Going Beyond Text: Multimedia Powers New Storytelling Experience on Wattpad

A couple of months ago, we began to roll out a new multimedia feature. The new feature lets writers use multimedia elements likes GIFs, images, and videos in stories to create graphic novels, travel diaries, fashion blogs, and more. They can also insert media into existing stories to create a more immersive entertainment experience for readers. Since the roll out, the community has shared hundreds of inventive and original stories filled with rich multimedia.

Mixed media stories from major brands
Sony PPZ - inline media example
Sony Pictures is the first entertainment brand to leverage inline multimedia. To promote the upcoming release of Pride, Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ), the studio commissioned Wattpad writer Jen Wilde to create a zombified fanfiction of AFTER, an international bestseller and Wattpad favorite with over one billion reads.

Shared on the official PPZ profile, the AFTER + Zombies story puts main characters Tessa and Hardin in the middle of a deadly zombie outbreak. Images, GIFs, and videos, including the official movie trailer, enhance the story experience and also build excitement for the upcoming release. 

Coca-Cola took advantage of the new multimedia feature for their holiday campaign on Wattpad. The brand invited writers of some of the most popular Wattpad stories to share a letter to Santa, written from the perspective of their fictional characters. The letters included branded images to reinforce the brand’s spread happiness and #ShareACoke message.

WE.org, the organization that empowers people to change the world, uses multimedia to take fans behind the scenes at WE Day celebrations. The Off the Stage story on Wattpad features video interviews with celebrities like Shawn Mendes and Selina Gomez, as well as photos and video clips from WE Days held around the world.

A second non-profit, Kiva, has also joined the community and will take advantage of the multimedia storytelling capabilities on Wattpad. The micro-lending platform is serializing Dreams, stories about the people and ideas that benefit from Kiva micro-loans.

Comics and graphic novels now available

DC Vertigo - Lucifer B&W Comic storyThe introduction of multimedia has also led to the very first comic on Wattpad, courtesy of DC Comic’s
Vertigo Imprint. Vertigo shared the Black & White preview of Lucifer exclusively on Wattpad.

Transmedia production company Nanomyte Studios, has also released Injection, a serialized comic for the Wattpad community. Injection features static graphics as well as animated scenes.  

Walt Disney Studios animator, illustrator, and author Brian Kesinger joined Wattpad to share Otto and Victoria, a illustrated story that chronicles the adventures of a young Victorian lady and her pet octopus. He is also serializing his comic The Intrepid Molly McGuinness on the platform. Brian also created a Star Wars and Calvin and Hobbes mashup illustration exclusively for the Wattpad community. Dave Elliot - The Weirding Willow Story

Comic industry legend Dave Elliott has brought his acclaimed series, The Weirding Willows to Wattpad. The graphic novel mashup takes characters from classic fairy tales, horror, fantasy, and sci-fi literature and completely reimagines them. Dave is using Wattpad’s multimedia feature to create an entire Weirding Willows world, complete with field guides and new artwork for fans.

Exclusive content from horror legends and social influencers
Best known for having written the novels that became the Hellraiser and Candyman movies, Clive Barker is one of the world’s premier authors of horror and fantasy literature. On Wattpad, Clive shares an exclusive version of The Book of Blood that features dark and creepy art.

The Betches, the site for millennial women, shares weekly recaps of The Bachelor with fans on Wattpad. The recaps feature The Betches’ trademark snark complemented with reaction GIFs and other multimedia. The Betches will also share their all-time favorite Bachelor moments, as well as provide a sneak peek of their new book, I Had a Great Time and Other Lies … exclusively on the platform.Grace Helbig - inline media example (1)

Comedian Grace Helbig share essays from her new book Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It exclusively on Wattpad before the book release later this month. The essays on Wattpad include images, GIFs, and videos to make the content come alive.  

Inventive stories from the Wattpad community
Many Wattpad writers have also adopted the new feature to bring their stories to life. Bel Watson shared a story composed entirely of text messages, and Rebecca Sky inserted custom illustrations into her story A Lifetime According to Karma Rose.

Version One Ventures, a top early-stage investment fund, is using graphs and other images in their non-fiction story A Guide to Marketplaces to illustrate marketplace principles and practices.

Since 2006, Wattpad has radically changed the way people discover and share stories. As the first platform to connect readers and writers on a global scale, we’re eager to see how the launch of multimedia will continue to push the boundaries of storytelling in today’s mobile and social age.

