Last week, popular online publishing site Wattpad announced its entry into the world of physical books. The new publishing imprint, Wattpad Books, already has its starting lineup of new releases: six YA novels across popular genres, a decision which officials believe should appeal to the site’s Millenial and Gen-Z reader base. Despite the stigma surrounding self-publishing, these stories have had mass market appeal. Cupid’s Match by Lauren Palphreyman, the most popular story among these picks, has racked up over 40 million reads during its time on the site.
But the selection process for these books is more than just a numbers game—it’s more like a numbers science. Going forward, Wattpad will use new artificial intelligence technology to help ensure the success of its publications.
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Don’t misread this information—robots will not be deciding what art is. Instead, Wattpad’s Story DNA Machine Learning Technology, an AI program, will analyze Wattpad’s content for insights into certain stories’ successes. While other programs might analyze the number of comments and shares a story has earned, the AI breaks a story down to its most elemental features: grammar, diction, and sentence structure. From there, the AI will compare each story not only to works published on Wattpad, but also to books in the public domain. And, Wattpad representative Ashleigh Gardner stresses, “our human content and editorial experts are just as important.”
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The website has long been popular for its accessibility. While traditional publishing has not always addressed diverse stories and difficult topics the way it’s working towards today, online publishing subverts outdated (if often unspoken) rules about what sells. Wattpad will continue to choose its stories based on what appeals to its readers—in particular, LGBT+ content, strong women, and thoughtful depictions of mental illness. The AI technology won’t change this truth: the stories that appeal to a diverse body of readers are so often their own.
If you’ve never been on Wattpad before, Wattpad is essentially a free story sharing site where writers have the opportunity to write their stories and publish them on the site for others to read. Since 2006, the site has hosted millions of stories from people all over the world. With on average one thousand visits to each work, it is no wonder Wattpad has decided to extend their generosity to its users.
Every year since 2010, Wattpad holds The Watty Awards. One of the awards that is given to a writer of each genre includes the potential opportunity to sign a shopping agreement with Wattpad Studios for their story to be shown to entertainment and publishing partners.
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Over the years Wattpad has helped several writers achieve their dreams of traditional publication i.e: through a publishing house. Key examples include novels like The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles which has been published and most recently made into a Netflix film, Captive by Gabrielle Estres, and Nothing Left to Lose by Kristy Moseley. Goodreads also has a section called “Published Books from Wattpad”.
While Wattpad has helped many people write their stories and publish them, they are offering a new service coming sometime in the new year. Although the official date has not been announced and the process is still in the Beta stages, they have already done test runs on this new project to which selected writers have already gained up to $1,000-$2,000 a month in just writing and updating their stories alone.
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The way it works is much like YouTube, with ads. When you finish a chapter or every other chapter you are momentarily interrupted by a short ad. If you are a premium member the ads will no longer be able to interrupt your precious reading time, but nonetheless writers will still get a cut of the profits made. They are sent their income via PayPal at the end of each month and depending on how many people visited their story and how long they lasted on the ad itself before skipping determines how much they will make for the month.
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With Wattpad helping writers achieve their goals of being published authors, it might very well be a different route that people might consider. Getting published the traditional way is no mean feat, and making money once you’re published is not even guaranteed! So this is definitely great news for aspiring writers!
Wattpad is the perfect website for avid readers and writers as it is a self-publishing site that gives writers a platform, while always giving readers free and new material to read. Its growing popularity over the years has even caught production company’s eyes, as some stories have received movie deals. Ali Novak’s My Life With the Walter Boys has just been optioned by Komixx Entertainment.
Komixx Entertainment is a London-based film and TV production company that is known for optioning books from Wattpad. They have previously optioned books from like Captured by bestselling author Kelly Anne Blount, and The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles. The Kissing Booth is currently in post-production and will be released on Netflix.
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Ali Novak’s My Life With the Walter Boys has been read more than 67 million times on Wattpad alone. The YA novel was originally self-published when Novak was just fifteen-years-old, and later published in print by Sourcebooks. You can even get it on Amazon today.
The story follows Jackie Howard, a prim and proper NYC resident who lives life by the book. When her family dies in a freak accident, she is forced to move to Colorado to live with her new guardian’s, the Walters, who have eleven boys. Jackie wants to keep her parents’ lessons alive by trying to be perfect every day, but she also wants to prove to the Walter boys that she can be fun and care-free just like them. And no YA novel is complete without a love story that will show Jackie who she really is at heart.
Stay tuned for more coverage of of the upcoming My Life With the Walter Boys adaptation. In the meantime, who would you like to see star?