If you’ve worked with an editor before, you know the kind of support their expertise brings. Editors help bring the story to life, or take it to the next level. They see beyond the writing to the core of what you’re going for, and help you get there. You’re not alone—they’re with you through the challenging parts of shaping the piece. When everything goes right, readers will often find the story clearer and more compelling, and you will have delivered the best version of your story.
Opportunities to work with the editorial team are growing — this year, Medium has launched publications including OneZero, covering tech and science; Human Parts, publishing personal essays; ZORA, which is by, for, and about women of color; Elemental, which offers a scientific approach to health and wellness; Modus, on UX/UI design; GEN on politics, power, and culture; and Forge on personal development. There are more publications on the way.
Editors for these publications are looking for talented writers on the platform with compelling stories to tell, and when they find one of these stories, they may reach out to the writer to work with them on bringing it into their publication on a one-off or ongoing basis. When that happens, the story will receive higher-touch editorial attention and production by our professional editorial staff.
Some writers may already be familiar with this process: we recently introduced two of our editors who “elevate” into Medium’s publications, and followed up by answering more questions on how stories are sourced. This program has since expanded, and we’ve hired additional editors to further source stories and work with writers who are publishing on Medium. We want the community of writers on Medium to contribute to these publications.
In the articles linked above, we cover how editors find great stories from the community for Medium’s publications. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the next steps: how platform editors work together with writers to make their stories even stronger.
When platform editors find a story that would be a good fit for one of Medium’s publications, they will reach out and share the opportunity to include the story in the publication and ask for permission to make agreed-upon changes. Some stories that are selected may need little editing before moving on to the production stage, and others may benefit from more back and forth. This is completely optional for the writer; writers can choose not to do this, or opt out at any time.
Stories that require lighter edits may need minor copy edits to improve the story on a technical level, including fixing grammar and spelling issues. This also includes suggestions to update the headline and description to make the story display more engaging for Medium readers in advance of further distribution. Medium editors have knowledge of the topics that communities on Medium find compelling, as well as what framing would most resonate with those readers.
Stories that result in more collaboration with writers may include a stage of line editing that goes deeper into story organization in order to improve clarity and flow. These are stories that show great potential, but could be made more compelling by reshaping the writing. If there is a core of a great idea, editors will work closely with the writer to make it shine. Editors have built up an intuition of how to frame the story for Medium readers after working on countless stories and observing the audience’s responses to them.
After the edit stage, stories will go through the production process to come out looking polished. It’s not only commissioned writers who benefit from this on Medium — any story that the platform editors work with will get the same attention from our production team.
At this stage, a producer will make general formatting improvements on the story to make sure it reads well on Medium, has pull quotes, nice art. Drop caps are often added to the beginning of sections to give an extra sparkle to the piece. Images,either high-quality licensed photos or commissioned original illustrations, are introduced, just as we do for commissioned stories.
Stories are then added to the most relevant topics and to collections, publications, and other editorial packages to boost distribution and ensure that the readers who are most interested in the story will see it. Some stories may also be shared further on social channels and in our newsletters.
Building relationships with platform writers
Most of all, this is the start of a stronger relationship between our editors, producers, and you as a writer. We believe that great ideas can come from anywhere, and look forward to helping you bring your stories to life.