The 10 Reasons Indie Authors Should Write on Wattpad

If you’re an indie author you know all too well the work that’s required to create, edit, market and sell your work. Chances are you have a good system for how to promote yourself, but if you’re like most, you’re always looking for opportunities to reach a wider audience.

That’s where Wattpad comes in. We have a global audience and are a dream for serious indie authors who are looking for exposure, feedback and validation. Not only that, but Wattpad can also help provide you with a platform in which to promote your books.

Why you should write on Wattpad:

1. You can reach a global audience of millions of readers
There’s nothing worse than writing a great book and then struggling to find readers. Other social networks aren’t wired for long-form reading like Wattpad. Our community of over 40 million people are hungry for great stories and spend 13 billion minutes per month on Wattpad. On Wattpad, readers make up 90% of our community. This means that for every one writer there are ten readers. This is great news for you!

2. Your work in progress is warmly welcomed
On Wattpad you don’t have to have a finished manuscript to post and share your work. And in fact, it’s better if you don’t. Serialization is what works best on Wattpad. Think of your work like a television show, with a new episode airing every week. The audience loves to be there beside you as your story unfolds.  Releasing your work one chapter at a time provides you with continual enthusiastic feedback  as you work on finishing your book alongside a growing audience who is there with you for the ride.

3. You can write or edit your work on the go, whenever inspiration strikes
Wattpad is designed for mobile with 90% of the community logging in from their mobile phones; both readers and writers. One of the most advantageous benefits of using Wattpad is that you can read, write, or edit your work from wherever you are – even offline. You don’t have to be tethered to your computer. You can be sitting in a doctor’s office, on a train, or standing in a line while you read, edit and refine your work, or write a new chapter.

4. You retain rights to your work always and forever
On Wattpad, you retain all rights to your work and are protected by copyright law in areas such as distribution, performance and creation of your work. When you post your story on Wattpad, we automatically insert into the file the date of publish on that story for you. We take copyright very seriously and always want our authors to feel protected. Our goal is to support writers and enable author success.

5. You can use Wattpad for free, forever
You will never be charged a fee to use Wattpad. Our commitment now and forever is that Wattpad will always be free to use. This is one of many reasons why we are able to attract such a large user base. Access to free content is what makes the community so desireable, but authors have also found that this access has helped promote book sales too! Win-win for authors and audiences.

6. You can make money and build your career
Writers who invest in the Wattpad community and build a decent following are invited to apply to our Wattpad Stars program. This program provides opportunities to writers to write fun branded content and get paid to do it. Our Wattpad Stars receive many paid opportunities and continue to build their audiences while attracting the interest of publishers, brands, the media, or agents who regularly peruse our site. Additionally, we provide Wattpad Stars with exciting non-paid perks like speaking opportunities at conferences and media interviews. Sharing your latest crowdfunding campaign or linking to sites where fans can buy your book is easy on Wattpad.

7. You will receive enthusiastic feedback from readers
Wattpad is an extremely positive community. When you post your work on Wattpad you will find that the audience is genuinely interested, helpful, and emotive about your work. You will receive enthusiastic feedback and comments that can be insightful to the development of your work. You will find that your fellow writers are very supportive of your career and when you are just getting started Wattpad ambassadors are always available to provide you with help when you need it.

8. You will be inspired by the great work of others
On Wattpad 24 hours worth of reading material is posted every minute of the day. So there is never a shortage of great stories to read. By regularly perusing the hot and featured lists, you will see what is gaining traction on Wattpad and what most people enjoy. The Wattys (Wattpad’s annual digital writing contest) is also a great place to browse for crowd favourites if you’re looking for new stories to read or research. Trending stories on Wattpad can provide tons of inspiration for you as you build your audience and credibility.

9. You can get discovered by agents and publishers
You don’t have to be a Wattpad Star to get noticed by publishers and agents. In fact Harlequin hosts their super popular So You Think You Can Write annual romance contest on Wattpad and provides valuable feedback to romance authors and a 2-book publishing deal to the grand prize winner. There are many contests hosted on Wattpad that provide high visibility opportunities for talented writers to become noticed and discover new readers who appreciate your work.  

