Book Marketing

How to Expand Your Writer Platform with Medium

MediumAre you looking for a platform that will allow you to share your ideas, spread news about your writing, and workshop your drafts with other writers and readers? If so, Medium might be the right platform for you.

In this post you will learn what Medium is and how it can help you expand your writer platform.


What is Medium?

Founded by Twitter and Blogger founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Medium stands as "a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters."

Medium allows you to blog without a blog.

It has a clean appearance that presents both words and pictures in a visually appealing way. In fact, you can blog using just pictures.

However, Medium is more than a blogging platform.

Medium curates and workshops content through user-established and moderated collections.


Medium-CollectionsWhat Are Medium Collections?

Medium collections organize and filter content.

You can use Medium to explore your interests in 2 ways:

1. You can use its search to find a collection that contains user-submitted articles or photos that discuss, or depict, a topic of interest.

2. You can create a collection.


Responsibilities of Collection Creators

When you create a collection, you become its moderator.

User-writers who share your interest may submit essays to your collection for publication. As collection moderator, you decide which of the submitted content to publish.

If you opt to pass on a submission, Medium requires that you provide the author with a reason for your rejection.

User-moderators help Medium curate content in 3 ways:

1. Moderator-established collections help writers see what kinds of visual and written content users want to read about.

2. Moderators help vet the content to make sure it fits within the collection they establish.

3. Moderators help readers easily find content they want to read.

The idea behind user-moderated collections is that user-readers will be able to find a collection that has content that matches their particular interest.


Medium-FeedbackMedium As A Tool for Writers

Medium encourages posts by giving writers the option to request reader-feedback on their work.

Medium serves as a great tool for writers who need to workshop a piece because they lack a writing group.

It also serves as a great tool for writers who want to market their books.

IsaacsonMedium as a Book Marketing Tool

Late last year, Walter Isaacson posted excerpts of his new book about the "Information Age" to Medium for user feedback.

18,000 people read Isaacson's first excerpt. 125 readers commented, dozens of people sent him e-mails, and several writers wrote full-length articles that explored the ideas in his post.

Isaacson posted to Medium because he arrived at "the point of the book where people started using the Internet to collaborate" and "it didn't take a genius to say, 'why don't I use the Internet to collaborate?'"*

Isaacson used Medium to lessen his writer's isolation as well as generate buzz for his new book.

By asking readers to submit feedback, Isaacson allowed them to participate in his creative process, which in turn gave these readers a stake in his new book.


A Great Idea With Strings Attached

Medium is quickly becoming a great platform for writers because it provides them with the opportunities to both workshop and market their writing.

It is a platform for writers who want to blog, but do not want to take on the time commitment that comes with maintaining a blog.

With that said, WRITERS BEWARE.

Medium belongs to Evan Williams and Biz Stone. It is there platform, not yours.

Williams and Stone own the information for Medium users, not you.

This means that just like your Twitter followers and Facebook friends, you have no way to contact them all directly nor do you have a say in how Williams & Stone reproduce, post, or monetize their site with your content.



I view Medium as a great supplement to my digital platform.

Although I have not posted to Medium yet, I can see using it like Isaacson did, as a place to escape periods of writer isolation, workshop sections of my book, and interact with readers interested in early American History.

Medium may also help me expand my digital platform.

By including my website and blog URLs in my byline, I may lead Medium readers and writers to my digital hub and mailing list.

These are experiments I might try as I revise my book.


Share StoryWhat Do You Think?

Do you use Medium? How do you use it and what has your experience been like?

What other platforms do you use to help extend the reach of your writer platform?


*Joshua Brustein, "Walter Isaacson on Crowdsourcing his New Book," Bloomberg Businessweek, December 30, 2013.

You can also read about Isaacson's use of Medium at The Christian Science Monitor and Fortune Magazine.

Photo of Walter Isaacson courtesy of David Shankbone.


5 Steps for Marketing Your Academic Book, Guest Post by Michelle Marchetti Coughlin

Michelle Marchetti Coughlin is an independent scholar and the author of One Colonial Woman’s World: The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012). CoughlinCompleting a book manuscript, and then gaining support for that manuscript from a university press editor, peer reviewers, and a faculty editorial board represents an enormous amount of work.

But having your manuscript accepted for publication by an academic press does not mean your efforts to make your work available to a wider audience are over.

In order to make your investment of time and energy truly pay off, you need to participate in the promotion of your book.

Many university presses have small publicity departments tasked with publicizing not only multiple new titles each year, but also backlists numbering in the hundreds.

As a result, the time, attention, and funds these departments are able to bestow on the promotion of a single book are often limited.

The good news is that there are 5 steps authors can take that may dramatically increase the reach of their work.


5 Steps for Marketing Your Academic Book

personal website 1. Establish a Web Presence

An attractive, easily navigable website is an invaluable tool for the promotion of a book.

A website will not only expose your work to a much wider audience, but will provide potential readers with information on how to contact you and where to hear you speak.

Setting up a website can be expensive, but it is a highly worthwhile investment (and a service you might obtain at a discount from a talented college or graduate student).

 Tip: Be sure the pages on your site are encoded for Google Analytics so you can monitor your traffic, and take care to keep your information up to date.


2. Utilize Social Media

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailIf possible, publicize news about your work and speaking engagements through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or a blog as an additional measure to help colleagues, friends, and others interested in your writing keep current with your activities.


3. Contact Print and Other Media

Although your publisher’s publicity department will notify appropriate media outlets about the release of your book (be sure to thoroughly fill out that marketing questionnaire!), you may want to personally contact your hometown media or alumni publications.

Try to arrange an interview with your local radio station or with “Fieldstone Common,” a weekly podcast that reaches an international group of history enthusiasts. These types of non-specialists are an important but sometimes overlooked audience for scholarly books.


Jim Ottaviani at Nicola's Books June 20134. Set Up Readings and Appearances

Arranging speaking engagements for authors is often outside the purview of university press publicity departments, but these events are necessary for promoting your work.

You should plan to contact libraries, museums, and other institutions offering programming in your field as well as historical, genealogical, and lineage societies to ask if you might present a lecture on the topic of your book.

Create a simple Power Point and make your presentation as interesting and approachable as possible to a general audience.

Try to avoid reading from your notes.

Make sure you have business cards on hand as well as books for sale, if this is appropriate.

Talks that are well received often lead to other opportunities and invitations to give additional lectures, not to mention productive relationships with host institutions.

Be sure to keep your press’s publicity department informed of your appearances (and any other professional developments) so they can broadcast this information on their own social media pages.


mailing-list5. Maintain a List of Contacts

Create a file of contact information for individuals you’ve met through your speaking engagements and who’ve reached out to you through your website or social media pages.

Whenever possible, thank those who write favorably about your book in blogs or online reviews, such as Amazon or Good Reads.

The connections you make in the process of promoting your book can be wonderful resources that may also provide an audience for your next book.



The above are just a few suggestions for new authors (and do not include opportunities to network with colleagues or publicize one’s work in the academic arena, such as through conferences, panels, and journals).

For further information, you may want to consult William Germano’s chapter “Promoting Your Work” in [amazon_link id="0226288536" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books[/amazon_link] or any of the many other online and print resources available on this topic.

Best of luck!


Thoughtful-WomanWhat Do You Think?

Do you have any additional tips for marketing your academic book? 

For non-academic writers, do Michelle's tips differ for trade publishing?