How to Be a Successful Writer for Listverse

Updated on April 27, 2020
Jana Louise Smit profile image

Jana is a successful writer on Listverse: To date, she has sold close to 270 lists.


Is Listverse Legit?

As a long-time contributor to the site, I'm often approached on social media with questions like, “Is this another scam?” and “How can I improve my chances of being accepted?” Yes, the company is for real. When Listverse liked a list, I got paid. In all my years there, I've never been fleeced. The question about whether or not your piece will be accepted prompted me to write this article. I sincerely hope that it helps new writers sell their work at Listverse.

What Makes Listverse Different?

  1. The site pays premium rates ($100 per list, a fee that's remained stable for years).
  2. Unlike most other sites, the submission page never closes.
  3. Writers don't need a fancy degree to write for Listverse; anyone is welcome to submit.
  4. There's a free Author's Guide to help you succeed.
  5. There are often additional financial incentives for published lists that do well.
  6. You get your own author page.
  7. Once published, you can promote your other lists and articles on the platform.
  8. You'll get great exposure—Listverse is viewed by millions daily.

What You Need to Know

  • You must have a PayPal address.
  • Once sold, your list becomes the sole property of Listverse (you'll always be given recognition as the author).
  • You must have native-level fluency in English.
  • Not all lists are accepted.
  • There's a 1,800 minimum word count. Shorter articles will not be considered.
  • All lists need credible sources (see more on this below).
  • The competition is extremely tough.

How to Listverse Works

Every day, Listverse picks one to three lists to publish. Several factors could influence the staff's decisions, including in-house trends and seasonal themes like Christmas and Halloween. After a list is chosen, Listverse will add the images and videos. You just need to write a great list.

On a daily basis, articles are published on the main page. If one of them is yours, it will also appear on your author's page. The moment this happens, you'll receive an email telling you that your work has gone live. Business then wraps up with a PayPal payment.

Read published lists to stay in touch with what the audience wants. Listverse readers have tastes that gear towards the quirky, novel, surprising and darker side of life.
Read published lists to stay in touch with what the audience wants. Listverse readers have tastes that gear towards the quirky, novel, surprising and darker side of life. | Source

How to Get Started on Listverse

Read the Author's Guide. Do yourself a favour and get the Author's Guide. This nifty PDF gives examples of popular lists, what Listverse wants from you and, crucially, how to compile your source list. Any article submitted without a source list is automatically rejected. But don't worry. Creating your source list is very easy once you know how. The Author's Guide is near the bottom of the submission page (more on that page a little later), or in the search results for Listverse as a PDF entry.

Research What Kinds of Things Listverse Wants. Finally, kick off your shoes and grab a snack. Here comes the fun part. To improve your chances of selling, one must get a feel of what the site wants. Just enjoy reading the lists published within the last few weeks and soon enough, you'll start sensing the themes and genres.

How to Research Your Topic

Many Listverse authors have their own way of gathering material. Through trial and error, you'll also develop your own system. For today, I can only offer my simple technique. Feel free to poach or ignore it!

  • I browse sites that interest me, like earth sciences, technology, animals, and humour.
  • There's a special file on my computer where I collect links that catch my attention.
  • At some point, I go through the links and see which ones I can group into a list of ten.
  • When I manage to group a few, but lack all ten, then I'll search for the rest on the Internet.
  • Always make sure that you use credible sources (the Author's Guide will provide examples).

Write Your List

Summarizing Content and Including Sources. Once you have your ten items, take the time to consume each source. For example, if your source is a BBC article, summarize the story into an entry of around 180 words. This number is just my own rule but it helps me to reach the 1,800 minimum word count for a Listverse list. At the time of writing this, any lists with a lower count won't get accepted. Again, take your time. A good list cannot be written in a few hours.

Formatting Your List. When you're done writing, the next step is to arrange all the entries in a certain format. Give each section a number and a catchy title. Reading other people's lists will quickly show you how it's done. The entries also run, top to bottom, from number 10 to 1. This is a ranking system, meaning that the best entry must be at number 1.