10. You can access audience analytics
We know that our writers are numbers-obsessed, so we launched audience analytics to help authors see their stats in an interesting way. You can identify which country your readers are from what time of day you get the most comments, which chapters get the most votes, comments and more! Having this level of insight into who your readers are will help you better understand them and have a meaningful relationship that makes you a better author all around.

If you are interested in joining Wattpad, growing your audience, or becoming a Wattpad Star, head over to our writers site to learn more.

Introducing Wattpad’s New Head of Global Brand Partnerships

Wattpad is pleased to welcome Suzanne Spence as our new head of global brand partnerships. In this role, Suzanne will develop innovative partnerships with top brands through our Brand Stories offering. She joins as Wattpad’s first New York-based hire.

Suzanne is an experienced sales and advertising strategist and has helped organizations achieve over $1 billion in revenue. At Wattpad, Suzanne will grow the roster of leading brands who use the platform to reach a millennial audience through entertainment, not transactional advertising.

Before joining the Wattpad team, Suzanne lead Google’s global mobile app monetization strategy with a focus on the Asia Pacific market. During her time with Google, Suzanne developed a broad range of skills in sales and global product strategy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Princeton University.

Currently, brands like General Electric, Universal Pictures, Unilever, and Mondelez use Wattpad Brand Stories to quickly reach an audience of millions with entertaining content that drives lifts in brand awareness and affinity. With Suzanne as part of the team, we expect to see many more brands join the platform and connect directly with 40 million fans around the world.

For more information on Wattpad Brand Stories, check out http://business.wattpad.com or this feature in Adweek.

Allen Lau contributes his insights to Entrepreneur Online

This post is brought to you by Wattpad Co-Founder and CEO Allen Lau.

Wattpad CEO and Co-Founder, Allen Lau, is the newest contributor to the most widely used website by entrepreneurs and leaders in business worldwide, Entrepreneur. You can read his first piece on the power of competitive pricing below, or on Entrepreneur online, here.

3 Ways Offering Something for Free Can Actually Make You Lots of Money

I’ve always viewed zero as a special number. You can add as many zeros as you want in a sequence, and the end result is still zero. You can multiply any number by zero and you get zero. If you divide a number by zero, you get a spirited debate among mathematicians.

The concept of zero has marveled mathematicians and philosophers alike, but businesses can also take something away from its unique properties. That’s because something magical happens when a price falls to zero — all of a sudden, demand rises to infinity.

For software companies and startups that offer their services over the Internet, zero or “free” should be a central consideration in your business model. It was for me when I founded Wattpad, and it continues to be one of the core reasons we remain so successful today. Here are a few things to zero in on when examining this model.

  1. Rapid user adoption

When Microsoft announced in August that its new edition of Windows 10 had hit 75 million downloads in its first month, many people reacted with surprise. After all, it took Microsoft six months to hit 100 million downloads for its previous release of Windows 8.

What was so different this time? What made this launch so special? The answer lies in the number zero.

By offering Windows 10 for free, Microsoft was able to capitalize on a wider audience of users and seed early interest for its operating system with developers. Similarly, when businesses offer something for free, they can speed up customer acquisition and build a user base much more rapidly.

Remember that there are many factors that prevent people from adopting a product or service — price being one of them. By offering something for free, you completely eliminate a common question consumers have when deciding to try a new product — “Should I pay for this?”

  1. Organic growth

Besides eliminating friction, eliminating price also removes barriers to adoption based on socio-economic grounds, which in turn sets the stage for organic growth. My company, Wattpad, is a prime example of this.

When we first launched, our goal was to connect the billions of people who seek entertainment and escape through stories. In many parts of the world, access to reading material is limited, so we wanted to create an environment where people could connect, read and write stories, regardless of their background. Offering services for free was central in achieving this.

As the Internet becomes more ubiquitous and smartphone technology decreases in cost, the environment for Wattpad to flourish grows, because we offer our services at price point that compels people to download. We now have over 40 million users visiting our site every month and more than 150 million stories available in over 50 languages.

Even more impressive than this, our users — because they come from such diverse backgrounds — have been able to find their unique voice and enact change on our platform. Take for example Wattpad user Tahlie Purvis, a 16-year-old from Canada who is mobilizing writers to depict characters with imperfect body types. The movement, called#FreeYourBody, would not have been possible if our platform weren’t openly available to young adults to download. Because we’re free, we have a much broader user base that can organically shape the direction of our business.

