Frequently asked questions about distribution on Medium

How do I enable my story to have the opportunity to be reviewed by curators and added to topics?

When you finish a draft and click “Ready to publish?”, you will see an option to allow curators to review your story. If the curators end up reviewing and selecting your story, it will be added to one or more topics on Medium and recommended to readers interested in those topics on our homepage, in our app, and in our Digest email, through our metered paywall.

If you are in the Medium Partner Program, this option will also enable your story to earn money.

How will I know if my story has been selected by curators?

You can find your story’s curation and distribution status on the story stats page. You will see at the top of the page whether your story has been reviewed and selected for distribution (and in what topics). To visit your story stats page, go to your writer stats page and click “Details” for a particular story.

We’ll also email you every time a story is selected for distribution in a topic — make sure to have the email setting enabled for “Notifications on my stories” to receive the emails. If your story is not selected, you will not receive a notification beyond the updated status on your story stats page.

What happens if my story is not selected by curators?

Stories that are not selected by the curators will not be recommended to readers based on their topic interests. Readers who follow you on Medium will still see your story in their “New From Your Network” section.

If you are not in the Medium Partner Program, and your story is not selected, then it will not be part of the metered paywall.

If you are in the Medium Partner Program, and your story is not selected, then it will still be part of the metered paywall given that the story will still be eligible to earn money from member engagement.

What if I don’t want my story to be included in topics, or be part of Medium’s metered paywall?

You can write an unmetered post by unchecking the distribution settings box on your story, either during the initial publish flow or after you publish. Turning off your post’s distribution setting will prevent curators from reviewing your story for distribution as part of the metered paywall. Because curators will not review your story, it will not be eligible to be distributed to readers through topics and will be shown only to direct followers in their New From Your Network section — and to anyone who has the direct story link.

Even if you are in the Medium Partner Program, your story will not be eligible for earnings if its distribution setting is off.

My story was not curated. Why is that? 

At the moment, we cannot respond to each inquiry regarding why a story was not accepted for distribution by curators. However, your story will still be hosted on Medium and distributed to readers who follow you — or who follow the publication, if you published in a publication. 

Several common reasons why a story might be rejected are: clap or donation requests, copyrighted photos, undisclosed affiliate links, or headline violations. Please read through the Curation Guidelines for further details. 

I’ve met all the curation standards. Why wasn’t I curated?

As you know, we have our publicly available Curation Guidelines, so always make sure you are writing with those in mind. But even posts that meet those minimum criteria may not be selected for additional distribution.

Curators are looking for the absolute best quality posts, which is inherently subjective. We understand it can be a mysterious process. We are working on improving our feedback channels, but at this time we are unable to provide editing or advice on why a story was not chosen.

 While we do this work, we encourage you to keep writing, and to always publish your best work to Medium. Many writers have found success in peer review — or editing with others before publishing — this can help you make sure you are adhering to the Curation Guidelines and are presenting your story in the best form it can be.

How long does it take to review a story?

It can take up to two weeks to review a story. If you story has been pending review beyond this amount of time, you can write in to address the issue.

Do I need to be in the Partner Program or a member to be curated?

No, you don’t have to enroll in the Partner Program or be a Medium member to have the opportunity to be curated. You only need to check the box before publishing your story to “Allow curators to recommend my story to interested readers.”

Can I still earn if my story is not curated?

If you are enrolled in the Partner Program, you can earn money on your stories whether or not your story is curated. 

I am in the Partner Program and my story has been curated. Why am I not earning? 

Partner Program payouts are based on member interactions with your metered story. Curation doesn’t correspond to guaranteed earnings. Learn more about earning money through the Partner Program.

My story has been curated. Why are my views low? 

When your story is curated, it is recommended to readers interested in the topic(s) it has been added to across our homepage, app, topic page, and emails. Topics can have different levels of followers and engaged readers, and that is dependent upon many factors, such as frequency of curation into that topic, newsworthiness, and other factors and trends that we can't measure or predict.

As such, it is difficult to determine how a curated post will perform in the short or long term. One thing to note is that once a post is curated, it will continue to be presented to followers of that topic and to all new followers of that topic. So while the immediate effects of curation might not be evident, the long-term results might exceed what the story would have gotten without being curated.

How can I get additional views and grow my readership? 

There are numerous strategies to grow your audience and expand the reach of your stories. Improving the formatting, readability, and quality as outlined in the Curation Guidelines will go a long way. You can find tips in the Help Center around growing distribution. You can also submit to Medium publications. You can also promote your story on social media. 

About Medium's paywall

Who can read stories behind Medium’s metered paywall?

The vast majority of people will be able to read your story for free. Any Medium reader who is either a member or has not yet read their allotment of free stories for the month will access your story completely free (and without ads). Over 90 million people read Medium per month, and the overwhelming majority never reach their monthly limit.

You can also guarantee that the people you care about will not encounter the paywall on your story by sharing a Friend Link. You’ll get a personalized Friend Link when you publish your story, and you can always find that link on your story page when you are signed into your account on Medium. You can share your Friend Link with, well, friends — on Twitter, Facebook, via email, or anywhere else — to make sure they can always read your story.

Additionally, readers will never see the paywall when reading stories shared on Twitter. Learn more.

What are Friend Links and how do I use them?

A Friend Link is a special link to a story that allows a reader to bypass Medium’s metered paywall. We make this link available to writers so that they can share a “meter-free” version of their story with their friends and followers on social media. To find the Friend Link, open the story that you would like to share, click the gear icon at the top of the page, click “Share with friends,” and copy the special URL link.

When should I share my Friend Link?

You’ll get a personalized Friend Link that you can share as soon as you publish your story. This Friend Link will work regardless of whether or not the curators select your story to distribute through the metered paywall — either way, anyone who visits your story via the Friend Link will be able to read your story for free.

About curation on Medium

What are the curators on Medium’s editorial team looking for when they read my stories?

In short, curators are looking for thoughtful, clearly written pieces that tell a compelling story, convey an interesting idea, or share a smart point of view. These can take many forms — we don’t have a specific mold we’re looking to fill. We explicitly do not want to distribute misinformation, stories with clickbait headlines, stories that are primarily marketing a product or service, stories that use photos that the author doesn’t have the rights to use, or stories with excessive typos and errors. Please read our Curation Guidelines for more information.

Who reviews the stories?

Real live humans! Medium’s team of curators apply our best practices and standards to every story review. Curators come from diverse backgrounds and have a wide array of interests and expertise, from writing to teaching to industry.

How do you decide which stories to review?

Due to curator capacity constraints, not all stories marked to allow review will be reviewed by curators. However, regardless of whether your story is reviewed, your story will be live on Medium as soon as you hit “publish,” and you can share it with whomever you like.

Are non-English-language stories eligible for curation and distribution?
No. At this time, we are only able to review English-language stories.

Distribution settings

Can I change my mind about whether I want to distribute a story?

Yes — you can change your earnings and distribution decision after you publish the story. Simply go back into the story editor and change your earnings and distribution selection via the “...” menu.

To disable your distribution setting — From the story editor, open the “...” menu, select the distribution setting option, and uncheck the box. Your story will no longer be recommended to readers, except those who follow you, in the New From Your Network section, as it will no longer be a part of our metered paywall. Accordingly, it will also no longer be eligible to earn through the Medium Partner Program. You can learn more here.

To enable your distribution setting — From the story editor, open the “...” menu, select the distribution setting option, and check the box. Your story will become part of the metered paywall. It may be reviewed by curators if they have capacity, but since we prioritize recently published stories for review, there is no guarantee that they will review the story. If you are in the Medium Partner Program, then your story will now be eligible to earn money.

I didn’t expect my post to be behind the paywall. What can I do?

You can always remove your story from Medium's paywall. However, because your post will no longer be a part of our metered paywall, it will also no longer be recommended to readers, except those who follow you (in their New From Your Network section). You can learn more here.

Are my older stories eligible for review by curators?

Only stories published after we implemented our new system for reviewing and recommending stories are eligible for curator review. To see whether or not a story is eligible for review, go to the story editor, select the “...” menu, and select “Manage distribution setting.”

Writers in the Medium Partner Program can always choose to put older stories behind the paywall to earn money (without curator review), via the “...” menu.

Do the tags I select affect my curation or distribution?

No, they do not. Tags are not shown to curators, nor do they factor in to any decisions about curation or distribution.

There is a difference between tags and topics on Medium.

Tags are applied by the author, and do not factor in to distribution on Medium. The tags you set on your story will enable your story to appear on that specific tag's page, where readers interested in the subject can find a reverse chronological feed of all stories within that tag. Tags cannot be followed.

Topics power the distribution of stories on Medium, including the homepage, the apps, and the Daily Digest. Only curators can add topics to a story, as part of the review and distribution process. Readers can follow topics, which helps us better personalize the stories we show on Medium surfaces. Again, the tags you set on the post do not influence or affect curators’ distribution decisions.

Medium Partner Program

How can I earn money for my stories?

Join the Medium Partner Program to earn money for any stories that live as part of the metered paywall. You are not required to join the Partner Program in order to send stories to the curators for review or in order to be distributed in topics. Instead, the purpose of the program is to empower writers to earn money for their great stories.

I’m already a writer in Medium’s Partner Program. Can I still choose which of my stories will be able to earn money?

Yes. The location of this setting has moved from the top of the story editor. Now it lives in the “Ready to publish?” confirmation screen for a draft, as well as in the “...” menu in the story editor.

Simply make sure the distribution and earnings setting is checked, and your story will be able to earn money through Medium’s metered paywall, regardless of whether the curators decide to recommend your story in topics. As soon as you publish with the box checked, your post will immediately be eligible to start earning money as part of Medium’s metered paywall.

What if I would like to earn money for my stories, but can’t join the Medium Partner Program because of the country I live in?

We partner with Stripe to process and secure payments for our Partner Program. Stripe currently supports 26 countries, and they frequently add support for new countries. Unfortunately, right now there is no way to enroll in the Partner Program if you live in a country not supported by Stripe. View the Stripe Global website to see the list of supported countries, to sign up for email notifications when support for your country is added, and to request an invite for countries they are beta testing. No matter where you live, you can still submit your English-language stories to our curators for review to receive topic distribution and reach interested readers throughout the Medium network. At this time, we are only able to review English-language stories.


Can stories in publications be reviewed by curators?

Yes. Stories in publications are eligible to be reviewed by curators, just like stories outside of publications. If a story in a publication meets our quality and Curation Guidelines, curators will add the story to topics and recommend it to readers across Medium through our metered paywall.

Can I manage the earnings and distribution setting for my story that is in a publication?

Yes. You will be asked to select your story’s earnings and distribution setting when you submit your draft to the publication. The publication editors will not be able to change or override your selection, even after accepting your submission.

If you are submitting a previously published story to a publication, then you can always update the distribution setting for your story by visiting the “...” menu in the story editor.

Have more questions? Click here to contact a member of our User Services team.

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