I started a personal publication (Mark Starlin Writes!) a couple of years ago, mainly because I wanted a way to organize my writing. The Medium single-column feed is fine for current events and news commentary, but terrible for stories that have lasting value like fiction, humor, poetry, etc.
I was tired of watching my stories vanish down the feed, and I thought a personal publication would be a way to combat that. I could organize my writing into seven categories, each with a separate menu. And I would have control over the layout to an extent.
I enjoyed the experience of creating the publication, but here is what I learned. A personal publication on Medium doesn’t work. At least, mine didn’t.
I tried featuring old stories. No bites.
I tried sending out newsletters with links to current stories each month. Waste of time. They were mostly ignored.
The people who followed my personal pub were mostly the same people who followed me. It was redundant.
The organizing geek in me liked the publication, but not many readers followed or visited. And why should they when they could just follow me?
Mark Starlin Writes! simply wasn’t working.
I have decided to simplify and “go with the flow” of a single-column profile page. It has a categorized index pinned to the top, but like my personal publication, I seem to be the only one using it regularly.
That is the way of Medium. People mainly look at their feed. They don’t seek out personal publications or profile pages.
So, instead of a personal publication, I have transitioned Mark Starlin Writes! into a newsletter. Not a boring monthly newsletter full of links to recent stories, which can be easily found by visiting my Profile page. But a weekly newsletter — called Monday Morning Mark — that features four complete stories from my past three years of Medium writing every week. Giving old stories a new life and a new audience.