  1. Other ways to generate revenue

Offering services for free , of course, doesn’t make sense for every business, but for those operating in software or on the Internet, “free” is a very real consideration that should be made. After all, there are as many as 60,000 apps added to Apple’s App Store every month. Price point could very well be the key differentiator between you and a competitor.

That said, it’s crucial for startups to consider ways they can generate revenue if they do choose to offer services for free. One option is advertising.

Chinese ecommerce site Alibaba is known for not charging a transaction or listing fee for their marketplace items and handles billions in transactions. How do they make money? The answer is that revenue comes from Taobao, their consumer-facing shopping website, and 100 percent of it comes from native ads.

Another option startups can consider is the upgrade path, where a business attracts users with free baseline services but offer advanced access or additional perks for a price. This option is popular among music streaming sites, like Pandora or Spotify. Even YouTube recently unveiled a new paid service (YouTube Red) which would give users an ad-free experience and exclusive access to new content. Interestingly, each of these services provides a free option to attract new users, and let’s not forget that YouTube’s recent offering comes years after reaching a defensible scale.

Whatever method you choose to make money, make sure that it doesn’t alienate customers. While offering free services can certainly draw people in, inundating them with pop-ups or requests for upgraded service can keep them from returning to your site.

So to sum up — offering free services allows startups to differentiate themselves from competitors, rapidly build a user base and create a community that can grow organically. In a world where raising revenue often dictates every decision, sometimes “thinking zero” can actually lead businesses to make millions.

http://www.entrepreneur.com: Copyright [2015] by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wattpad Launches Windows 10 App

Today, we’re excited to announce the release of a Windows App. Now, for the first time, Windows Phone owners have a dedicated Wattpad app to discover and read stories for free. With the release of the new Windows App, Wattpad extends its reach to Windows phone users around the world.

The new app gives people access to more than 175 million original story uploads in over 50 languages, the ability to read offline, and comment on stories as way to interact with the global community. It is available as a free download in the Windows Store today.  

Window_In Device Screenshot

“A dedicated Windows App is one of the most-requested features by the international Wattpad community,” said Wattpad’s Head of Product Tarun Sachdeva. “With the new Windows App, more people can use their phones to discover original entertainment about the things they love.”

“I am excited that with Windows 10, Wattpad was able to reach more users and deliver a great experience across devices for their community,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president, Developer Platform Evangelism group, Microsoft.

This initial release of the new app includes the ability to discover and read stories, as well as interact with others in the community. It will continue to be updated to deliver the best of Wattpad functionality to Windows users such as the ability to share their own writing with millions of people around the world.

Download the new Windows 10 App here.


2015: For The Love of Stories

It’s been an incredible year for Wattpad.

In 2015, millions of people around the world turned to Wattpad to find original entertainment about the things they love.

This year, milestones and pop culture moments that trended the world over were explored through fiction, like LBGT rights and, yes, even Kim Kardashian.

In today’s TL;DR era, Wattpad’s new form of entertainment that lets people participate and interact with each other through stories, has captivated millennials to the tune of 13 billion minutes a month. This year, leading CPG and entertainment brands recognized the power of social storytelling and used the platform to connect directly with consumers and fans with incredible results.

On Wattpad, people can play with and participate in stories created by their peers and by the brands they love. As a result, Wattpad stories have millions of reads, thousands of comments, and go viral on and off the platform.

Check out Wattpad’s Year in Review and discover why 2015 was such a big year!

Brand Stories Spotlight: The Gallows

Photo of The Gallows on Wattpad

Wattpad has built quite a following with horror fans this year by hosting prominent horror campaigns with well-known entertainment franchises. Our community loves a good story and horror-junkies live for the adrenaline rush of a good fright.

Earlier this year we worked with Warner Bros. to support the launch of feature horror film The Gallows. We invited the directors of The Gallows to create two exclusive and serialized stories on Wattpad.

The stories rolled out in the weeks leading up to the launch of the film. As the stories built momentum, conversations began surging on the Gallows official profile and helped raise tremendous awareness and excitement for the film.

During this campaign we also worked with well-known Wattpad horror influencer Zoe Aarsen to create a commissioned story for The Gallows, called Initiation, which has received over 47K reads to date.

The campaign was an exciting intersection of brand, creators, and audience. The community loved the exclusive access to content written by The Gallows directors and continued to engage on Wattpad throughout the campaign period about both the film and the stories.

For a glimpse into this unique campaign download the case study here.