Wattpad Named CIX 2016 ‘Innovator of the Year’ Recipient

Toronto-based company wins award for transforming entertainment industry

The Canadian Innovation Exchange announced today that Wattpad one of Canada’s fastest growing companies, has been named CIX 2016 Innovator of the Year.

Wattpad has transformed the relationship between readers and content and this has caught the attention of Hollywood as a key marketing tool for movies. In June, Wattpad announced a deal with Turner to help generate ideas for shows on Turner networks, starting with the upcoming Tales from the Crypt revival.

“We are building the next major entertainment giant right here in Canada,” said Allen Lau, CEO and co-founder of Wattpad. “To accept this award in our tenth year as a company is a truly humbling experience that validates the work we do to transform how people around the world create and share stories.”

The CIX Innovator of the Year award is given annually to a Canadian firm that disrupts and transforms an industry in profound ways. The award is given to companies who represent the best in Canadian business and who are at the cutting edge in their categories. Past recipients of the Innovator of the Year Award have included Desire2Learn, Vision Critical and Shopify.

Golden Venture Partners and OMERS Ventures are investors in Wattpad and share in the excitement of this award.

“Storytelling hasn’t been the same since Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen launched Wattpad. When we first invested in the company in 2011, we were impressed with their vision of how mobile would reshape the way people share and tell stories.” said Matt Golden, Managing Director, Golden Venture Partners. “Five years later, they’ve delivered on that vision and more. Today, Wattpad stories grace every screen – mobile, television, and movie. We’re thrilled Wattpad is being recognized by CIX for the innovative company we know it is.”

“Wattpad has transformed the storytelling experience for millions of people. Wattpad connects storytellers and audiences around the world, and is now changing how the global entertainment industry discovers and produces content,” said Jim Orlando, Managing Director at OMERS Ventures. “We are very proud to be an investor in Wattpad.”

The CIX is a leading technology innovation destination where investors, innovative companies, entrepreneurs and facilitators converge to drive economic growth and accelerate the development and implementation of new ideas.

This forum attracts the key players behind Canada’s innovative technology products and services in order to learn from each other, meet and pursue customer and investment relationships, and encourage the development of innovative technology that will be an integral part of Canada’s economic growth. It is where deals happen. The CIX Top 20 Program curates the hottest new innovative companies among hundreds of applications each year and the CEO showcase their innovation at CIX. Wattpad was selected as a CIX Top 20 company in 2011.

At CIX on November 22nd, Allen Lau, CEO and Co-Founder of Wattpad, will accept the award on behalf of Wattpad and share his story and insight.

Lessons from New York Times Bestselling Author Natasha Preston

Engaged audiences give authors and publishers a major advantage. Natasha Preston, New York Times bestselling writer of The Cellar, understands this better than most.

Natasha and her publisher Sourcebooks have sold over 240,000 copies of The Cellar over the span of 30 months. They’ve accomplished this despite the fact that an unedited edition of The Cellar currently exists on Wattpad for free. For Natasha, Wattpad serves as a powerful engagement tool and a forum where fans can connect with her and each other.

Thanks to her passionate fans on Wattpad and strategic promotion from her publisher, Natasha maintains an 11 week run on the NYT young adult paperback bestseller list.

The Power of Community-Based Storytelling

Natasha joins several Wattpad writers, including Taran Matharu and Anna Todd, who have placed works on the New York Times bestsellers list. They’ve achieved this while keeping the majority of their works available on Wattpad for free.

While free is typically perceived as costly to publishers, the social nature of Wattpad stories provides an invaluable benefit for people trying to market their work. These benefits include:

An Engaged Fan Base: Through comments, updates, and interactions with other fans, Wattpad stories provide a community forum for people to connect over the stories they love.

Like any community, it’s more likely to stay together if its meeting place, in this case a Wattpad story, stays intact. The internet moves fast. If a story is taken down during the works transition to print, its audience might move on.

