Now that Wattpad has gone hollywood, we thought it would be a good idea to shine the spotlight on some of our brightest stars. These writers are the engine of Wattpad Studios, but more importantly, they’re passionate members of our global community.
This week we interviewed Shaun Allan, a horror-thriller writer who joined Wattpad in 2011. Since then, he’s shared 23 works, gained 18,000 followers, and accumulated over 810,000 reads across all his stories! Like many new members of the Wattpad community, Shaun joined to promote sales of his books and increase the visibility of his writing.
After discovering the excerpt of his story, Sin, the Wattpad team asked him to share the full story serially and invited him into the writers program, a precursor on the road toward being a Wattpad Star.
“At first, I wasn’t sure about serializing the full book. I didn’t want that to hurt book sales by letting the whole story be available for free. But there was something about Wattpad. I liked how it worked. I liked that it was a community.”
It was that communal, social-nature on Wattpad that hooked Shaun. For the first time, he was able to interact with readers: “I was meeting new people and the reach was far greater…it’s a much more fulfilling experience, and is, in fact, addictive. Wattpad is like walking into a vast library where all the people reading your books are sitting there in comfy seats, chatting to you about your work. And there’s no uptight librarian telling you to SSHHH!”
After his first feature on Wattpad, things really started to take off. “I was blown away by the response,” said Shaun, “When one of my stories hits the top ten in its category, such as Mr. Composure reaching number one and Suffer the Little Children climbing to number three in the Horror category, it doesn’t just make my day, it makes my week. ”
The momentum carried forward for Shaun. After an explosion in followers and read counts, he was invited to join the Wattpad Stars program. “It was an evening and I think I’d just finished dinner…I was genuinely pleased but definitely didn’t grasp what was to come...I didn’t realize, at the time, how amazing the Stars experience would be.”
Today, Shaun has worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Universal Pictures and DC Comics’ Vertigo Imprint. “I can still remember, so clearly, when I received that email. I had to read it over and over. I was stunned. The initial email, asking if I’d care to join the campaign, was almost casual. When I saw what was being asked, it was like Christmas but a hundred times better. I was going to write for Universal!”
Despite all his success, Shaun still finds the time to interact on Wattpad. He’s currently reading When the Black-Eyed Children Knock by Ben Sobieck and offers up this advice to new writers: “Don’t let those around you tell you you’re wasting your time. Write. If the words are there, put them down. The more you write, the better you will get. Enjoy it, and write for yourself.”
Like any good story, Shaun’s includes a bit of luck and a great deal of foresight. “About 20 years ago now, I ran an online magazine which received submissions from all over the world and was invited to take part in a debate on Sky TV between myself and someone from the agent Curtis Brown about online versus traditional publishing. I said that online and digital publishing would take off. They said no way. People will always want a physical book. Maybe that’s the case, but Wattpad has proved me right…With Wattpad and the support from both them and the readers, I feel the worlds I create, though they’re often very dark, are a kind of light in themselves. They’ve made people laugh, shudder and smile all within the space of a few words. I think that’s pretty cool.”
Stay tuned for more instalments of this on-going series. If you’re a brand looking work with these Stars or an entertainment studio hoping to partner with Wattpad Studios to find your next hit story, you can get in touch with us through business[at]wattpad.com