I don't remember what year the information was written or the circumstances surrounding the ability to command such a princely sum. I just remember the professor interrupting me to tell the rest of the class that in English, words tend to be around the same size, so an author could be paid this way. It wouldn't make sense to do so in German.
At any rate, one of my personal goals is to write as many words as are equal to the amount of money pledged by my patrons. For every dollar, I will do my best to write 20 words. Unfortunately, writing doesn't always have a publishable result, but of those things that are published, I will thank my patrons. Even if you only pledge a dollar, you should find your name on one of the things I write during a month!