Wattpad: from a free e-book app to a real social network

Wattpad: from a free e-book app to a real social network

"I did it instinctively and succeeded." "It all started just for fun." These are the two sentences of the writers Anna Todd and Cristina Chiperi, which, through two successful love stories, have managed to win over thousands of readers.

The two have accomplished their greatest dream: to publish a book.

There are different emotions that unite them, but surely they would never have imagined that this opportunity would have been brought about by the most widespread book platform: Wattpad.

What is Wattpad

Wattpad began as a simple free online e-book website, which allows amateur writers to publish their own stories and avid readers to enter a world of imagination through a cell phone.

The intention to bring everyone closer to reading in for free, however, has recently been undermined by the presence of "coins" used to purchase a very small number of books.

Populated by youth, Wattpad mainly attracts young women, where as many as 85% of users are looking for love stories. If before the advent of technology, the girls used to daydream in the pages of the famous series Harmony, today they may get love stories for free through a cell phone.

Youth are attracted not only by the free service (unless until a few months ago), but also by the possibility of allowing their mind to travel in a wide world. In fact, even if the love stories turn out to be the most popular, Wattpad does not limit itself to this genre and it lists the stories in as many as 23 main categories, without considering that, with the use of simple hashtags, each user can search for the right story. It goes without saying that you can find the libertine category too, even younger readers, although “protected” by the warning "content for adults."

The platform is considered a revolution for commercial publishers. At this point, there are very few writers who send manuscripts to publishing houses. The latter, in fact, search for potential authors on Wattpad and with them, find potential earnings.

The story of Anna Todd: a success by chance

Anna Todd was the first emerging writer of the site, contacted by Sperling & Kupfer, an Italian publishing house, for the printing of her story. Todd, born in 1989, lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband.

During the various missions of her husband in Iraq, she performed many odd jobs, from selling make-up to customer support. Anna Todd has always been a voracious reader and, thanks to this passion, she encountered the world of Wattpad. In fact, she explained:

"I started reading on Instagram, and then the girl I was following moved to Wattpad where I read her and other stories for 4 months until I said to myself:" Why don't I do it myself? I didn't start going on Wattpad because I wanted to write. I did it instinctively and I succeeded. "

And so it was that Todd saw her dream of publishing a book, After, a fanfiction story about One Direction. The writer's pen tells the story of a sweet girl named Tessa and Hardin (physically inspired by Harry Styles), a bad boy with the charm of dark features. The romance novel soon became a series consisting of six books and a movie, released in theaters last April.

A little inventiveness, a common story, but told in a simple and direct way. The real secret that emerges from the Todd’s success lies in the possibility allowed by Wattpad to have a close contact with her readers. The continuous flow of her story came from the advice of many readers. In fact, at one of her interviews, she said:

"If I sense that something does not please my readers, then I adjust the shot a bit. For example, if some readers feel sorry for a character then maybe I change the story. If I see that there is no reaction on their part about something that I would like to try, I insist on that thing. "

The story of Cristina Chiperi

The charismatic Cristina Chiperi, a young student who, at just 16 years old, began playing around with the idea of her novel, My dilemma is you, a trilogy to date, which has a similar relationship with Wattpad users. "I have been writing since I was 8 years old, and I found Wattpad in second grade, through the assistance of my classmates," says the young woman in the video in which she tells her story . She also debuted with a romantic fanfiction. Cameron Dallas is the face that inspired her to create the bad boy of the story, namely Cameron, who soon will fall in love with the sweet and stubborn Christina.

Inventiveness certainly is a difficult element to exploit and perhaps in this magical world of narrative, stories similar to each other attract readers. Certainly, it was the case. If, in fact, the two novels have been widely criticized for misspellings and their boring language, it was the potential economic gains promised by their huge number of followers that drove the publishers.

If the love stories are made with the stencil, the true and well written ones can be counted on one hand. But cannot we find out out there hidden stories of depth, with a style of writing and a creativity that amuses the mind?

Wattpad: what future?

The novelty here is the close contact between writer and reader that Wattpad promotes. What better way to develop your writing? We may say that Watpadd has actually become a social media, since it allows you to exchange ideas and thoughts, enriched by the possibility of having everything we find in a social network: a personal profile, a board to share one’s emotions, a list of favorite books, and above all a board to interact with your followers.

In short, Wattpad is not just a place where "stories come to life," but it has become a world that has embraced a category of individuals that are ever more endangered species. Many will feel the nostalgia of the book club, others will hate word of mouth that favors stories of questionable grammar, others will still pursue their dream of becoming writers, but everyone will recognize in Wattpad a real happening in the publishing world and a revolutionary social network. We hope it does not end up swallowed by web giants or distorted by excessive profit anxiety once it has established itself on the net.