The New Gatekeepers

Verification — a Turing Test for Humans?

Holly Jahangiri
4 min readFeb 16

It’s not enough to write a book. It’s never been enough to write a book, of course — you have to edit, revise, submit it to agents and publishers, and promote it.

Everyone thinks they want to write a book, and there are plenty of snake oil salesmen out there, convincing them that they can, they should, they must, they owe it to the world to write a book. There are others out there who promise a magic formula for riches that, if followed to the letter, will probably get you banned from Amazon in a heartbeat, the minute they catch on.

Everyone wants to have published. Not everyone loves to write. They want the sizzle without having to slaughter the cow and cook the steak.



But now, those of us who have published are being asked to verify our identities as published authors? I’m not entirely sure how the current application process does that. Could I claim that Anne Rice is my psueudonym? I could look up all that required information on Amazon and make the claim. If Medium asks me for government-issued photo ID, I’m not going to give it to them. I’ve dropped enough info into the abyss, over the years. Even governments, hospitals, and banks can’t keep it secure.

We established my identity, already, when I applied to the MPP. Medium pays me when you read. (A pittance, but a penny is a penny.) So I don’t know — how will they do this? What if I did write under a pseudonym?

There’s also something that rankles in the implication, here:

Become a verified book author on Medium

Aw, Dear Medium, who died and made you the credentialing authority on authors?

No, I get it — I do— I just think it’s badly worded. Maybe, “Authors, we’d love to add a “Verified Author” badge on your profile, but first, we do need to be sure you’ve published a book — and no, making copies at Kinko’s for all your family members doesn’t count. Please apply here.”

I’m already a “verified book author.” I’ve applied for the designation as such on Medium, but I don’t need Medium’s stamp of approval to prove anything.

Holly Jahangiri

Writer and Kid-at-Heart, often found at Subscribe to my (free!) Newsletter: