Congratulations to the 2016 Watty Award Winners

The Wattys set record engagement with 140,000 entries and 13 billion minutes spent

Wattpad has hosted The Wattys since 2010, and today it is the world’s largest online writing contest. With a whopping 140,000 entries submitted, the 2016 edition of The Wattys has smashed engagement records and almost doubled the number of submissions compared to last year.

This year, Wattpad accepted submissions in more languages than ever and brought on a regional sponsor in the Philippines through fastfood giant Jollibee. New categories like Trailblazer and Visual Storytelling also spurred unique creativity on Wattpad.

Winners of these categories include comics like The Free Willies and screenplays like The Other Worlders. Today, you can check out all the winners of this massive global celebration.

“The Watty’s is a writing contest like no other. It’s a chance for storytellers of all levels to get recognition from a global audience,” said Marc. “The Wattpad community is obsessed with the annual competition and has spent 13 billion minutes reading and engaging with this year’s submissions.”

Thanks to the Wattpad community and the behind the scenes hustle of multiple teams at Wattpad, a new batch of Watty award winning stories are ready to enjoy across multiple languages.

Please join us in congratulating the 2016 Watty Award winners by checking out their stories here!

Meet the Wattpad Stars: Elizabeth Seibert

You probably know Wattpad Star Elizabeth Seibert by her alter-ego, @JoeCool123. The two-time Watty Award winning storyteller hit one million reads within ten chapters of her viral hit The Bro Code and scored her second Watty Award in 2015 for No Capes. Here’s what she has to say about that experience:

“I remember when [The Bro Code] first took off, and I started to be ranked on the ‘hot humor list.’…I couldn’t believe how much people seemed to enjoy this story. Later that year, The Bro Code won a Watty Award and I felt like I’d exhausted the scope of Wattpad. Then I wrote No Capes, my most recent work, and I realized how much I could connect with the Wattpad community over a story.”

No Capes went on to claim The Wattys Talk of The Town award, an award that’s given to stories that spark the most engagement in the comments section. Each time she posted a chapter, readers would comment about how they looked forward to reading the next part, or discuss what they thought was going to happen.

Her ability to spark conversations within the Wattpad community got Elizabeth noticed and scored her a spot in The Wattpad Stars program. In her studio apartment in Washington D.C., Elizabeth was both confused and excited by the news: “I showed the program description to my dad and asked him what it really was. Together, we figured out that there really was no ‘catch,’ Wattpad just wanted to give some success back to its authors and provide awesome opportunities. That felt awesome, and I felt really proud to be in the program. It added to the feeling of being a ‘real’ writer”

Since then, Elizabeth has written for some of the world’s top brands including Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, and Lenovo. She’s also a featured writer in an anthology of fanfiction produced by Wattpad and Simon & Schuster called Imagines: Celebrity Encounters Starring You.

In the future, Elizabeth hopes to work with Wattpad Studios to see one of her works adapted for the screen. She’s currently reading Sterile Skies on Wattpad and working on a new story inspired by her work with Lenovo called Infamous.

For new writers on Wattpad, Elizabeth has this to say: ”I recommend setting aside a specific time each day to write, and really make a habit of it. Also read. Read books that interest you and see how the writers accomplish what they do.”

She also advocates for the use of social media to understand your audience, “Social media is a win-win for writers and their audiences. It’s a way for writers to connect their work to an audience, but it’s also a way for an audience to learn more about who a writer is. I think that’s especially important given the online nature of Wattpad. This whole author-thing went a lot further than I ever imagined (And that’s saying a lot because I have a pretty big imagination!) Thank you to anyone who’s ever read or commented on one of my chapters, it really does mean so much. ”

Stay tuned for more installments of Meet The Wattpad Stars. If you’re a brand looking work with these Stars or an entertainment studio hoping to partner with Wattpad Studios to find your next hit story, get in touch!

#TNTHorrorContest Launches on Wattpad

With Halloween drawing near, Turner, the global content leader, and Wattpad are teaming up to find the scariest stories online with the #TNTHorrorContest. At least one lucky horror writer will win a grand prize of $20,000 and have his/her story purchased by the network. In addition, 10 finalists will each receive $2,000 and have their stories optioned.

The #TNTHorrorContest opens today, Friday, October 28, and runs until November 27.  In order to submit frightful stories, writers must share their original horror stories on Wattpad and tag it with #TNTHorrorContest. Writers can enter multiple stories for consideration and each story must be between 1,000 and 10,000 words. The contest is open to U.S. residents who are 18 years of age and older.

Once the contest closes, submissions will be voted on by the Wattpad community. The top 35 stories determined by public voting will be further narrowed down to a short-list of 10 stories that will be announced in December.

“The Wattpad community loves scary stories: Fans have shared millions of original horror stories and have spent over 26 million minutes with horror-related content in the last 30 days. That’s the equivalent of over 50 years,” said Head of Wattpad Studios Aron Levitz. “With this contest, horror writers have a chance to see their stories come to life, and Turner discovers content that’s guaranteed to give their audiences the chills.”

Full contest details are posted on the official TNT profile on Wattpad.

ZAYN Shares Exclusive Content on Wattpad

Today, global superstar ZAYN is giving Wattpad’s community an exclusive sneak peek of his first autobiography self-titled Zayn prior to the official book release on November 1. ZAYN’s profile on Wattpad features exclusive excerpts, including ZAYN’s thoughts on fan culture, fandom, and images. Wattpad is the only place fans can get this content ahead of the book release!

Wattpad is where people connect over the things they love. ZAYN is adored by many of Wattpad’s 45 million users – collectively they’ve already shared 190,000 stories inspired by him and his music. They’ve also spent almost 17 million minutes spent reading Zayn fanfiction stories since January 2015.

Now, his biggest fans have a chance to read some of his thoughts and inspiration on Wattpad ahead of the book release. In Zayn, the musician shares a photographic journey of his life. He opens up with a collection of thoughts, inspirations, personal stories, notes and drawings, and never-before-seen personal photographs.

The international sensation has this to say about his autobiography: “I’m going to show you as much as I can so that you can judge me on my own terms, not on what the press or anyone else says.”

ZAYN is among the many famed artists turning to Wattpad to provide content for fans. Stars like Amy Poehler, Tyler Oakley and Grace Helbig have provided stories, video content and exclusive material for the global community.

Zayn by ZAYN will be published in hardback on November 1st. Pre-order your copy, here.

Meet the Wattpad Stars: Kelly Anne Blount

Photo of Kelly Anne BlountWe’re featuring some of the best horror writers on Wattpad to get you ready for Halloween! Today’s interview is with scream queen Kelly Anne Blount. Kelly joined Wattpad in 2014 thanks to fellow Wattpad Star April Baker.

“I never thought I would write horror [or] dark thriller books, but Apryl Baker inspired me to give Wattpad a try and write something new. My something new was Captured, a [young-adult] horror/thriller novel.”

Since then, Kelly’s breakout work Captured has gained 13 million  reads on Wattpad and is  available in print through Loewe Publishing House. Captured and Kelly’s follow-up Under have also been optioned for film.

In other words, Kelly’s time on Wattpad has been in itself quite thrilling. Here are her biggest tips for delivering scares and giving readers goosebumps:

Incorporate sensory details into your writing: You want your readers to feel like they are really there in the scene with your characters

Play on your deepest fears: Your fears will add authenticity to your writing

Read horror and dark thriller novels: Study writing techniques from your favourite authors and incorporate these techniques into your writing

Tension is everything: Don’t just go for the kill right away. Play with the scene and leave your readers wanting more!

While Kelly recommends reading horror to hone your craft, horror films are the last thing on her to-watch list: “Here’s a bombshell, I really struggle to watch scary movies! I can count the number of horror films I’ve watched over the past 10 years on one or two hands…People find it funny that I struggle to watch horror movies or read scary books, yet I write horror and dark thriller novels. I have come to the conclusion, thanks to the wisdom of friends and fans, that when I’m in control, I’m okay with writing terrifying content.”

When asked why she thought people were drawn to the horror thriller genre, Kelly had this to say: “I think everyone has a dark side and reading horror [or] thriller books allows them to explore that nefarious part of their mind. I [also] find that writing about terrifying events which could happen in real life tend to scare my readers the most.”

Kelly is currently reading Silence by fellow thriller writer Natasha Preston. You can follow her on Wattpad @kellyanneblount and purchase her works on Amazon, here.

Supernatural Season 12 Premiere Spikes Fan Engagement on Wattpad

Supernatural is one of the most beloved shows and active fandoms on the internet. To celebrate today’s return of the Winchesters and Supernatural Season 12, we looked into how big the fandom has become on Wattpad.

Since January, people have spent over 123 million minutes reading Supernatural-related stories. That’s enough time to watch the entire series over 10,000 times!

On Wattpad, people connect around the things they love. When a season ends, fans seek out fanfiction, story-art, and like-minded communities to extend their experience. When season 11 of Supernatural ended on May 25th, 2016, reading time for Supernatural-related stories rose by 14% in just a week.

