Writer Payments: Changes to the Gem Bonus Payment

Hello Episodians!

Today we are announcing an update to the Gem Bonus Payment portion of our Writer Payments Program. When we first launched Community Gem Choices to authors in May of 2018 we set the bonus payment for using gem choices in a story at a flat 25% with the intent that it would be temporary as we built out more tech. Though it’s been longer than anticipated, we’re making the necessary updates and will be rolling out a new Bonus Payment structure starting with payments for reads earned in January 2021. This change, combined with our recent release of new Story Statistics, the changes to our trending algorithm and any future features that allow authors to add gems to their stories, are designed to reward creators who write gem choices players love. In making these changes, we hope to give creators more freedom to grow and expand their businesses on Episode.

Note that we are only restructuring the Gem Bonus Payments, and the regular Writer Payment based on reads is not affected by this change. Authors can still qualify for Writer Payments even if they don’t want to use gem choices in their stories.

Currently, the requirements for the Gem Bonus payment are that there is at least one gem choice in each of at least the first 10 chapters. If that is the case, the author can receive a bonus payment of an additional 25% on top of the regular monthly reads payment rate for that story. For authors who write really great gem choices, this method has the unfortunate side effect of capping the bonus they can earn on their stories. Through the restructuring, we hope to be able to better reward authors for their hard work and effort that doesn’t limit their success in this way.

When the new bonus structure goes into effect authors will be paid a Gem Bonus based on the success of the gem choices they write. As part of this, authors will no longer be required to put gem choices in the first 10 chapters of their story to qualify for the Gem Bonus Payment, instead, they will now have the flexibility to place gem choices where they think they will be most impactful throughout stories. Authors will still be limited to no more than 5 Gem Choices per branch per chapter.

The gem bonus an author receives will now be calculated using the number of gems spent by players in a story per read, which will be combined with a flexible monthly gem bonus multiplier. The gem bonus multiplier will be based on a number of factors related to your story’s performance as well as Episode as a whole and is subject to change each month and over time. This is designed to be very similar to the way the monthly rate per reads changes in the normal Writer Payments Program. Overall, our intention is to reward authors who write more successful choices with a larger bonus.

Here are some examples of how the new Gem Bonus Payment might work for stories:

Story Reads Gems Spent Gems per Read Gem Bonus Payment %
Story A 5,000 1,500 0.30 37.5%
Story B 10,000 12,000 1.20 150%
Story C 50,000 2,500 0.05 6.25%

In the above table, we see that this author has 3 stories, all of which contain gem choices. Story A gets 5,000 reads in the month of January and readers spend 3,000 gems on the choices the author has written. The Gems per Read number is calculated by taking the total number of gems spent and dividing that by the total number of reads the story earned - this story earned 0.300 gems for each person who read the story: 1,500/5,000 = 0.300. We take that 0.300 and multiply it by the monthly gem bonus rate (in these examples we are using a bonus multiplier of 125 - once rolled out this multiplier will fluctuate from month to month) to convert it into a percentage which gives us 37.5%. As a result, this story will earn a 37.5% gem bonus on top of their regular monthly payment rate instead of the current 25% rate.

On the other hand, Story C earns more reads, but the gem choices in that story are not as popular with readers as the ones written in Stories A and B. With 50,000 reads and 2,500 gems spent, this story earns 2,500/50,000 = 0.05 gems per read. When we convert 0.05 to a percentage we get a bonus of 6.25%.

As part of this change, the payments page in the Portal was updated to show authors the number of gems a story has earned in a month, the Gems per Read calculation.

Now that we’ve gone into the detail of the new bonus structure we want to clarify and reiterate a couple of things:

  • Using gem choices in community stories has been and will continue to optional and at the discretion of the author.
  • The overall criteria for qualifying for Writer Payments are remaining unchanged at this time. In order to unlock and receive Writer Payments authors must be at least 18 years of age and their stories need to earn a total of 500,000 general chapter reads in the last 60 days, or a total of 100,000 gem chapter reads and 300 gem choices selected across all published stories in the last 60 days.

As always, we look forward to your feedback and suggestions. If you have any issues with this update, please reach out to our support team.

– The Episode Team

14 Likes

So, basically,
Episode: We’re looking for ways to let authors earn more money, hooray!
Also episode: We’ll slowly lower the payment per 1000 reads during years but let you have it rewarded with 25% payment. Then we will cut 25% payment and leave you with % of the gems spent.

Now, please let people who have their gem retention BETTER than 25% raise their hands :slight_smile: because personally, I see it impossible to raise above 20% with the current gem rewarding system for readers AND the badly working application which doesn’t show priced gems OR normal gems for some % of devices.

Episode, I would consider FIRST fixing your app and make people update it so they all see gem choices, take care of some daily challenges or other ways to earn gems (maybe ads? other apps have it on daily basis) and THEN make our payments depend on it.

28 Likes

Looks at my current gems/read ratio
Helloooo bonus payment of 3%

Takes gems out
No longer trends.

19 Likes

giphy

All seriousness though… Yes it is optional to include gem choices. But it obviously something we are now pressured to do since gem choices will now affect the trending section and is something that authors will need to add to stay relevant on the app.

