Hot Summer News from Wattpad HQ

Summer is in the air and things are starting to heat up for Wattpad in the news. With all the buzz around Wattpad Studios becoming a Hollywood idea factory, you may have missed some of the other articles on Wattpad and the Wattpad Stars. We put together this roundup to keep you in the loop.

Last month, the prolific Anna Todd set down in Germany to promote her series, After. The turnout was astounding! Check out her rockstar reception, here. Meanwhile, Taran Matharu, Wattpad writer and published author, sat down for an interview with The Guardian to talk about his career and dish out some advice for new writers.

YouTube celebrity, Grace Helbig is also someone who loves to work with new writers. At this year’s VidCon, she spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her Wattpad project, Freak Week. The contest gave Wattpadders the opportunity to create an original story with her through the #WritingWithGrace story tag. Over the course of the campaign, Grace selected her favourites chapters to create a crowdsourced, original fiction. You can read the story, here, and check out a live reading of the work at VidCon, here.

Speaking of celebrities, it’s possible that no one keeps up with the Kardashians better than Wattpad Star Kevin Fanning. In this podcast, produced by Elizabeth Minkel, Kevin chats about fanfiction, branded content, and, of course, Kim K!

If that podcast put you in the mood for some wild reads, check out this list of the craziest One Direction fan fiction of all time by Refinery29.

We hope that you enjoyed this news roundup. Journalists who’d like to receive regular updates or work with our team on their next feature article can get in touch, here!

En Unión y Libertad: Wattpad Celebrates 200 Years of Argentinian Independence

On July 9th, Argentina will celebrate 200 years of independence. The milestone event will spur celebrations across the country and ignite the community of storytellers that visit Wattpad from across Argentina.

People in Argentina have shared over two and a half million story uploads on Wattpad. They also spent approximately 165 million minutes on Wattpad last month alone!

Here’s what our Wattpad Ambassador, Natalia Alejandra, has to say about the milestone event and Argentinian community on Wattpad: “Argentina won its independence 200 years ago. This is a great reason to celebrate, but I feel we still have a long way to go to earn our place in the world…I can say the Argentine community in Wattpad is a very committed and talented one. A great majority of the Spanish ambassadors are from this country, and a lot of great authors as well. We like to participate and we love to meet up!”

There have already been six meet-ups in Argentina since the first one in January, 2015. In fact, Argentina was the first Spanish country to host a Wattpad meet-up.

“There’s a lot in our culture influencing how we live in communities,” says Natalia, “We have the mate, and the Sunday asado. We tend to always have a reason to gather in large groups to celebrate, or to do whatever…I think over time our community is just going to get bigger and stronger.”

People in Argentina share a variety of stories on Wattpad in a multitude of categories. Facundo Caivano joined Wattpad two years ago. Since then, his epic thriller Z: El Senor De Los Zombies has received almost two and a half million reads.

Other Wattpad Ambassadors like Nadin Velazquez and Annsyn Rodd have been invaluable members of our community. Thanks to people like them, the Argentinian community on Wattpad has become one of the largest and most active on the platform.

For the people who are out in the streets of Argentina, celebrating 200 years of independence, congratulations and we wish you all the best. The memories and stories shared over that grand expanse of time (and in the future) will always have a home on Wattpad.

Wattpad Interviews 2015 Watty Award Winner Ekene Ugbaja

The Wattys are back and bigger than ever. To get you ready for this year’s edition, we interviewed 2015 Watty Award winner, Ekene Ugbaja, and got his thoughts on writing, The Wattys, and being part of the Wattpad community.

Ekene is a Nigerian born writer and student who’s currently based  in London, England. His Watty award winning story, The 4th Estate, is a psychedelic thriller filled with gritty themes and dark undertones. To-date, it’s received over  50,000 reads on Wattpad.

Since joining Wattpad in 2014, Ekene has found a passion for writing, but this was not always the case. It took a run-in with a teacher to show him that his writing might be something audiences were after. “I had a teacher when I was doing GCSE that basically didn’t like me, thought I was noisy and disruptive…she saw me writing some stuff up and it wasn’t the class work, so she thinks that I’m sending notes and forces me to read out to the class.”

What happened next would inspire Ekene and put him on the road to becoming a Watty award winner and Wattpad featured writer. “The class didn’t take the mick, in fact, they kind of liked it. It was an awakening of sorts, and I just liked to write from there and that led some friend that I used to have to tell me that I should write on this thing called ‘Wattpad’.”

Ekene took that advice and decided to upload the The 4th Estate to Wattpad. “In a year I got incredible stats on the book, a Watty award and a great following. It felt great. At its core, it meant that as a writer I’ve got a chance and really that’s all a writer could possibly want. At the end of the day, it was a humbling feeling for me because I was just that lucky to win out of thousands. To be honest, competitions like that really help to bring out those that truly work for it.”

To new entrants, Ekene offers this advice: “It’s all down to your dedication to your craft and ability to just have simple communication skills. Don’t be afraid to personalise your queries. Quirkiness isn’t a bad thing…really that’s your main selling point, your weapon.”

That appreciation for the things that make us unique is what keeps Ekene engaged in the Wattpad community. He’s a supporter of the group Perfectly Imperfect on Wattpad and cofounder of Lemon Haze, an incubator for young writers.

With Lemon Haze, Ekene hopes to pay-forward his success and help new voices find their audience. “ It seems a little cliché but at the end of the day I just want to help other people. If connecting writers with great potential to a steady slew of reviewers and pointing out some great designers is the way that I can do that, I’ll do that.”

For many in the Wattpad community, The Wattys is a great way to connect with like minded storytellers and passionate fans. Ekene’s final thoughts on the Wattys echo our feelings: “Wattpad HQ has really done their users a big service with the creation of the Watty Awards and it’s only going to get better.”

