[App Fridays] With Wattpad, you can read, write, and be discovered by Netflix
What’s common to The Kissing Booth on Netflix, Light as a Feather on Hulu, and Anna Todd’s New York Times best-selling series After? All these stories were discovered on social storytelling platform Wattpad.
With a community of more than 80 million people who spend over 22 billion minutes a month, Wattpad has more than 100 million downloads on Google’s Play Store with 4.3 ratings out of five.
The app was founded by Canadian engineers Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen, who claim inspiration from their “love for reading”. The Canada-based startup has an Indian connection. Times Bridge, an investment arm of Times Group, recently invested in Wattpad.
We stumbled upon the platform while scouring through the Editor's Choice list in the Play Store. The app made it to the list because the editors say user-authored stories and community feedback are its “backbone” and that users can inline comments and respond to writers as they read completed works or chapters of an ongoing story.
Wattpad has more than four million writers, who post an average of 300,000 pieces a day. The app has a vast range of categories, including fanfiction, romance, teen fiction, fantasy, and others.
We decided to explore the app and give you a detailed report.
You can start using the app only after creating an account, which can also be done with a sign-up through your Facebook and Google accounts. The UI is very attractive, and all you need to do is press ‘start reading’. The next few screens ask for details – do you like to read, write, or both, and your gender – and take you to the homepage.
The homepage is neatly organised: there’s a search bar on top and titles below. The top strip showcases competitions running on the app, mostly for authors. Keep scrolling, and categories - paid and free titles - keep unfurling for you.
The app runs on the freemium model, and charges are Rs 320 a month. You need Wattpad coins to read a story, so even if you are using the app for free, you can read paid stories by earning coins through various competitions and engagements.
What’s available on Wattpad?
Wattpad has partnerships with publishers such as Penguin Random House India, Macmillan Publishers, Anvil Publishing, and others. So, a user can read author-generated stories as well as books and stories by these publishers.
The Wattpad community has uploaded about 565 million stories on the platform. Some of the popular writers on the platform include Ravinder Singh, Lisa Ray, Krishna Udayasankar, Durjoy Datta, Sudeep Nagarkar, and Roshan Ali.
It also offers original stories about famous people like Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Virat Kohli, and MS Dhoni.
Fanfiction stories on popular TV series like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata hai, Naagin, Kumkum Bhagya, Ishqbaaz, and Kaisi Yeh Yaarian are also available.
Some of the contests are run by Wattpad’s partners like Film Companion, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Rupa Publications, and others.
Start writing with Wattpad
This is our favourite feature on Wattpad. While publishing on Wattpad, you submit chapters one at a time, which can help you to create a buzz around your content. Submitting a chapter or a story is as easy as posting a social media post.
Wattpad allows in-line comments so your followers and readers can comment on your stories. So, you don’t only get instant feedback, you can also pivot or shape your story as per user interests.
The best part? You can see your work’s momentum building as you write, which is hugely motivating as a writer.
Apart from being a great launchpad for writers, Wattpad is also extremely reader-friendly. There are a variety of books and stories, but it becomes clear that they have missed proof-reading. It would be great if the company could provide proof-readers or harness technology to do this job in the backend.
Wattpad also offers a lot of opportunities to increase exposure, from reader-nominated and operated contests to Wattpad’s own annual Watty Awards. There are many ways to connect with readers across the platform.
The app also features trending stories, which means your chances of being “discovered” are high if the content is good and engages users.
The social media aspects allow users to follow each other like on Twitter. These users are mostly content lovers, so a few followers can mean much more than a crowd of followers on regular social networking platforms.
Most interestingly, Wattpad helps users turn their stories into books, films, TV shows, and digital projects. Alongside, it works with production houses to discover untapped, unsigned, and talented writers.
The company works with partners such as Sony Pictures, Syfy, Hulu, and others. It also has entertainment partners across Asia, including a 26-film deal with iflix.
Wattpad makes you a member of an international community of storytellers and story lovers. It lets you connect with other passionate readers and writers, comment directly in stories as you read them, and support writers as they create and share original stories. You can even create reading lists, share your library, and read with your friends.
The app is the perfect way for authors to connect directly and instantly with readers. It works as a superb launchpad for authors for it’s essentially a social media app that targets book lovers. Could there be a better way to write, get feedback, and build an audience?
We completely recommend it – for writers and readers!
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)