And to see that the bonus is not based on the amount of gems (money) spent but the amount in proportion to the number of chapters is extremely irritating. In my opinion, you should get a flat payment for the number of gems spent no matter how many reads you have. Someone paid you in gems (a.k.a Episode’s currency system), you should get the payment :woman_shrugging:t3: Episode can still earn money from the ads that they put in front of your story or have a small percentage of the value of the gem choices. Like you get 70% of it and Episode gets 30%

12 Likes

But it is proportional so the more people spend on your gems, the more you earn and yes it;s % of reads but it doesn’t matter in this case. So it’s quite natural I think.

2 Likes

Can’t you all add a new shelf to show trending gem stories and leave the previous shelf for general stories(non-gem ones) that would be helpful for everyone.

17 Likes

So…I don’t really understand this, episode has been confusing me with the gem thing lately. If you don’t include gem choices you get paid less? Or more?

1 Like

If you are already in payments, you’ve always been able to get paid a bonus if you include gem choices and it was fixed at 25%. Now, the rate will fluctuate based on how many gem options you “sell”. So you’ll still get a bonus, but it won’t be 25%.
If you don’t include gem choices, you just don’t get a bonus.

4 Likes

Ohhhh thank you!

Episode: “We want to support smaller authors!”
Also Episode: Makes it basically impossible for any author to get featured and paid AND EVEN ON THE TRENDING SECTION without adding gem choices and harassing their readers to select them.

Wow, you really messed up this time, Episode. Now, can you PLEASE fix the app??? The Android users are neglected, the stats on the portal aren’t accurate, Episode is no help, and the community can barely do anything. Gee, thanks for making 2020 even worse! :cowboy_hat_face:

I ain’t trying to be rude here, but if people are going to make bad decisions, I’m obviously going to say something.

19 Likes

so, what I’m hearing is… - the team realized that paying all qualifying authors 25% of their gem choices wasn’t financially viable and now they have to make the payouts more restrictive, no? I mean, I get it…we all make mistakes and have to change things sometimes. but it might be better recieved if it was framed as such, rather than something beneficial to us. just my two cents, do with it what you will

7 Likes

Even if they believed that the 25% was restrictive and a financial burden on them, they made this change without any author input. Some people are dependent on the payouts, especially in a situation where many are out of the job. Yes, it’s not a contract job, it’s a freelance, but I believe some transparency is due, authors are what makes the platform. Using the “it’s a mistake” narrative when it’s a company on the scale of PocketGems feels inappropriate because it’s not just one person, but a whole company of people who decided on something.

Episode is digging into the pockets of small creators by creating a system that rewards bigger authors. As Alusza said, I don’t imagine most people getting over a 20% engagement regardless, seeing as how anyone who was interested in paying for diamond options would not move over to the community side of the app. People read community stories because they don’t rely on diamonds.

9 Likes

Will there be any changes to how people earn gems, specifically will there be any changes to make it easier to earn gems? This really puts the onus on readers to support authors financially but even if people want to pick gem choices consistently, how can they? Unless of course the real point of all this is to incentivize people to keep purchasing gem packs over and over again ><

2 Likes

Alright, originally I actually wasn’t too worried about this, because I figured it wouldn’t effect people who don’t use gems that much and also I figured the readers who don’t use gems in stories and the ones who do would kind of balance each other out, but this seems like a mess. Trending is a mess. I have one story that’s been bouncing around all day between top 6 overall at one point to top like 17 when usually there’s not that big of a difference but then my other one has been in and out of drama trending twice despite not logistically making the reads to be in drama trending and then acting (reads wise) like I’ve never been in the top 100 of drama. Which leads me to believe either the trending sections are showing up differently for people or they’re moving spots around too much for anyone to gain any traction which is just going to hurt everyone in the end. Kind of wish the system would be more consistent and that it wouldn’t be bouncing stories’ spots around so much before y’all insisted on releasing this. :upside_down_face:

1 Like

I have a hard time believing, even the biggest authors on this platform can get over 25 %. Episode surely knew this before rolling out these numbers…

1 Like

I’d also check twice if the algorithm is working correctly now, because it seems to be really buggy

Some stories with 0 gem choices went up drastically while others dropped badly even if the gem retention is huge for current conditions (15-17%). If that is rewarding for people with gem choices inside, it clearly fails and we have no idea how to even have control over it since we do everything we can to make this damaged system less harmful for us.

My story has 17% gem retention and it just dropped, 200 places down even if it was doing well on tests for a week. At this point I have no idea what to do.

9 Likes

I had the beta version of the ranks on my app for the past week. I thought they were broken. It looked so weird.

1 Like

It’s a mess. I have one story that (I love it, but I’m being honest here) shouldn’t be trending. Yet somehow is?? Then plot twist isn’t getting the reads it should for being top 50s in drama. It’s also bounced around so much it’s making me dizzy. :joy::joy:

Yeah I have a story exactly the same. When the ranks changed yesterday it was sitting at #50 in drama despite not having being updated in over 3 months and getting like 20 reads an hour lol

1 Like

I have a question from my readers that I have had multiple times already since this new ranking system has been launched: Suddenly the gem option in my story costs people 15 gems, instead of the 5 as I coded it to be? Is this something new we authors aren’t made aware of yet?