We’ve also noted reading time spikes around announcements for other popular fandoms like Game of Thrones in the Wattpad community, Supernatural is no exception. After actors Jared Padalecki and Jen Ackels dropped this Season 12 spoiler reading time spiked by over 57% the next week.

To find our why the Supernatural community on Wattpad is so active, we checked in with expert and Wattpad Star, Annie Lange:

“When you first find yourself part of an enormous fandom like Supernatural, you might think it would be hard to make friends or get noticed. Not true! I’ve been in a LOT of fandoms – from The X-Files to Marvel – and nothing has ever come close to the easy camaraderie I’ve found with my fellow Supernatural fans,” said Annie.” Without fail they have shown themselves to be passionate, caring, and supportive to a fault. There’s a wildly diverse population of readers and writers too, so whatever your taste or preference, there’s a story out there for you. And if there’s not? Write it! Readers will come. There is literally no better fandom.”

With Season 12 of Supernatural starting today, fans of the series are undoubtedly excited. If after tonight’s episode you can’t wait to find out what happens next, you can immerse yourself in over half a million Supernatural tagged stories on Wattpad.

If you are are a journalist and want to find out more about the world of Supernatural and fandom on Wattpad, or request data and insights for you next feature article, get in touch!

Ten Wattpad Writers Get Their Fairy Tale Ending

Ten Wattpad writers had their publishing dreams come true today with the release of Once Upon Now, an anthology of remixed fairy tales. The book is an exclusive collection of ten new modern tales, each with a fantastical twist. Once Upon Now is on sale now in Target stores and online.

Once Upon Now Cover

The stories are written by winners of the #OnceUponNow contest hosted by Target, in partnership with Wattpad and Gallery Books. In the anthology, Rapunzel is homeschooled in a high-rise apartment, and Sleeping Beauty is the victim of a rare medical syndrome. Classic tales like Princess & the Pea, Pinocchio, and other favorites are reimagined in the book.

Once Upon Now features the work of some of the most beloved Wattpad writers, including:

To celebrate the release, we’re giving away five copies of Once Upon Now signed by the authors. To enter, follow us on Snap and share a photo of you dressed up as your favorite fairy tale character. Full contest details will be available on Snapchat.

Wattpad's Snapchat QR Code

The #OnceUponNow contest launched in the spring and quickly became one of the most popular contests on Wattpad. The Wattpad community voted on their favorites remixed tales, and then a team of editors at Gallery Books curated 10 of the most inventive and popular stories for the published book.

#SurviveTheCabin: Interview with New York Times Bestseller Natasha Preston

“For months, Summer is trapped in a cellar with the man who took her – and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect, pure flowers. His family.

But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out…”

This chilling description for The Cellar was posted to Wattpad by Natasha Preston in 2010. Since then, Natasha has sold over 240,000 copies of the print edition to get The Cellar on New York Times bestseller list. She’s even published a sequel titled The Cabin.

As part of our Halloween interview series, we connected with Natasha to get her thoughts on the greatest fear for new writers, getting started:

“At first, I had no intention of writing but after about two months I decided to give it a try,” says Natasha of her start on Wattpad. “When I started writing The Cellar I had no idea where it would go other than a pretty vague outline of the plot. I wrote a chapter and uploaded it as soon as it was finished. Each time a notification came through from Wattpad I would rush to see what my readers had said about the chapter.”

As engagement on her story increased, what started as a part-time hobby grew into a career. Today, fans of The Cellar’s print edition  still engage with the story on Wattpad. “I’ve noticed that since The Cellar was published I’ve had quite a few people coming to read the first draft version to see what changes I’d made.”

Natasha’s follow-up work The Cabin was inspired by Wattpad’s monthly #JustWriteIt challenge, a monthly prompt that encourages writers to hone their skills across a variety of genres. “The Cabin was written specifically for Wattpad’s Whodunit prompt! It was originally called Covert. My editor at Sourcebooks and I went through many rewrites and edits to shape it into the version published today.”

While trying your hand at a challenge like Wattpad’s #JustWriteIt may seem scary, Natasha advises that people just take the leap: “[Just] do it! If I hadn’t found Wattpad I would probably still be working a part-time admin job, unaware that there is a career I want. One thing I’ve learned is that there’s a book out there for everyone. If you’re worried that no one will like your work, I assure you someone will.”

We couldn’t agree more. Horror on Wattpad spans everything from creature features to technothrillers. And don’t forget, scary stories are always better with an audience. It’s why writing on Wattpad makes a difference. “I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Wattpad for being awesome…and finally a MASSIVE thank you to every person who has read, voted, or commented on my work on Wattpad.”

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 is one of three 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.