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Vocal tip of $20 delights

Stories that give readers value worthy of tips

By David HeitzPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Sam Dan Truong/Unsplash

I got a $20 tip on Vocal the other day.

When I got an email saying it was coming, I thought it must be a mistake. I had not written anything on Vocal lately that deserved it, in my opinion.

But a reader must have thought the sizable tip would encourage me to keep writing. The tip was for a story that basically was a mapping exercise. The piece itself helped me distill what I wanted to write about. You can read the story here.

I had a suspicion the person who gave me the $20 is a faithful Twitter follower. I was right. About a week earlier, this person had Tweeted out to me about tips on Vocal. Yes, you can tip writers for their stories on Vocal.

So far, I’ve had $26 in tips in about a year. There have been three tips total: $5, $1, and $20.

How tip feature works

I must say it’s exciting to get a tip. Even for $1.

“Have an edible on me,” Tweeted the person who gave me the tip. The tip was a for a story I wrote in Potent, Vocal’s marijuana community.

Right now, the tip feature appears to be broken. It’s not showing up on any my stories today. But normally you see a box that says “Tip” at the bottom of the page. Click on that and you can tip with a credit or debit card.

Is there anything better than unexpected money?

The tips are especially appreciated on Vocal, which pays $3 per thousand views. This platform won’t make you rich.

I like all the different communities that Vocal offers. I can write about weed, mental health, my dysfunctional family, LGBT issues and a host of other interesting topics.

My brother’s big tip

I remember as a kid my brother worked at the Sheraton in my hometown Rock Island, Ill. Ed McMahon was in town for the former Hardee’s Golf Classic, now known as the John Deere Classic. He ordered room service and my brother delivered the meal. I remember my brother saying Ed McMahon gave him a $5 tip. This was in 1976.

We heard about that $5 tip for months afterward. Just meeting McMahon would have been a tip. For those of you too young to know who McMahon is, he was the sidekick when Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show.”

Some people ask for tips in their stories. That seems a little bold. Normally the tip feature is not hard to miss, but as I say it is not showing up on my stories today. Other stories on Vocal are showing the tip box, however. I’m not sure why some stories would offer it and some not. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon.

Panhandling for tips

I have written quite a bit about experiencing homelessness. During that time, I never panhandled. Not even once. But this article is a bit like panhandling: Telling people how to give me tips.

I wonder what motivates people to tip a writer. I think it would have to be a story that is especially relevant to the tipper.

I try to author stories other people can’t write. Experiencing homelessness was a low point in my life. But because I lived it, I can vividly write about it.

I write about homelessness because most people never would have expected it could happen to me. I even have a bachelor’s degree from a highly selective liberal arts college.

Back to tips. For a while, I had an online tip jar on my personal website. But I removed the tip jar, and soon the entire website will be gone. I decided to delete it. Much of what I wrote for that site I did so while suffering from acute mental illness.

I want to thank everyone who has tipped me, especially the person who gave me $20. I hope my writing offers some value to people. If so, maybe they will consider tipping me. Hopefully Vocal gets the widget fixed.

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About the Creator

David Heitz

I am a journalist with more than 30 years' experience. Here at Vocal, I write mainly for Potent, Vocal's cannabis magazine. I have a PTSD diagnosis and a medical cannabis card. I have lived in a penthouse and also experienced homelessness.

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  • Test2 years ago

    So funny bruh! Loved it. I will tip you for sure, but currently I don't have any money :-(

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