SXSW Tickets are Going Fast But You Can Still Catch Wattpad Star Sandra Grayson

Every year, thousands descend on Austin, Texas, for South by SouthWest (SXSW). It’s a festival and conference that celebrates the convergence of the tech, music, and entertainment industries.

To reach this interesting mix of creatives, the Consulate General of Canada and Deep Vellum Books are producing an offsite session with horror writer extraordinaire and Wattpad Star Sandra Grayson. Her session, When community-driven stories become bestselling books, is focused on introducing storytellers to the power of writers rooted in community engagement.

We caught up with Sandra to give you an exclusive sneakpeek into the boutique series.

When community-driven stories become bestselling books will take place on Monday Morning, March 13, 2017 at The Austin Club. You Can RSVP here.

Tell us a bit about your Wattpad experience

I joined Wattpad after I had just returned to the US. I had been living in Korea and I couldn’t seem to change my sleeping patterns. I thought I would read something to help me get to bed so I looked for a free book app on my phone. Wattpad came up and one of the first books I read was The Bad Boy Stole My Bra. I was devastated because it wasn’t finished at the time. It was my first experience reading a serialized story. I soon began binge reading all sorts of books from different genres. I became addicted!

The first story I wrote was Bones of the Demon King. The only reason I started writing was because I wanted to make a book cover. I didn’t think anyone was going to read it and Wattpad ended up putting it on a Friday the 13th reading list and then it got featured. That same year I won a Watty for my story Unhinged and the following year I did a promotional campaign for Paramount Pictures and was invited into the Stars Program. It’s incredible how things have progressed. I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished and grateful for all the opportunities Wattpad has given me. A few months ago, I was asked to speak at the Canadian Salon Series. I cannot tell you how excited I am to represent Wattpad and hopefully I’ll do a good job and spread the love I have for Wattpad.

Where were you when you found out that you were selected for the Wattpad Stars program? What did it feel like? Have you participated in any brand campaigns since then?

I know exactly where I was at. Is it weird that I remember? I was in my office. LOL. I always have my phone with me or within reach and I typically see my e-mail notifications right away. At first I honestly thought [Wattpad] had invited me by mistake. I was so excited and at the same time I couldn’t believe it. It was a surreal moment.

I have participated in a few brand campaigns. I wrote Phantom Lens for Paramount Pictures to help promote their film Paranormal Activity. I also wrote some bonus chapters for my story Consumed to help promote The Exorcist for Fox Television. More recently, I wrote Pure. It was a short story inspired by the film, A Cure For Wellness, for 20th Century Fox. I even got a mention in an online Variety article because of that story (I’m still amazed by that). Being able to work with these brands has been INCREDIBLE! If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be writing stories to help promote major films, I would’ve laughed at you. I’ve always been a voracious reader and if I can’t physically read, I listen to audio books. I never thought I’d be on the other end writing stories that people all over the world would be reading. I can definitely say that my writing confidence has increased and I owe that to Wattpad.

What can attendees of your session expect?

I really hope that anyone that attends my session can learn how to use Wattpad to their advantage. Yes, Wattpad is an online library…but it’s also so much more than that. I want attendees to understand the power Wattpad has behind it and how they can use that power to help gain visibility in their writing. Among other things, we’ll also go over establishing yourself as a digital writer and serializing your story effectively.

What’s your advice for new writers? What’s your advice for reaching people on Wattpad?

New writers that join this site might feel overwhelmed and frustrated when it comes to attracting an audience. My number one bit of advice is not to compare yourself to other writers. It will drive you bonkers! Never let that discouraging voice in the back of your head convince you that your writing isn’t good enough or that you’ll never have a high amount of reads. Be patient and eventually, readers will find you. Tag your stories, have an eye-catching cover, write a good synopsis, and most importantly write the story you want to read. It sounds cheesy but it’s true.

Also, remember that Wattpad is a social platform. INTERACT! Visit the forums. Read and comment. Make friends. Then, just like me, you too will become addicted to Wattpad.

This is going to sound totally weird but I enjoy writing mystery/thrillers because I love surprising my readers. My stories are generally a good mix of everything. They usually have a little bit of horror, some romance, and the mystery/thriller aspect to them. Serializing stories is the best because readers will tell you who they think the baddie is in their comments and I absolutely love it when they’re wrong!

If they’re too close to being right, I can add a red herring or two. It’s like a game between me and them. Can I outsmart them? I have learned that readers automatically peg certain types of characters as the antagonist depending on how much importance I place on them in my stories. My repeat readers even look for clues in my cast lists! Sometimes I tell myself that I want to write a romance or a fantasy (I have major outlines for both) but I always go back to writing mystery/thrillers.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d just like to say thank you to Wattpad, my readers, and my writer friends. Being able to have a creative outlet that I can share with other people is something I’m really appreciative of and I cannot express to you how grateful I am to have stumbled upon Wattpad.

PS: I know it’s SXSW and Spring Break but if you live in the Austin, Texas area, do come to the Canadian Salon session at the Austin Club! It’ll be a lot of fun and I’d love to meet some fellow Wattpadders!

