Editor’s note: all instructions below on how to win money while writing are old new! See more info about our new Ecosystem here and check the sidebar of any of Elephant’s pages or articles to see a current list of winners!
Write for elephant, change the world, get rich!*
>>>———> If you’re desperately bored, read everything. If you’re super speedy, skip below.
15 years ago, the public paid for media. Media, in turn, paid writers. And advertisers advertised. Now, advertisers spend money on cool videos, the public expects to read online for free, and new media (doesn’t) pass the buck to writers.
But as a writer myself, I believe in paying writers for quality work, and elephant members (our subscribers) make it possible. Despite the fact that we make very little off of ads—about 1/40th other sites our size—I voluntarily pay the equivalent of two or three staff salaries each month to our consistent, best and most popular writers. ~ Waylon
Context for the change to the payment plan in March: A week ago Laura Kutney, a writer with elephant, thoughtfully alerted other writers (after repeatedly alerting our editors) that some of the viewcounts for blogs in WordPress were inconsistent. This turned out to be due to our changing servers and the cache systems not updating accurately.
So I put on my thinking cap and tried to come up with a system that would
1) guarantee accurate numbers for writers every month, since inaccurate numbers undermine all writers’ confidence in getting paid, making the whole system worse than pointless (yes…this was an elemergency!) and
2) create a more cooperative, team-effort system that would encourage writers to support one another
Since I’m a new media genius, I was able to solve both problems with only the help of
1) a bottle of bad bourbon, a bad woman and weekend roadtrip to Vegas and
2) a little help from my apprentice friends and our elephant staff.
The new plan is below.
>>>—————> Speedy? Start here!
The Laura Kutney Memorial Changes to the Writers’ Incentives Plan.
> The new system fundamentally follows the same value system: it’s founded on 1) popularity, 2) consistency and 3) quality, not just one of the three. The biggest change is that we’re now paid as a group for group success, so there’s direct financial incentive to support one another with likes, tweets, comments and shares, whereas before it was more of a competition, on some level.
> The solution is to measure elephant readership numbers all together through Google Analytics, not individual numbers through WordPress. This solves two things: first, GA is solid, real, unlike WP. Second, our incentive payment system goes from being an individual competition of sorts to a group effort.
> So: everyone who shares 8 or more blogs (that we accept) in the month gets paid $50. If we grow. That’s more than before, when the bottom tier was a gift subscription.
If elephant doesn’t grow at least 10% a month, everyone who submits 8 or more blogs in that month gets a yearlong gift subscription for that month to give to a loved one.
Basically it’s like pooling tips. Writers are directly incentivized to support one another with comments, shares, tweets and likes, shares to reddit, stumbleupon etc.
> Additionally, I’d like to reward writers who choose to devote an extraordinary deal of love (time, quality, effort) to elephant. So I’ll reward our most popular bloggers each month. I’ll be able to pay 15, then 20 popular writers, etc, as elephant grows, and makes more money.
To qualify for one of our ten monthly bonuses, you’ll have to fulfill three criteria:
1) 8 or more quality blogs that we don’t hate and probably are inspired to share up through our social media
2) consistency: as mentioned, 8 passable or better blogs, or more, published in the month—note: do not wait to send in blogs toward the end of the month, we won’t get them up in time suckas),
3) popularity / reach beyond the choir: to keep individual incentive alive, I’ll pay the top 10 most popular folks who submit view counts by noon on the last day of the month.
You’ll get paid on two tiers (don’t worry, it’s simple!)
> If we grow, #1 writer gets $500 for that month, #2-5 get $108, and #6 & on get $50
> If elephant doesn’t grow in that month: #1 gets $100, #2-5 get $50, and #6-10 get $25
Capiche? Pretty simple.
If you think you may qualify for our top 10, you must still submit your total WordPress viewcount for that month (as in the past) by noon of the last day of said month. Based on the viewcounts from submitted numbers, we’ll determine the top 10 “winners”. If you fear that your WordPress viewcounts are inaccurate, let us know and we’ll give you access to count our Google Analytics numbers. That said, GA numbers are different, and we will adjust for that difference. WP numbers should generally be accurate.
1. If you send us 8 blogs in the month that we accept and publish, and we grow, you get…
$50! If we grow! If we fail to grow as a site, you get a free gift subscription to give to Uncle Ted or Aunt Jaquinda.
2. If you send us 8 blogs in the month that we accept and publish, and some of them are super popular, and we grow, or shrink, and you send us your total WP viewcounts by noon of the last day of the month in question, you get…
Who knows! But if you make our top 10, you’ll win one of the amounts listed above, based on where you fall popularity-wise. It’s like a kinder, gentler, writer’s payment version of Mean Girls!
Janne Robinson: 8 articles; 418, 812 views for a we love you of $500
Anna Jorgensen: 8 articles; 69,774 views for a high five of $108
Michelle Margaret: 14 articles; 51,612 views for a gassho of $108
Laura Kutney: 11 articles; 27,548 views for a woohoo of $108
Amani Omejer: 9 articles; 23,740 views for a wonderful of $108
Rachel Astarte Piccione: 8 articles; 16,172 views for a yowza of $50
Yiasa Nio: 8 articles; 16,016 views for a big hug of $50
Tammy Stone: 13 articles; 14,988 views for a eureka of $50
Daniel Scharpenburg: 8 articles; 12,423 views for a svaha of $50
Yoli Ramazzina: 14 articles; 11,319 views for a deep bow of $50
Brenna Fischer: 8 articles; 10,384 views for a salute of $50
Ashleigh Hitchcock: 8 articles; 4,929 views for a backflip of $50
Kimberly Lo: 10 articles; 4,911 views for nice work of $50
Kathryn Muyskens: 10 articles; 4,595 views for a mwuah of $50
Heather Grimes: 8 articles; 4,251 views for a deep bow of $50