I was really drawn to how thoughtful it was,” shares OneZero Platform Editor Megan Morrone. “It really touches on one of OneZero’s most important missions — to write about how tech is changing us in so many unexpected ways. It’s an experience that many of us have probably had before. Although he writes about the problems with Facebook really leading to a feeling of helplessness as opposed to connection, reading his story made me feel more connected because I’ve had the same experience.”
Megan Smolenyak explores Kellyanne Conway’s family tree, connecting it to relevant political issues of today. “It’s a good example of an author using their professional expertise outside of writing to create a genuinely unique and well-executed story,” shares GEN Platform Editor Amanda Sakuma.
Another platform story included in GEN is “What Does the Rise of the Child Activist Say About Us?” In this story, Suchandrika Chakrabarti explores the social media cruelty directed at climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
Niklas Göke goes deeper into common obstacles to fulfilling goals in “You’re Not Lazy, Bored, or Unmotivated.” “I think what was striking about this piece,” says Forge Deputy Editor Cari Nazeer, “was the way it kind of turned a premise of so many personal-development stories on its head. There are stories out there about how to be more motivated or conquer laziness, but this one went deeper to get to the root of these problems, and did so in a really thoughtful, approachable way.”
In “Don’t Worry, You’re Used to Dying,” Sten Sootla takes the reader through a thought experiment around death and acceptance. “It’s a really unique, philosophical take on death,” shares Human Parts Deputy Editor Harris Sockel, “sort of Buddhism meets sci-fi.”
Comedian Chris Gethard imagines his son finding his work, and the resulting conversation in “How Will I Explain My HBO Special to My Son?” “It’s about how to come to terms with your art when your art portrays you in a flawed way.”
Alt text in the Medium editor
You can add alt text to describe images you include in your stories. Alt text helps those using screen readers understand what the image is. Alt text is also useful for slower internet connections, where the text can be displayed instead of the image. Learn more about using alt text here.
Format your titles and subtitles
Here’s a simple tip to improve the quality of your stories. Properly formatting your header will improve the readability of your story. While there are a variety of ways to present your title and subtitle, using the editor to format your title and subtitle provides the most consistent experience for readers. Learn more about formatting your titles and subtitles here. There is additional information in the curation guidelines: “Standard headline styling is title case for the headline and sentence case for the subtitle. This isn’t required but is ideal.”
This is part of an ongoing series of tips to help improve your stories. The curation team provided a few last month, you can find them here.
Calls for submissions
Several Medium publications are on the lookout for great stories. Read below to see what they’re looking for and submit your stories.
PULP: For writers, artists, and makers who can intersect the personal with the universal
Medium is partnering with PULP — a multimedia sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights publication asking the question “just what is this body?” and sharing work that brings current issues to the forefront from narratives that are often overlooked. If you have a fully written piece or story that would be a good fit for PULP, submit it here.
Slackjaw Humor Writing Challenge
Slackjaw has announced a humor writing challenge, which is currently live until September 21. You can find more information on joining the challenge here. “Slackjaw is Medium’s most-read humor publication with 90,000+ followers, and we want your funny writing! We also want to support humor writers — and aspiring humor writers — everywhere. That’s why we’re announcing our first Humor Writing Challenge.”
On August 28, we processed payments for the month of August. As usual, these payments were based on the depth of engagement from our members (distributing each member’s $5/month based on their engagement last month).
Based on member engagement from August:
- 57% of writers or publications who wrote at least one story for members earned money.
- 7.4% of active writers earned over $100.
- $19,145.81 was the most earned by a writer, and $4,383.38 was the most earned for a single story.
Words to write by
In “How To Evaluate Your Own Writing,” Zita Fontaine describes techniques learned in the world of advertising to help identify great ideas. Going deep into a three-point strategy, Fontaine shows how to improve your writing by better evaluating your ideas.
“When I’m evaluating a creative output, now in the form of articles and personal essays, it boils down to the same three things I used to evaluate other creative work: originality of the idea, novelty of the approach, uniqueness of the execution.”
For more writing inspiration, check out the stories in the Writing topic.