Including a Source List. Finally, compile the source list at the bottom of your work.

Editing Gives You the Edge

Due to Listverse's popularity, the site is swamped with submissions. It's also extremely busy running the day-to-day tasks. Unfortunately, they don't have the luxury of editing every list, especially not when it's riddled with errors. Listverse appreciates lists that are polished and publish-ready. If you do a sparkling job with your self-editing, you'll be ahead of the pack.

Besides self-editing, you can also:

  • Run your list through a US spelling and grammar checker
  • Do the same with a plagiarism checker – Listverse scans every list with potential for plagiarism. Anyone caught passing off stolen work as their own is banned for life.

Few writers adore editing. Why not make the experience more pleasing? Brew your favourite coffee or tea, breathe and get crunching.
Few writers adore editing. Why not make the experience more pleasing? Brew your favourite coffee or tea, breathe and get crunching. | Source

How to Submit an Article to Listverse

  1. Google the phrase, “Listverse submit a list.”
  2. This should lead to the submission page, where you must enter your name, email, and PayPal address and paste your list (with sources).
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  4. Click the submit button.

Their page is exceptionally user-friendly. After you hit the submit button, a smiley face pops up. This means that your list was received. You'll also get an email acknowledging the submission and information about how long you can expect to wait for an answer.

How Long Will It Take to Find Out If Listverse Will Publish Your List?

The waiting period isn't carved in stone. Acceptance can happen quickly, sometimes within hours of submission, or sometimes weeks later. The timing of Listverse's response depends on how busy they are, and there's almost always a delay, given the sheer amount of lists they receive. But let's say Listverse wants to publish your work. Here's what you can expect.

  • An email will deliver the good news.
  • Although it contains another waiting period for the payment, this is also a rough estimate; these days, Listverse pays within a week.
  • A third email will announce your list has gone live.
  • Another email will alert you to a PayPal payment of $100.

Don't Give Up

Listverse is a rare gem. In the freelancing world, writers struggle with sites that lock their submission pages or only want authors with journalism degrees. Freelancers can add Listverse to their client base or use it to break into this tough industry.

Deliver your best and keep trying, even in the face of repeated rejection. My first five or six lists were all turned down. But I kept at it, reading lists and fine-tuning my work to meet Listverse's in-house needs. The result? To date, I've sold close to 270 lists. I'm confident that anyone with enough persistence and flexibility can be successful at Listverse. Good luck!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jana Louise Smit


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    • Jana Louise Smit profile imageAUTHOR

      Jana Louise Smit 

      2 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Isimba. Yes, that's true. But two things to note here. One, that could change in the future and Listverse might pay for lists again. Secondly, if you read carefully you'll see that the editor wrote that you can submit and if they pick your list, and there's a good response from the readers, you can join their team of paying writers. I know it's a lot of work to research and write a list for no financial benefit but it's your choice here what to do. I wish you all the best with your writing.

    • profile image

      Isimba Gumbs 

      2 months ago

      They stopped paying though. I just checked their write for us page and they've recently removed all references to getting $100. And on their submission page, it says they do not pay for submissions.

    • Jana Louise Smit profile imageAUTHOR

      Jana Louise Smit 

      9 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Joyette. I wish you all the best with Listverse. Despite the tough competition, it's truly one of the best-paying sites for writers out there. I love your positive attitude. You'll do great, I'm sure!

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Helen Fabien 

      9 months ago from Dominica

      This is a great hub - well written and with solid tips. I am certainly going to use some of that advice.

      Here I come Listverse!

      Thank you Jana Smit!

    • Jana Louise Smit profile imageAUTHOR

      Jana Louise Smit 

      9 months ago from South Africa

      Thanks, Linda. I'm honestly hoping that it will help new writers succeed at this site. There's a lot of questions people have and I thought I'd bunch everything I know into an article. :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing this information, Jana. It's very useful as well as interesting.


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