A Word On Wattpad

Wattpad: where you find your fanfictions, teen fiction, vampire and wolf stories, etc. Once you start reading some of the books, there’s no going back. -Urban Dictionary

Few start-ups have had a profound impact on the way we tell, share, and consume stories like Wattpad has. It has allowed aspiring and professional writers the opportunity to create content without the constraints (and moral boundaries) of traditional publishing. It is an inexpensive way for writers to gain popularity and recognition for their stories, many of which are considered fan-fiction. In recent years, authors have had the opportunity to make money through the app by allowing advertisements to be integrated into the story. The platform operates similarly to Youtube, where creators are compensated by the number of reads in addition to advertisements. 

Wattpad has launched the careers of many authors, with successful books such as the After series by Anna Todd being picked up by traditional publishers and later adapted into several movies. The series garnered over a billion reads on the platform, turning heads within the publishing industry as it demonstrated the ability of fan-fiction to have real commercial viability. The site was so successful it inspired Amazon to launch its own platform for fan-fiction, Kindle Worlds. While Kindle Worlds failed to find a strong footing, especially due to its overly strict guidelines, it was a sign that the publishing industry was ready to listen to the millions of voices that craved easy-to-consume digital stories.

How the success of user-generated content platforms such as Wattpad will play into the future of the publishing industry is widely unknown, but it has taught us valuable lessons on the benefits of lowering the barriers to sharing stories online. For example, it provides a space for aspiring writers to gain experience and receive direct feedback for their stories. Writers can begin building a following that could benefit them as they navigate their careers. Traditional publishers can use platforms such as Wattpad to search for talent and gain consumer insights on what various demographics are reading. Most importantly, Wattpad harnesses a strong community where writers and readers can interact and share thoughts, ideas, and experiences.