Growth and Good-byes

I have decided to close my Medium account, and in fact deleted it this morning.

The service and its readers have been good to me–“liking” stories and poems and providing feedback. I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t from my time on Medium–and that’s exactly the problem.

Because of what I learned there, I have been placing stories with edited journals now for over a year–everything from dark crime stories, to uplifting tales of growth and acceptance, to literary explorations of the human tragedy. But none of those was published on Medium, for the very simple reason that almost no edited journals out there will even bother to read a story that’s been published elsewhere, anywhere, even on what’s essentially a group blogging platform–or even on a personal blog, no matter how obscure. Because you can post anything you want, good, bad, or indulgent, on your own blog or on platforms such as Medium. And while there is in fact great work on Medium, and on personal blogs, there’s a lot of clumsy fluff as well. Anyone can post anything. That is a severe drawback. And it obviates the possibility of selling first serial rights, which is what magazines ask in exchange for their promotion of your work and their occasional paychecks to you.

At this point in my career, which has already gotten a very late start, I cannot afford to disqualify my work from consideration in the stringent world of magazine publishing. I need to publish a short story collection somewhere soon. Telling editors and readers that I’ve uploaded these stories to Medium would actually suppress my chances of getting a contract. Self-publishing, as I have learned from my novels, is no answer, unless you have lots of money for promotion.

And now that Medium has instituted its partial paywall, my stats have withered away, so I’m not getting even the readership I could boast of a little bit in years before that change.

I thank Medium for serving as a test bed for my short stories and recent poems. But its success is also its failure. For me to stay there now would hold me back in the serious publishing world. And so, good-bye to Medium–with many thanks!

Rick Risemberg