October 3, 2018

Write on Elephant Journal! Get Paid! Maybe! And here’s our top Ecosystem writers in September.

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! 

Want to write on Elephant? Don’t want to read the below? Click here to begin.

We’ve sweetening the pot, value-wise, significantly—adding gifts from our mindful sponsors to winning writers. See below.

Elephant’s Ecosystem continues progress. It will when complete enable readers to pay into a pool from which we pay writers. Here’s what your Ecosystem Rating looks like:

(Click the above image to see the new design, if so inspired).


When you click the rating, this opens up:


Okay, Elephant writers! This is a big announcement.

While it’s far from done, the Ecosystem is here.

You are Elephant. When you write, connect, share—that is what we’re here for.

So we’re moving our payment system to include the top 25 writers, not just top 15 or 10 or top 5 or whatever.

Payments on the south end of that will not be big, but they will be something.

You no longer have to be consistent.

The big news is that, along with changing author payments to include more of you, it’s time to start publicizing the Ecosystem to you and your readers (please help).

Any action–reading, commenting, sharing, hearting–that a reader takes will increase the Ecosystem score of your article. Editor’s Picks help unpopular articles. These scores are meaningful: they are based on quality, not merely popularity. It’s an achievement that is rare in media.

So let your readers know, and let us know: do they know that all actions have an effect and if not how can we make more clear, especially on mobile. Our home page/front page is now constantly refreshing based on top scores, reflecting today in “the mindful life.”

Is it clear that reader actions increase scores to pay you writers? If not, how can we improve? Again esp. on mobile.

For my part, I’ll change writer payments for October and on so that the top 25 monthly scores get paid.

Pay the Ecosystem! Be of benefit! Get paid! Maybe!

Note: off to the races! Mindfully! The top two writers will still get paid far more than the other 23.


If you write on Elephant and want to get paid:

1. Share in a genuine manner with your communities.

Each month we pay our most-read writers. Elephant was one of the first major sites to pay some writers, and one of the first sites to come up with a “paygate”—a metered subscription for readers (we did this before the NY Times launched their ground-breaking one).

A top writer is defined as:

1) popular: comments, shares/likes, readers
3) and quality

…not just one of the three.

Secondly, we pay team players: those who support one another with advice, likes, tweets, comments, and shares. Healthy competition is welcome, but collegiality is welcome too. We help one another out, we all rise (you get paid far less if Elephant shrinks—see below).

Here’s how you get paid.

First, bonuses. If your article…

…was an editor’s pick, tell us & we’ll “add” 10,000 views to the final value that we use to qualify. We will not add actual views—those you earn.

…was on a desired topic, tell us which one & we’ll add 10,000 “views” if we agree 108 percent. If it’s on the edge, spare us the time:

green, non-partisan politics, meditation, yoga, equal rights, animal rights, recipes, environment, adventure, gentlemen are subjects/issues we don’t have enough of and want more of.

….has 15+ real comments (on the blog itself—your own are appreciated and can spark further comments, but aren’t themselves included), tell us & we’ll add 10,000 “views.”

We measure all readership numbers (3.9 million readers/month) through Google Analytics.

To qualify for one of our monthly bonus, fulfill three criteria:

1) Write an article or two or 10 or 12. Do not wait to send in blogs toward the end of the month as we may not get them up in time and they won’t count. Turnaround from receipt of your submission to posting will be a few days or more, unless labeled “timely” in the submit form. We are overwhelmed as it is—do not procrastinate.

2) Quality: your blogs are of sufficient merit that our editors accept them and are inspired share them up. You are always welcome to push for your article to be named an Editor’s Pick or Today Only—but we may not do so. We do not owe you any help in this regard.

3) Popularity: this is the main one you have power over. Share via email, newsletter, facebook page, twitter, DMs on Google or Facebook, Instagram story swipe up, instagram bio, instagram caption. Treat your article like a genuine, non-pushy campaign to connect with your community—much like a mini-Kickstarter.

Reaching beyond the choir to all those who don’t yet know they give a care about “the mindful life” is a part of our mission. We don’t look down on clicks or views: they are readers, and communicating with readers is our reason for being.

We pay the top 25 most popular folks who submit their list of articles and view counts by noon MST on the last day of the month—a little early is fine. If you submit your scores with blogs even one hour late~

If our team of writers helps Elephant grow in any given month,
> Elephant’s #1 writer for the month wins $500
If the #1 writer gets more than 2,000,000 readers (views), dingdingdingding…a bonus of $250!
> #2 gets $250.
> #3 gets $150
> #4 – 10 get $108.
> #11 – 20 get $75.
>21-25 get $50.

You must submit your scores with links to [email protected] by the last day of the month to get paid. Any later than that—even one hour—no payment. Be on time if you want payment. No exceptions.

PS: no exceptions.

If Elephant doesn’t grow in any given month,
> Elephant’s #1 writer for the month wins $100.
> #2 -10 get $50.
> #11 – 25 get $25.

So: let’s grow! Work together as a team, sharing, commenting on and caring for one another’s posts.


New: our mindful sponsors are busy putting together gift packages for you, our valued authors! This month, write 4+ articles to qualify for a prize from one of our sponsors! Each prize package has a value of ~$200, which we’re happy to pass on to our best, most popular writers. Look out for more information on our social media about what’s available!


September’s Winning Writers.

Read them! Emulate them! Learn from them! Share them! Pin their writerly posters on your wall!

 Billy Manas: 11 articles; 67,947 readers + 20,000 bonus for $1080 and a may it be of benefit!

 Arun Eden-Lewis: 8 articles, 53,363 readers + 20,000 bonus for an Elephant Journal gift subscription and a friendly, respectful bow!


For a grand total of $1080 cash (not including what we pay elsewhere) and a big, sincere, appreciative thanks to Waylon. ~ Waylon


Background, via Waylon Lewis: 15 years ago, the public paid for media. Media, in turn, paid writers. And advertisers advertised.

Now, advertisers spend money sponsoring cool videos, most of us expect to read for free online, and Craigslist killed classified revenue…so most websites can’t afford to pay editors or writers, because readers don’t pay to read and advertisers don’t advertise and classifieds don’t exist and…

This is important because it reduces quality original information—real journalism—for we, the people.

Journalism is meant to serve as the fourth estate—the watch dog of government and our corporations. A check on power and a beacon of honesty and transparency on behalf of we, the people.

As a writer, trained journalist, and founder of Elephant Journal, I believe in paying writers for quality work—and my “paygate” (“Reinventing journalism in a new media context,” which I created in 2009, before the nytimes.com model was launched), which allows readers to read free then pay optionally, and which has since become the popular meter all over the U.S.—enables most Elephant readers (subscribers) to pay our best writers and editors to do good work for you.

Despite the fact that we make very little off of ads—about 1/50th other sites our size, because we only want to work with mindful advertisers—I pay the equivalent of several staff salaries a month to writers who are quality and popular.

Note: we get 1,000s of unsolicited submissions, and share our writers up on our huge platforms, and edit your articles. These are valuable, and expensive services. We can’t possibly pay every one of these thousands of authors, given our income. But we can reward those who do the best and share quality to our readers. And that’s what we aim to do here. ~ ed.



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