Frequently asked questions about distribution on Medium

The answers below are applicable to a small pilot program we are running to give writers the option to get their stories in front of our curation team and added to topics for distribution. It is not yet rolled out to all Medium users. To get more tips for how to write great stories on Medium, read our Curation Guidelines.

How do I make sure my story will be reviewed by curators and added to topics?


Select the “yes” option during the publish flow in answer to the question, “Would you like Medium to distribute your story?”. This signals to us that you would like curators on our editorial team to review your stories to be added to topics on Medium, which power our recommendations to readers. If the curators select your story, they will distribute it to readers interested in those topics on our homepage, in our app, and in our Digest email, through our metered paywall.

How do I tell if my story has been selected by curators?


The stats page for your story will have the curation status of the story at the top of the page - whether it is pending review, has been selected (and in what topics), or was not selected. Simply to go your Stats page and click “Details” for that particular story. We’ll also email you every time a story is selected.

What happens if my story is not selected by curators?


Stories that are not selected by the curators will not be distributed through topics, but readers who follow you on Medium will still see your story in their “New From Your Network” section.

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


Select the “no” option during the publish flow in answer to the question, “Would you like Medium to distribute your story?”. Curators will not review your story, and therefore it will not be eligible for distribution in topics. It will be shown only to readers who follow you, in their New From Your Network section in the email digest and on the homepage (as it is today) — and to anyone who has the direct link. It will also not be eligible for earnings through the Medium Partner Program.

Who can read stories behind Medium’s metered paywall?


The vast majority of people on the internet will still be able to read your story for free. Any Medium reader who is either 1) a member or 2) has not yet read their allotment of free stories for the month will access your story completely free (and without ads). Over 80 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 the Friend Link immediately after publishing your story, and you can also find it on your story page when you are signed into your account on Medium. You can share this link with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, via email, or anywhere else to make sure they can always read your story.

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, or stories with excessive typos and errors. Please read our Curation Guidelines for more information.

Who will be reviewing my 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 interest and expertise, from writing to teaching to industry.

How long will it take for my stories to be reviewed?


A curator will review your story within 24 hours, and likely much sooner. However, as soon as you hit “publish,” your story will be live on Medium, and you can share it with whomever you like.

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


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

If you previously marked “Yes,” and change to “No,” your story will no longer be distributed 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.

If you previously marked “No” and change to “Yes,” the story will be sent to the curators to review for distribution through topics, though more recently published stories will be prioritized for review.

Note that only stories published on or after October 2 are eligible for review and will display distribution settings in the “...” menu.

Are my older stories eligible for review by curators?


Only stories published on or after October 2 are currently eligible for curator review.

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 link URL. Read more about Friend Links here.

How can I earn money for my stories?


Join the Medium Partner Program to earn money for any stories that are distributed through the metered paywall. You are not required to join the Partner Program in order to send stories to the curators for review, however.

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 on the story draft itself to the publish flow. Simply select “Yes, make this story eligible” in the earnings and distribution settings section during the publish flow, and your story will be able to earn money through Medium’s metered paywall regardless of whether the curators decide to distribute your story.

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 the guidelines, curators will add it to topics and distribute the story to readers across Medium through our metered paywall.

How can I reach someone at Medium with questions or feedback?


We welcome your feedback — send an email to emma_smith@medium.com and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible!

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