Instead of taking something from the fan base, support the community by leaving the story online while they wait for new material. In the end, fans are more likely to support the print edition of a work if they feel connected to its creator and responsible for its success. It’s this social aspect that can convert fans to purchasers.

Strength in Numbers: Natasha posted The Cellar in 2010. By the time Natasha was published by Sourcebooks in 2014, her story had amassed a giant fan base on Wattpad.

Today, over 17 million reads and almost 150,000 comments give Natasha and her publisher great insight into the passages, characters, and plot points that matter most to fans. Through the data available to partners of Wattpad Studios, editors and content creators gain a better understanding of what makes a story great.

Exponential Growth: Every second of the day, someone new joins the Wattpad community. That’s a new potential fan to attract to the Wattpad edition of a published story. Recently Natasha’s much-anticipated follow-up title The Cabin became available for purchase.

For publishers that work with Wattpad Studios, continued placement, curation, and algorithmic promotion to similar readers helps accelerate growth and potential market for  both The Cellar and The Cabin.

For Wattpad, connecting storytellers with exciting opportunities is critical. Like Natasha’s most passionate fans, we’re proud of the work she’s done and what she’s been able to accomplish.

We want to connect the publishers of the world with more of our top writers. When we collaborate with publishers like Sourcebooks and storytellers like Natasha Preston we move closer to reaching our vision of helping billions of people find entertainment, connections, and inspiration from Wattpad stories.

When Natasha joined Wattpad in 2010, she worked various jobs in administration. Since then, her career as a writer has taken off. Thanks to the power of community-based storytelling, Natasha and her publisher Sourcebooks are reaping the rewards of social-connectivity.

300 Million Story Uploads and One Big Thanks

That’s right. On Wattpad, over 300 million story uploads have been shared to-date. That number’s more than five times larger than the New York Public Library’s entire catalog and almost double that of the Library of Congress.

At Wattpad, we know that everyone has a story to share. It’s why we support over 50 languages and connect storytellers and audiences from virtually every country in the world.

We also understand how challenging and nerve-racking it can be to share your first story. So, to the millions of people who actively post on Wattpad every month, we’d like to say thank you and congratulations! Together, we’ve tripled the amount of uploads available in February of 2015.

You’ve created inspiring communities for body positivity, co-written fiction with YouTube celebrities, and of course, let your fandom flags fly! We’ve also come a long way since the earliest versions of Wattpad to provide an app that works on almost every mobile device.

Wattpad Product Family

Every month 45 million people discover, comment, and share the stories available on Wattpad. For over 15 billion minutes, our global community connects with original stories they love. Thanks to the storytellers of the world, those numbers are only going up!

If you’re a storyteller hoping to contribute to the growing catalogue of stories on Wattpad, check out these great classes from some of our Wattpad Stars.

 

Celebrating 50 Years Of Star Trek With Wattpad Co-founder Ivan Yuen

Fifty years ago today, a television series inspired audiences with the wonders of space exploration. With Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry’ put a mirror to our society and asked viewers to ponder the big questions at time when technology was quickly advancing and the space race was at its peak.

Star Trek also inspired one of the first and most engaged fan communities ever. The conventions and forums created as a result of the show’s success resulted in some of the earliest fanfiction stories based on a televised series.

Fandom was a natural extension of the show’s appeal. The growing phenomenon of fanfiction on sites like Wattpad builds on the groundwork laid by these early Star Trek fans. Today, many people on Wattpad still write fiction inspired by the Star Trek franchise.

Among those fans, is Wattpad’s very own CPO & Co-founder, Ivan Yuen. Ivan’s story, Forgotten Hero, takes place in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine universe. Here’s what he has to say about the series:

“Star Trek has been an important influence on my optimistic outlook for humanity and what we are capable of. We don’t need to be afraid of new technology or unknown worlds that are fundamentally transformative. I have a lot of faith that, collectively, we have the capacity to grow and figure out how to tackle the problems along the way. The spirit of tolerance and cooperation that fills the Star Trek world has served us well for the last 50 years and continues to be a great model for us.”

