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?

First, make sure you have our Curation Guidelines in mind while you write.

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.

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. 

Other questions

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.

Are non-English-language stories eligible for curation and distribution?
No. At this time, we are only able to review English-language stories.
Are Series eligible for distribution?
No. Series are not eligible for distribution.

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

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