On receiving private notes from publications

An overview for Medium writers

Publications on Medium are shared spaces for collaboration and community—they allow writers and editors to come together to tell stories written around a common theme or topic. Medium hosts thousands of publications, and each has its own editors, goals, and submission policies. As a writer, adding your story to a publication is one way to help your work reach a wider audience. As an editor, publications can help you build community or a brand. Our publications tools make it easy for anyone to build a publication that looks great and can support many types of stories.

Many publications on our open platform recruit writers who self-publish on Medium, and you may hear from them through a private note on one of your stories. Lately, we’ve gotten some questions from writers about how to navigate and respond to these notes.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering an offer from a publication:

  • Who’s behind it? Take a look at the publication’s homepage and About page. Get to know its editors. What have they published on Medium? Do you share their interests?
  • Do you align with this publication’s editorial vision? Does the publication feel organized and intentional? Do you enjoy reading it? Check out a few of the publication’s stories and gauge whether you’d be excited to have yours appear alongside them.
  • Who is the publication’s audience? How many followers does it have? How often does it publish new stories, and what kind of engagement do its stories receive? Does it feel like an active, participatory community? 
  • Is this publication advertising a product or service? Advertisements and sponsorships are not allowed on Medium. If you notice that the publication seems to be marketing a product or service, we recommend avoiding letting them feature your work. There is a possibility the publication may use your content to market their products, which would disqualify your story from further distribution across Medium.

Keep in mind that once you accept the offer and your story is added to a publication, that publication’s editors will be able to make changes to your story without your permission. They’ll also be able to view all private notes you or anyone else has left on the story. For those reasons, it’s important to make sure you trust a publication’s editors before accepting their offer.

If you do decide to accept a publication’s offer, you can respond directly to the editor’s private note on your story page. Just click the asterisk in the margin of your story and reply right there.

Still have questions about responding to private notes from publication editors? Contact us.

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