Ugur Akinci
Why You Shouldn’t Quote an Hourly Rate for Your Writing

7 Key Components of Publishing & Curation Success on Medium

Photo Ugur Akinci

When I started writing daily on Medium back in December 2019, I had zero curated articles. I was a rookie who did not quite know what he was doing on a platform visited by millions of membership-fee-paying readers every day.

At the end of January 2020, just a short month later, I had eight stories curated (surprising even myself).

I’ll provide a short analysis of these curated stories and offer my understanding of why they were selected by the Medium editors for wide distribution.

But first…

Articles curated by Medium are shared through category homepages, emails, app, and other distribution channels. It provides maximum visibility for a writer. It’s a good thing.

The surprising thing is, when I started back in December 2019, every story I published was accompanied by the following note:

Translation: your story will not be curated or distributed. Period.


That was discouraging, to say the least, and I didn’t know what to do to go around this obstacle.

To help the situation, I started to post my stories not only on my own publication Writer’s Journal but on other and more-established publications as well. That helped. I’m grateful to The Book Mechanic, The Ascent, and The Startup. The advantages I expected from publishing in a well-established publication started to bear its fruits and the Medium editors started to take notice and curate my articles.

I have reached a point after publishing daily for a month where the Medium editors started to notice stories published directly on my own publication as well. That was direct proof that Medium recognized quality no matter where you publish your stories.

From now on I’ll not only continue to publish daily but also distribute my stories evenly among different publications, including my own Writer’s Journal, depending on the subject matter.

  1. Why You Shouldn’t Quote an Hourly Rate for Your Writing Services (Curated in FREELANCING category)
  2. Words of Wisdom if You Feel You’ve Failed at Everything in Life (Curated in SELF category)
  3. How to Write an “Issue Case Study” that Every Company Needs (Curated in WRITING category)
  4. 7 Time-Proven Ways to Fight and Beat the Writer’s Block (Curated in WRITING category)
  5. The Neurological Reason Why It’s Hard to Quit or Acquire a Habit (Curated in NEUROSCIENCE category)
  6. Two Types of Stresses — One Will Kill You but the Other Will Save Your Life (Curated in SELF category)
  7. The Fallacy of “Affirming the Consequent” in Nonfiction Writing (Curated in WRITING category)
  8. The Unforgettable Life Lesson of My First 30 Push-Ups (Curated in SELF category)

And here are the reasons why I think eight of my stories were selected in one month for curation and wide distribution:

  1. These are all long stories, around 2,000 words and 7-minutes reading time. This means they are packed with content, the good stuff that probably made a number of readers say “wow, I didn’t know that.”
  2. They all have a thesis, a viewpoint, an argument. They are written to deliver some sort of message, a solution to a problem, with a practical action-item at the end.
  3. Most of them have examples and exercises to explain a point made earlier.
  4. They are written in a conversational tone, avoiding the abstract language of academic writing. All of them also have something personal shared from my life and past experiences. That I believe increases the relevance of the stories and establishes a stronger following.
  5. They are packed with relevant links, reading list and references to help the reader keep learning about the subject matter.
  6. They have eye-catching and relevant images. For at least one story (The Neurological Reason Why It’s Hard to Quit or Acquire a Habit) I spent half an hour going through hundreds of images in Unsplash and Pixabay to find the one that summarized the story’s main topic the best.
  7. They are not listicles, that is, a list disguising as an article. When I do provide a list, it’s always an integral part of the story and not the story itself.

In short, I spent a considerable amount of time researching, outlining, and writing these stories to make sure they would offer a good value for the readers’ time and money (see below).

Since my stories are behind Medium’s payment wall, I’m aware that my readers are paying a monthly fee to have access to my work. I respect that. That’s why I do not pack a flimsy excuse-of-a-story with affiliation, sales and advertisement links and use Medium as a cash-generation tool. I believe both the readers and Medium editors appreciate that which explains the high curation rate and the way my monthly income (which is still peanuts) jumped by 228% between December 2019 and January 2020. I expect the positive trend to continue as long as I continue to deliver quality stuff.

I hope all this helps with your publishing efforts on Medium and positions all your stories as great candidates for curation and wide dissemination.

Take the high road. Write in subjects for which you have a strong feeling, a good argument, a new approach. Try to solve a problem that your readers have. Invest time to make sure your stories are the most informing, entertaining, and eye-opening stuff you can write on the topic.

Then hit the Publish button and leave the rest to fate and Medium editors.

Good luck!

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