We can’t wait to see what this year’s Wattys brings. If you’d like to participate in this year’s Wattys for a chance to have your story recognized by the global Wattpad community, check out our contest page – here.

Stay tuned for more interviews with Watty award winners. If you’re a media outlet that would like to learn more about the Wattys or connect with a Watty award winner, get in touch!

Meet the Wattpad Stars: Zoe Aarsen

alexandra_fletcher_720When 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!

Wattpad Celebrates Pride Month

It’s been a year since Wattpad launched the official LGBTQ+ profile in celebration of World Pride Month. Since then, over 5 million stories tagged with LGBTQ+ have been shared by the passionate community. People have also spent almost five billion minutes reading LGBTQ+ stories since January of this year.

In Toronto, this month’s pride celebrations culminate with the 36th annual Pride Parade on Sunday, July 3. It’s also the first time in the history of Canada that an acting Prime Minister will participate in the Pride Parade.

It’s an important milestone and a great moment for Canada. As a Toronto startup with deep Canadian roots, it’s also another reason to celebrate the unique voices and diverse content that add to the thousands of stories shared on Wattpad daily!

Wattpad fosters supportive and unique communities like FreeTheLGBT. Started in 2014 by @JustLyd (a Wattpad Star and ambassador), it was originally dubbed “TayGetsTheGay” and has since blossomed into a source for inspiring content and a forum for like-minded people. You can read @Justlyd’s full story, here.

As the rainbow flags wave around the streets of Toronto, it’s hard not to reflect on the work we’ve done over the past year to become one of the safest spaces for LGBTQ+ communities to connect online.

By hosting contests, selecting a story every month, celebrating community member milestones, and highlighting short stories, we help showcase the many different types of love around the world. Wattpad Star, Autum Breeze, says it best: “The LGBTQ community on Wattpad is fantastic. Generally everyone is supportive, uplifting and enthusiastic. The readers and writers are a vibrant, unique set of people from all walks of life who share a lot of fabulous stories and personal experiences.”

We hope that you’ll join us in celebrating the rich diversity, strength, and passion of the LGBTQ+ community this month.

The World’s Largest Online Writing Contest Gets Even Bigger

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In 2015, people from all over the world shared more than 75,000 entries to take part in The Wattys, Wattpad’s annual writing contest. This year, with the help of the passionate Wattpad community, we’re making the world’s largest online writing contest even bigger by accepting submissions in over 22 languages for the first time!

This global celebration ignites the Wattpad community as fans comment, vote, and search for the best stories tagged #Wattys2016. It also provides huge opportunities for participants.

“Since the launch of The Wattys in 2010, Wattpad has recognized thousands of writers and helped audiences discover some of the best works on Wattpad,” said Marc Shewchun, Wattpad’s Head of Community. “This year, we’re making the Wattys even bigger by opening up the contest to more languages than ever. We’ve also teamed up with Jollibee to offer three exclusive awards in the filipino community. Like Wattpad, The Wattys is a truly global phenomenon.”

Jollibee will sponsor three new awards in Wattpad’s third largest market. This partnership marks a milestone for Wattpad and solidifies what the company and many writers on the platform already know: Taking part in The Wattys is the best and fastest way to reach Wattpad’s monthly audience of over 45 million.

In addition to Jollibee’s regionally exclusive new award categories, Wattpad introduces two new awards for entries: Visual Storytelling and Trailblazers. The Visual Storytelling award recognizes the stunning stories told using Wattpad’s new multimedia feature. It celebrates the graphic novels, magazines, recipe and look books that are now available on Wattpad.

The second award, Trailblazers, recognizes the genre-bending skills of Wattpad writers. Winners of this award are inventive, innovative, and push their limits as modern storytellers. Trailblazers set the bar for content on Wattpad. Their stories challenge conventional writing to show us how different and diverse Wattpad stories are.

As hosts of the world’s largest online writing contest, we understand how exciting and rewarding this process can be for storytellers of all levels. For all updates and tips related to The Wattys, follow our official profile on Wattpad.

If you’d like to participate in this year’s Wattys for a chance to have your story recognized by the global Wattpad community, check out our contest page – here. You can also check out last years’ Wattys winners here.

The Mysterious World of Wattpad

On Wattpad, people love to get to the bottom of a good mystery. Since January, people have spent over 250 million minutes reading stories in Wattpad’s Mystery / Thriller category. To keep the global Wattpad community guessing, we invited 127 of Smashwords’ most riveting mystery makers to take part in #MysteryMay.

#MysteryMay uncovered some intriguing stories. After the launch of Wattpad’s official Mystery profile, our content sleuths revealed a world of sub-genres. Thanks to Wattpad’s content experts, mystery lovers can find legal thrillers, paranormal mysteries and everything in between on the profile. Those with their hands in the cookie jar may also be excited by a unique genre on Wattpad, culinary mysteries anyone?

The story doesn’t end there, though. Here’s the twist: #MysteryMay might be over, but the stories keep coming! Every month, 45 million people around the world use Wattpad to find  next favorite read. Mystery writers (and writers of any genre, for that matter), can get noticed by serializing their stories on the platform.

If you’d like to reach the people searching for a riveting mystery, we recommend adding Wattpad story tags like #mysterymay, #hard-boiled, #whodunit, and #cozymystery to your work. Unable to solve a case of writer’s block? No problem! You can follow regular writing prompts from Wattpad, here.

You never know what you’re going to find when you explore the mysterious side of Wattpad. If you’re looking for a clue to get started, however, we invite you to check out the great stories from Smashwords in mystery and detective or thriller and suspense.