The Starfleet crew represented Roddenberry’s optimistic view of a utopian earth. It was the first series to televise an interracial kiss and purposefully cast a diverse set of actors to further the view that humanity was at it’s best when united.

The stories told on Star Trek filled people with hope and curiosity. It’s fitting that the franchise’s newest installment is set to return to television at a time when many emerging technologies are once again changing the way we view our modern world.

It’s an exciting time to celebrate 50 years of Star Trek. With whisperings of alien contact in the air, new earth-like worlds being discovered, and plans set to colonize other planets, who knows what the next 50 years will bring!

Explore new worlds or create your own by checking out Wattpad’s official Sci-Fi profile.

Wattpad Brand Solutions Needs Your Vote!

You may have heard of a little conference in Austin Texas called South By Southwest (SXSW). If you haven’t, the festival and conference brings together some of the most cutting edge musical artists, startups, and marketing minds from around the globe.

Back to Basics: Why Brands Are Betting on Stories is our submission to their annual panelpicker series. Wattpad’s session would bring together a Wattpad Star, a leading brand, and Wattpad’s Head of Global Brand Solutions, Suzanne Spence, for a conversation that explores how stories impact brand-building.

Sound informative? We think so too! To support Wattpad at SXSW 2017, you can cast your vote for our panel in three easy steps:

  1. Signup for a SXSW community account here
  2. Follow this link to Wattpad’s panel description
  3. Click the thumbs up icon in the top left corner of the page

Community voting helps the SXSW content committee determine the conference’s final lineup. That’s why we need your support. Voting closes at 12:00am EST on Friday, September 2nd, so don’t delay.

This is our chance to show SXSW attendees why Wattpad stories matter. Once you’ve voted, get in touch with us on Twitter @WattpadBusiness!

Judgement Day: Dystopian Science Fiction on Wattpad

Brace yourselves. The Terminator franchise marks today as the date when artificial intelligence overtakes the planet!

In 1984, the first Terminator film wowed audiences with a high-concept premise, stunning action, and iconic visuals. The Terminator franchise defined action films and caused audiences to question the growing reach of technology in our daily lives.

Many of the most popular stories on Wattpad’s sci-fi profile touch on dystopias and time travel, much like the Terminator films. On Wattpad, over 2.6 million uploads have been shared in the science fiction category. People also spent almost 30 million minutes reading sci-fi last month alone.

To see how much people love dystopian worlds, we just have to look at the success of franchises like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Terminator. Science fiction and dystopian themes go together like peanut butter and jelly. It just works.

Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of great dystopian sci-fi to choose from on Wattpad. The best part? Even if the internet turns against us, you can count on Wattpad’s offline reading feature to keep your library intact!

Hone Your Craft With the Wattpad Stars and Skillshare

The Wattpad Stars are masters of storytelling for online audiences and they’re eager to share their insights with new writers!

Last year, we launched our first collaboration with Skillshare and a Wattpad Star. The talented Rebecca Sky crafted this class on writing for online engagement and the results were fantastic. Since then, we’ve produced two classes and have one more on the way.

Check out Ninya Tippett’s class on finding your creative voice, here.

Photo of Ninya Tippett

If you’re hoping to get into character, Lindsey Summers has put together this helpful class on crafting an in-depth character study.

Photo of Lindsey Summers

If you’ve tackled these three courses and are still hungry for more tips, Ali Novak and Skillshare designed this class to teach you how to edit and complete a manuscript.

Wattpad connects writers with a total monthly audience of over 45 million people. We estimate that about 90% of that audience are readers. That provides a huge opportunity for writers of all levels who want to reach one of the most engaged audiences on the internet.

If you’d like to find out how some of our best writers connect with that audience, check out any of the classes above. You can also find helpful tips on our writer’s page.