Important: Change your Wattpad password immediately

Today, Wattpad was notified by CloudFlare, a third-party service supplier, that a recently discovered security vulnerability may have impacted Wattpad users. The vulnerability could have been used to access your account and information. To protect your privacy, we strongly recommend that you change your Wattpad password immediately.

For information about how to change your Wattpad password, click here.

Both CloudFlare and Wattpad have taken steps to address the vulnerability, but this issue impacts many other popular websites. We suggest you change your passwords on these other sites as well.

Wattpad Launches Brand Stories in UK with Red Nose Day Campaign

Brand Stories let brands reach and engage an active community of millennials in the UK who spend over 180 million minutes a month on Wattpad

We’re thrilled to announce that we are an official digital partner of Comic Relief for Red Nose Day 2017, which raises money to help change lives here at home in the UK and across Africa. Beginning today, Comic Relief will share inspiring stories on its official Wattpad profile that demonstrate the positive impact money raised through Red Nose Day has. The brand has also commissioned Wattpad Star Leigh Ansell to write an original story, “Double Dare” about some wacky fundraising to celebrate Red Nose Day. Since Red Nose Day is all about comedy and making your laugh matter, the brand will also take over the Humor category of stories on Wattpad.

Having raised more than £1 billion to date, Comic Relief is a great partner to announce the official launch of Wattpad Brand Stories in the UK. Building on our success with partners such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, H&M, GE, and 20th Century Fox, Wattpad Brand Stories UK will continue to use entertaining content to drive brand awareness and affinity among target customers.

Pete Durant, Digital Partnerships and Social Media Lead at Comic Relief UK said, “Partnering with Wattpad is the next step in engaging with a fresh young audience. Storytelling has always played an important part to Red Nose Day and we’re glad we’re able to continue the tradition on new and exciting platforms like Wattpad.”

 “As an official digital partner of Comic Relief, we’re proud to help drive awareness of Red Nose Day and use social storytelling to help make a difference in the lives of young people” said Richard Parboo, Director of Brand Partnerships, UK, Wattpad. “People spend 15 billion minutes a month engaging with Wattpad stories. Our global reach, massive engagement, and our ability to connect brands with skilled storytellers, means brands can connect on a deeper level - and for a longer period of time - with their target audiences.”

 

Another Dream Come True: Isabelle Ronin’s Chasing Red to be Published by Sourcebooks

Exactly one year ago, Isabelle Ronin finished serializing her story Chasing Red on Wattpad. Today, we’re thrilled to share that Sourcebooks, a leading independent book publisher, has acquired the worldwide English rights to Isabelle’s story. Sourcebooks will release Chasing Red in two volumes, and the first one will be available this September.

Readers around the world quickly became obsessed with Isabelle’s story about a cynical straight-A college student and a notorious basketball player. In fact, Chasing Red is one of the most-read Wattpad stories of 2016. Fans spent a whopping 148 million minutes, the equivalent of 282 years, reading Isabelle’s work!

Chasing Red has a voracious fan base that has created thousands of reviews, multiple trailers, fan art, and even a petition to turn the story into a major motion picture.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the positivity, support, and love from my readers,” said Isabelle Ronin. “They helped me believe in myself. Knowing they were on the other end of the story, waiting for my next update, kept me writing.”

The story’s massive engagement that has also lead several international publishers to acquire Chasing Red, including Hachette Livre, HarperCollins Germany, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, and Mondadori.

“We’re so happy that we could play a role in helping Isabelle realize her dream of being a published author,” said Ashleigh Gardner, head of partnerships for Wattpad Studios.

“I was once struggling to find my place in life - my purpose. Sharing my story on Wattpad and connecting with so many incredible people in the community helped me realize a dream I’ve had most of my life.” Isabelle Ronin added.

Congratulations, Isabelle, we can’t wait to see Chasing Red in bookstores around the world! You can pre-order your copy of Chasing Red, here.

Wattpad Named to Fast Company’s Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Social Media for 2017

Fast Company announced today that Wattpad has been named one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies for 2017 in the category of Social Media. The awards honor leading enterprises and rising newcomers that exemplify the best in nimble business and impactful innovation.

Wattpad was selected for its stellar growth and innovative work of Wattpad Studios, a new division that brings popular Wattpad stories to life for film, tv, digital, and print platforms. Since launching in April 2016, Wattpad Studios has partnered with leading entertainment companies like Turner, Universal Cable Productions (a division of NBC Universal), Simon & Schuster, and Paramount Pictures.

“Each year, our reporting team scours the globe to identify organizations that have been both innovative and impactful in their industry, the business world, and the larger culture,” says Fast Company editor and managing director Robert Safian. At a time marked by political and economic uncertainty, Wattpad’s ability to rise to the top of its field is especially meaningful and inspiring.”

Most Innovative Companies is one of Fast Company’s most significant and highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. To produce the 2017 list, Fast Company reporters surveyed thousands of enterprises across the globe to identify the most notable innovations of the year and trace the impact of those initiatives on business, industry, and the larger culture.

Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March 2017) is now available online at https://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2017 as well as in app form via iTunes, and on newsstands beginning February 21.