When Zoe Aarsen first joined Wattpad, she had no idea that her works would spread like wildfire in the community. “I first joined Wattpad in 2011 under a different account name (@caitlynduffy) and the first full-length story I posted (The Rock Star’s Daughter) pretty quickly reached one million reads. The book had already been released on iTunes, but the reaction it got on Wattpad in terms of comments from readers absolutely blew my mind!” Zoe would later change her username to @Zaarsenist. After racking up over five million reads across her 10 stories on Wattpad, she was welcomed into the Wattpad Stars program. “ I was elated. It’s been my belief since joining the community that this is the future of publishing, so to be recognized by Wattpad as an influential writer is really flattering. ”
Today, Zoe’s works with studios like Warner Brothers Pictures and Universal Pictures to promote their upcoming movie releases on Wattpad. “I have written stories for brand campaigns for Ouija and The Gallows. Being involved in both projects was not only exciting, because teen horror is my passion and I love scary movies, but professionally fulfilling on multiple levels”
For Zoe, It’s an astounding time to be a producer and consumer of creative content—and fulfilling to see that brands are catching on to the importance of creating a dialogue with consumers. Outside Wattpad, she works in digital advertising. “Having an opportunity to develop companion fiction for theatrical releases is a dream come true for me because it’s allowed me to demonstrate that branded content builds brand awareness and intent to purchase. Writing such high-profile branded content for Wattpad has given me a portfolio of writing that I otherwise might never have had the chance to produce as I pursue my professional writing goals.”
She truly believes that social media has changed everything for content creators: “The old industry rules don’t apply any longer in the same way that they did for decades,” she says. “If you’re an author with a story in your heart about which you’re passionate, you no longer have to wait for an agent or editor to tell you that you’re good enough. Social media demonstrates that readers’ interests are quite a bit broader than what shoppers typically find on shelves at bookstores.”
Zoe also maintains a deep connection to the Wattpad community and advises new joiners to do the same. “As simple as it sounds, it’s really important to read other writers’ works and comment to get a sense of what other people are sharing, and how it’s being received. Wattpad is a community—you get out of it what you put into it. It’s not reasonable to expect that you’ll post your first story and become an overnight success, although that does happen sometimes! It is, however, reasonable to expect that your writing will quickly improve if you get into a good routine of writing, posting, and taking comments to heart.”
For Wattpad’s queen of paranormal teen fiction, life, at times, seems to be stranger than fiction. “It may sound corny, but it’s true: Wattpad has changed my life. I didn’t think it would ever be possible for me to have a real career in writing, but because of Wattpad it’s happening now.”
Stay tuned for more instalments of Meet The Wattpad Stars. If you’re a brand looking to work with these Stars or an entertainment studio hoping to partner with Wattpad Studios to find your next hit story, Get in touch!