Writing Challenge on Medium

How Can I Publish Everyday If I Have To Wait For Big Publications to Accept My Stories?

Good question. Here’s my answer.

How I feel sometimes, waiting for big publications to accept my submissions. Photo by Tim Cooper on Unsplash

I had pondered that question many times. I have also came across the answer to that question a few times from other writers.

“I want to publish everyday but how can I do that if I’m a new writer and it takes ages for big publications to publish my piece?”

I hear you, brothers and sisters.

I’ll be answering Shruthi Sundaram’s question today:

“Even if I do submit articles to publications, they would take time to publish your articles right? Especially if they are big pubs. And also if you are a first time writer there.

So how do I publish frequently when I also want to publish in big pubs? Going forward I also wanted to maintain a balance between big pubs and pubs that resonate with me.”

How do you publish frequently if you want to publish in big pubs?

The thing about publishing with big publications

You can publish frequently with a few times of being published in big publications. But you can’t publish frequently in big publications. Notice the difference?

I have never publish anything with Medium’s own publications before. I had tried once to pitch an idea to Human Parts but I didn’t make the cut. A lot of people aim to get published by Medium-owned publications. It’s a tough competition.

I had wanted to try again but figured I’ll give it some time. I wanted to hone my writing skills before I jump back in.

It never happened.

I haven’t made another attempt ever since.

I’ve published with a handful of other publications, big and small. My observation of how my pieces are performing shows that being published by well-known publications does not guarantee a high level of readership.

I’m not saying that publishing with big publications is not worth your while.

It just doesn’t work for me.

I have a few pieces in big publications that don’t perform as well as the ones in smaller or medium size publications.

Yes, big publications expose you to more audience. But you need to understand one thing. A big publication might have hundreds and thousands of followers. But how many of them are willing to give you — a new name, a new face — a chance?

You need to have a strong headline (so people will click), strong content (so people will come back again) and strong support from the publication itself (having the publication spread your work through their newsletters).

It is not an easy feat.

Let’s say a big publication has 50k followers with around 50 writers who write regularly (there’s definitely more but let’s just use this number). That is a lot of stories and articles daily. This is why it takes so long for your stories to be published and why being published by big publications do not lead to a surge of readership.

I read daily and I can’t help but notice. There are quite a lot of stories in big publications that are not doing very well despite their excellent quality. This means you need to build your readership and not just depend on publications to boost your stories for you.

It is still worth publishing with the big ones. But it doesn’t guarantee anything.

It’s not a fast track to high Medium earnings.

You can still write frequently with big publications.

If that’s what you want, yes of course.

You can’t solely depend on big publications. You need to mix it up with the small and medium size publications (just like how you have planned, Shruthi Sundaram).

First of all, you need to figure out how long it roughly takes the big publication you want to publish a piece. It’s usually written in the submission guideline, for example: our review process can take up to a week (Writing Cooperative’s Submission Guidelines). In that case, one week is how long it takes (give and take).

If that information is too vague for you (because you want to publish everyday and need to know exactly when you’re going to be published), you can ask the editors of the publication or other writers who frequently publish with the publication for more details.

A little bonus tips here:

Jordan Mendiola once submitted a nice piece to my publication Warm Hearts and requested the piece to be published on a certain date. I was more than happy to oblige (because why not).

I don’t know about other editors but you can try ask for a specific date.

Always ASK. You have nothing to lose.

If you submit to a publication in which I’m an editor, I will happily schedule your piece to be published on the date you want it to be published.

Or you can experiment with submitting a few pieces and see how long it takes (this one might take a bit longer than asking).

Once you figure out the length of the waiting time, you’ll know when to submit your piece to have it published on time.

It doesn’t guarantee that your piece is going to be published on time.

The number of submissions a publication receives daily varies day to day. There are busy days and dry days. The length of the waiting time changes according to the number of submissions received by the publication.

I know it makes life a bit difficult.

What I would do, is create a buffer time. Let’s say I want my piece to be published next Sunday and I know the publication takes roughly a week to review my submission, I will submit it this Saturday. If I get published earlier, I don’t have to write for the day I get published. If I get rejected, I will still have one day to write — or submit the piece to other publications with faster response time.

Publish with small or medium size publications with fast response.

This is my go-to method.

I love small and medium size publications.

I know a lot of the writers in the publications and everyone feels like a family member.

I get better engagement and response too. It feels like a giant hug for my soul.

I know which publications respond and publish pretty much right away.

If my article/story happens to fit the fast response publications, I will submit it to the publications on the day I write it.

They never fail me and it keeps my writing routine/challenge on track.

What is your priority?

This is a question you need to ask yourself if the publication you want takes some time to respond or if you’re not a part of fast response publications (you need to get yourself in a few of these publications ASAP).

I’m currently in the middle of a one month writing challenge.

I am writing and publishing every single day.

I made a commitment and I will stick to it come what may (I even wrote half a piece on my cellphone in a train).

I’ve had a few posts which I just couldn’t fit anywhere or the publications I submitted my pieces to didn’t publish it on the day it was supposed to be published.

I had to make a tough decision.

In the end, I stick with my commitment.

I’ve made a promise to myself that I will post every single day. I need to honor that vow.

I have so far 3 homeless pieces (including this one).

I also have a couple of pieces I had originally submitted to other publications but withdrew because time was ticking and I had to publish before the day ended. I ended up publishing those 2 pieces in my own publication (the perks of having your own publication).

It’s the 12th day of my writing challenge and I’m still on track, publishing one post a day everyday.

Final words

You need to ask yourself a couple of questions before you embark on your daily writing challenge.

What do you want to get out of this challenge?

What is your purpose of doing the challenge?

Different answers yield different paths.

When I started this journey, my aims are:

  • to cultivate the habit of writing every day,
  • to hone my writing skills and
  • to improve my writing speed.

I’m not even halfway and already I can see the improvements.

Define your goal(s).

Do whatever is necessary.

And go for it.

This post is a part of my October writing challenge:

A special thanks to Shruthi Sundaram for the question. I hope the answer I provided helps you in some way.

A massive thank you to all the editors who have promptly published my work upon submissions. You play a big role in my journey. I wouldn’t have come this far without your help. Thank you thank you thank you.

If you have a burning question(s) you think I can answer (it can be about anything), feel free to pop the question(s) in the comment section below or e-mail me the question(s) at agneslouis3108@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey!

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Writer by heart. Teacher (English, Yoga, Pilates) by trade. Avid reader. World traveller. Model. You can reach me at agneslouis3108@gmail.com.

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