Disclaimer: I won't be disclosing the exact payment rate. Nothing mentioned in this post is meant to be taken as financial advice.
One of the common questions I see floating around the Episode community is how much money can you make if you unlock the payment program and whether it's enough to live off. Ultimately, it's going to come down to where you live and how many reads your stories gain, but I'll break it down below.
For more information, you can visit the link to the payment program FAQ's here.
What is the writer's payment program?
The writer's payment program is a way for qualified authors to gain a little extra cash. I don't believe this program was ever meant to be a main source of income for anyone, but just a little side cash. Authors who qualify are paid based on their monthly reads across all their published stories (unless any are excluded for whatever reason e.g featured story under a different contract). Essentially, I think this is a little bit like YouTube's payment program where authors get a cut of the ad revenue.
How do you qualify for the writer's payment program?
There are now two ways to qualify for the program. You need to either:
A. Gain 500,000 reads across all your published stories in 60 days or less
B. Gain 100,000 gem chapter reads across all your published stories in 60 days or less AND have 300 gem choices selected.
A gem chapter read is a chapter which includes a gem/premium choice.
You also need to be 18+ to qualify, however if you qualify before this, the money will accumulate until you turn 18.
How much can you earn?
The amount you earn is based on the amount of reads you gain. There's a rate which is calculated every month and it tends to fluctuate slightly. This rate is applied to all the verified reads across all your published stories for the month. As I mentioned above, I don't believe the payment program was ever meant to be a main income source. The rate reflects this. There are some authors who could make $1000+ a month, but on the flip side some authors don't even make $100.
Can you make bonuses?
Yes. If you include at least one gem choice in each of your first ten chapters, you can make a bonus 25% on each story that includes gem choices.
Is it enough to live off?
That depends. Where do you live? The cost of living varies country to country. Payments are made in USD. I currently live in Mexico. I could probably do quite well with 800k reads a month, but if I was back in Australia, I'd want to get at least triple that! You also need to remember that the amount you earn will fluctuate monthly depending on the rate, your productivity and also how well your stories are doing.
Why is it so hard to qualify?
As I stated before, I don't think the payment program was ever meant to be a main source of income. The rate isn't particularly high at the moment, but if more people were added to the program, the rate would likely reduce. There are minimum amounts you need to earn to get paid (this varies by country and payment method) and honestly, if you only make a couple thousand reads a month, if could be months if not years before you make enough to receive your money.
Is there anything you need to know?
Payments received are possibly subject to tax, depending on the laws in your country. I think a lot of people tend to forget about that.
The payment program also isn't guaranteed. There's nothing stopping Episode from cancelling the program at any point.
You don't have control over anything except your own productivity. You don't control the rate, your reads or your ranking. All you can control is your productivity and even that can be stunted by things like waiting for approvals or glitches.
Overall, being in the payment program is great. Who doesn't love to be paid for something they do for fun anyway?! But if you're writing on Episode in the hopes of making enough money to quit your day job, then you should probably look elsewhere. While some people can and do live off the payment program, they'd be the minority. Is it possible? Yes. Is it easy? Definitely not.