Meet The Wattpad Stars: Brittany Geragotelis

After 10 years of pounding the pavement with publishers and agents, Brittany Geragotelis decided to break free from gatekeepers by posting an original story on Wattpad for free. “I loved the concept of Wattpad—the fact that anyone could post their material and that it gave the power back to readers by letting them decide what they wanted to read.” says Brittany about the decision.

For her, it was a bold move that would ultimately pay off with a three-book publishing deal and an invitation to join the Wattpad Stars program.

Brittany’s original story, Life’s a Witch, gained over 19 million reads in under a year. The instant recognition rekindled her love of writing and changed her perception of online communities.

As a former magazine editor, Brittany is no stranger to the rush of popularity that comes with rising stardom. The interviews she conducted over the course of her career helped her find out how other writers started in the industry and gave her insight into their creative process.

Now that the tables have turned, here are a few pro-tips Brittany shares about getting started as a writer:

Sit down to write every day: Even if it’s just a page. The habit of writing is what will help you finish your first story.

Tell the story you want to read: This will help shape your writing as a journey and give you the experience of creating something you’re interested in.

Don’t start a story until you have an outline: Everyone’s process differs, but outlines can really help with writer's block.

Read, read, read:  You can learn a lot about writing by studying those that do it well. Bonus: reading is a great way to fuel inspiration and creativity.

Don’t listen to nay-sayers: Says Brittany, “You should never let someone else dictate your dreams! I say this because I went through 10 years of rejection from a lot of people whose opinion I thought mattered. If I'd listened to them, I would have given up (which I almost did). But I didn't and now, here I am. So, if you love to write, write. If you feel compelled to tell stories, then tell them. THAT should be what you're focused on...not whether someone else thinks your writing's worth being out there. Put it up on Wattpad and let readers decide for themselves.”

A Look Into the Guadalajara Book Fair

Around the world, people love to connect with, share, and discover great stories. It’s why over 45 million people spend more than 15 billion minutes on Wattpad every month.

Of the many communities on Wattpad, Mexico is one of the largest and most engaged. It’s no surprise then that one of the most important book fairs in Ibero-America is hosted in Guadalajara.

The Guadalajara International Book Fair was created 30 years ago by the University of Guadalajara. It is an amazing cultural festival where storytellers and audiences connect in person.

At last year’s event we were proud to have had three Wattpad authors, published by Nova Casa Editorial, signing books at the fair:

Check out the photos taken by Wattpad Ambassador Natalia A. Hatt for a look into the fun event

Generosity is The Key To Community Development

Last month marked 10 years of Wattpad. We celebrated this journey with our global community and released our plans to change the face of entertainment in the years to come. Wattpad’s Head of Creators Melissa Nightingale and Head of Audience Jeanne Lam understand that for any of these plans to work, they’ll need to help foster and scale Wattpad’s global audience while they maintain a positive space for storytellers.

Together, the dynamic duo work to attract new storytellers and audiences to Wattpad’s community of 45 million and growing. It’s a monumental task, but one they carry out with trailblazing vision and genuine care.

“We have the mission of touching the lives of billions of people,” says Jeanne about her role. “Our goal is to get the stories that are on Wattpad in front of as many people as humanly possible.”

For Melissa, her pitch to storytellers on Wattpad is a simple one: “Wattpad makes it possible to share a story and find that readers halfway across the world have fallen in love with your characters. How cool is that?”

The work of their teams builds on the work that was laid down by Wattpad’s co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. They aim to grow a community that facilitates positive interactions between creators and audiences.“Wattpad is a uniquely positive place that stands in contrast to so many of the large, social platforms on the internet today,” explains Melissa. “It’s a safe space for creative expression, where storytellers are able to tell the stories that are meaningful to them and have them resonate with a global community.”

Jeanne adds,“...when I think about what's so unique about this positivity, there's a level of generosity that I haven't seen anywhere else. Ever. Sharing your story is an inherently generous act. But giving feedback, voting, commenting, creating reading lists, participating in movements, these are all acts of generosity that fuel the positivity among the Wattpad community.”

She’s referring to movements like #FreeYourBody, #TalkThePoc, and empowered social advocates like Emily Linden. For the two, the generosity behind sharing stories on Wattpad is the key to growth. It’s the small acts that can make a big difference.

In some cases, a popular writer adding a story to a reading list is all it takes to propel that story into the public eye. Jeanne recounts meeting Wattpadder Alex Karola at an event hosted by influencers in the community. According to Alex, Wattpad Star Lindsey Summers felt the need to share her story that examines the complex issue of bulimia. The simple act of sharing When You Fall connected Alex to a passionate community that flooded her story with touching comments and messages of support. The event would change Alex’s course in life inspiring a path toward a master’s degree scholarship to further a career in education.

It’s now Alex’s mission to reveal the power of narratives as a tool to deal with disorders.

Stories like this inspire the vision that drives both teams. “We get to help people be heard, find their audience, and go on to achieve amazing things both on and off of Wattpad,” says Melissa.

Many people in the Wattpad community have shared their own stories of personal development achieved in part through the power of Wattpad stories. To some, Wattpad is a safe space. To others, it’s a way to meet new friends and develop as a storyteller.

Melissa and Jeanne understand the appeal of Wattpad stories is their power to change lives. As more audiences and storytellers join Wattpad’s global community, new voices and diverse points of view will continue connect people on a global level. The generosity of storytellers is a pivotal factor that will shape the future of the Wattpad community.

Can you be a part of that movement?

Meet The Wattpad Stars: Rachel Meinke

Today’s featured Wattpad Star is Rachel Meinke. In 2011, Rachel joined Wattpad on the hunt for free stories. After about a month, she gained the courage to post some stories of her own. Rachel believes that social media has taken writing to a new level by allowing anyone to share their work instantly. Her active imagination and knack for audience engagement have led to 28 stories accumulating almost a 250 million reads and 5 million votes on Wattpad!

She offers up this advice to people who want to build their audience on Wattpad: “Tag your stories appropriately, make sure you take full advantage of that feature. [Also] be active in the clubs, interact with other readers and writers to put yourself out there. Don't spam people to read your story. Instead, make friends and be genuine. That's what's going to get you somewhere.”

That genuine connection between storyteller and audience is often the factor that sets Wattpad Stars apart. “Remember why you write in the first place. Don't do it for the fame and the attention. Do it because it's your passion, because it's what you love to do.”

Today, Rachel is commissioned by major international brands like Mondelez and Lenovo to write Brand Stories. With Mondelez, Rachel created stories to promote the Sour Patch Kids’ playful identity on Valentine’s Day and Halloween.

“Getting asked to work on these projects really means a lot to me as a writer because it means that these companies trust me to represent their brand,” says Rachel about her work with brands on Wattpad. “They've all been such pleasant experiences!”

Though all these experiences on Wattpad have been life changing, Rachel’s love for reading remains strong as ever. She still makes the time to check out new stories and is currently reading Paper Cuts and Bad Boy Bakers on Wattpad.

Stay tuned for more installments of Meet The Wattpad Stars!