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What Did I Do to Earn the $500 Bonus for the Second Time?

Is it really just about the most reads, claps, and follows?

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

When I got an email from Medium on the sixth of May telling me that I was getting a $500 bonus, I was delighted. I just didn’t know precisely what qualified me for this bonus.

The first bonus

Medium writes in this mail:

You made it here because the stories you published in April received the most member reads, claps, and follows.

This surprised me because most days in April, I had received very few reads, claps, and follows. On the other hand, an article of mine went viral at the end of April and pushed my statistics considerably. So I brought it in April on income from reads at a value of 97.98 dollars.

So it must have been this one article alone that qualified me for the bonus. This means that I must be among the 1000 most successful authors on Medium with a monthly income of fewer than 100 dollars. I was astonished by that. I thought more authors were making at least $100 a month.

One estimate ( says that about 175,000 authors are active on Medium. of those, a little over 10,000 are said to earn more than $100 a month.

So can I really have been in the top 1000 with my numbers?

Well, maybe April was a below-average month, and you needed smaller numbers to make the top 1000.

The second bonus

My luck was that my article went viral at the end of April and this run continued into May. This is how I reached $326.48 in May, by far my best result on Medium to date.

With these numbers, at first glance, I can imagine being one of the top 1000 authors. However, the high earnings in May are not based on the fact that I had more reads than in April.

So this is the second time I’ve received a bonus. However, this time, Medium didn’t email me about it but silently added the extra to my June royalties.

Do only numbers really count?

In April, I received a total of 5908 reads. In May, it was 4008, so even though I generated almost 2000 fewer reads in May, I earned more than three times as much from them.

You can read about what I think the reason is in this article:

So I still doubt that Medium only goes by the number of reads, claps and followers generated when awarding bonuses.

So what did I do to get the bonus anyway? At this point, I can only guess what the reasons are.

1. since the beginning of April, I post an article daily. Maybe Medium rewards this regularity and lets it at least proportionally into deciding who gets a bonus.

2. I promote my articles every day. I post every new article on Twitter and let Medium know I’m promoting the platform by adding @medium and #Medium. I imagine Medium registers that and counts it as interaction, which is good for the platform. In addition, I post every article on Linkedin, Manystories, and Facebook groups.

3. I read at least ten articles by other writers every day. For most of them, I leave fifty claps. Only if the article does not keep what the headline promises do I not clap. However, this happens very rarely, because I only click on articles that really interest me. I assume that the degree to which one interacts on the platform is also taken into account when it comes to bonuses. By the way, I hardly ever comment.


I am thrilled to have received a bonus of 500 dollars for the second time in a row. However, when I look at my raw numbers, I doubt that really only reads, claps, and followers are used as criteria for awarding bonuses.

Medium certainly has an eye on how much the individual author contributes to the popularity and livability of the platform. Continuity in posting is probably also a criterion.

That’s why I will continue to publish daily, read articles by other authors, and promote my articles on various social media platforms.

At the end of the day, of course, only Medium knows why an author gets a bonus and why not. What do you think? Do only the hard numbers really count? Or do other, softer factors play into the outcome?

René Junge a published author writing on ILLUMINATION.

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René Junge

René Junge

Thriller-author from Hamburg, Germany. Sold over 200.000 E-Books. get informed about new articles:

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