wattpad launches publishing imprint!
Frequently asked questions about wattpad books
(and answers from one of the authors)
Have you heard the news?! Wattpad has just launched its own publishing imprint – Wattpad Books! And one of its first six titles to be released in Fall 2019 is my Supernatural Teen Romance, Cupid’s Match!
In this post I’m going to tell you a little bit more about Wattpad Books and try to answer some of the questions I’ve been seeing floating around about the new imprint and what it means for authors.
What is Wattpad?
For anyone unfamiliar with Wattpad, it’s a social storytelling platform where over 70 million users log in each month to read the 500 million + stories that are serially published there.
With over half a billion stories at its fingertips - and all the data that comes with those stories – Wattpad has already been making some inroads in the Entertainment and Publishing Industries. It has formed partnerships and sold content (almost 1000 books, tv series, and digital projects to date) to some real industry giants like Sony Television, CW Seed, SYFY, Hachette, Macmillan, and Hulu, to name a few.
With Wattpad’s growing rate of success in the industry – it came as no surprise to me when Wattpad told me about the upcoming launch of Wattpad Books. It seemed the logical next step to start publishing physical books themselves, rather than taking a cut of deals with other US publishing houses.
And when they told me that they wanted Cupid’s Match to be one of their first six titles – launched in Fall - I was very excited about the prospect!
I’d already been working on a business level with Wattpad for the past couple of years; on my behalf they have already sold three of my cupid books to two different foreign rights publishers, a digital pilot to CW Seed, an Audiobook to Hachette, I have an option agreement in place with them for TV and film rights, and I’m part of their Futures (advertising), and Stars (social influencer) programs. For me, Wattpad has always been the home for Cupid’s Match! So, I was happy to work with them again in bringing a published copy of Cupid’s Match to the US!
With it being a new imprint – I initially had a few questions. And from looking around Wattpad forums I’m seeing Wattpadders with some questions too. So here are some of the questions I’m seeing the most – and the answers!
Note: I do not work for Wattpad - these are my opinions and based on my experience only.
Do Wattpad Books pay their authors advances?
Yes! I saw an article where Ashleigh Gardner, publishing director, was quoted as saying the advances and royalties were inline with industry standards. From my experience that is correct.
Will the books be professionally edited, or just printed straight from Wattpad?
They will be edited! Properly! Heavily! God, if the Wattpad first draft of Cupid’s Match made its way into a bookstore I’d probably die of embarrassment!
Wattpad know that most authors post drafts on their platform. They also know they need to put out real, good quality books, that will compete with the marketplace. As such, they are investing in making sure the books they publish are up to par.
The Wattpad Books authors have been assigned external editors, and we’re going through editing processes just the same way as we would be if we were with a big 5 publisher (I’m actually working with someone who used to work as an editor at Penguin Random House, and she’s amazing)!
Will the titles Wattpad Books publish remain on Wattpad?
Yes. I’ve seen people speculate over whether or not this is a good idea – will people buy content if it’s available for free elsewhere?
I personally think it’s a good idea. Certainly, I think it makes sense for my book and my audience. And not only because the end product will be different to the Wattpad version.
For the Wattpadders who wouldn’t have bought the book anyway – I’m going to keep them happy by not pulling the story they love, and they’re still able to support me in other ways. I'm also able to build on my engagement data for the story (reads, votes, comments, etc.) – which helps Wattpad sell it to other partners.
For the Wattpadders who want the physical edited version (and we know Gen Z prefer physical over digital books) – the book remaining on Wattpad isn’t going to change that. Plus I get to keep my main channel of communication with them open.
And for non-Wattpadders – I don’t think it makes any difference!
EDIT: I believe going forward Wattpad will be putting the published titles into their Paid Stories program
Will Wattpad Books be in bookstores?
Yes! Wattpad Books titles will be available across leading North American retailers. Wattpad are working with Macmillan as their official sales distribution partner in the US, and Raincoast Books in Canada.
Will only ‘Wattpad popular’ books be published?
It probably depends what you class as ‘Wattpad popular’ but ultimately no. They’re using data to help them discover content, but it won’t just be books with millions and millions of reads (in fact, from the initial list of six – one of the books has 400k reads – still a lot, but not hundreds of millions). A book having millions and millions of reads isn’t necessarily an indicator that a book will thrive outside of Wattpad.
Wattpad have access to a LOT of meaningful data surrounding engagement - not just read counts – and that will help them discover books.(Wattpad success story White Stag, for example, was initially discovered because of the relatively high time that Wattpadders were spending reading the book compared to similar titles within the genre).
Wattpad will also be looking editorially at the stories in the same way a publishing house usually would. And in addition to this - they’ve also said that they’re taking an intersectional approach – so that their selection will reflect the diversity of the community.
This mixture of data science and an editorial eye is not new to Wattpad when it comes to discovering stories. They did this to judge their Watty Awards last year, and if you look at the winners it’s a pretty diverse list with varying read counts.
Ultimately, though, like the rest of the publishing industry, they’re going to pick titles they think they can sell. If a book has an audience, it’s a good story, and it seems like it will have commercial success then that’s probably going to help!
Will Wattpad only be publishing Romance?
Nope. Romance is the biggest genre (except for Fanfiction) on Wattpad. But they won’t only be publishing Romance. This can be confirmed by checking out the initial list of books!
Will Wattpad only be publishing YA titles?
To start with they’re sticking with YA. It makes the most sense. That’s their biggest audience on the platform, they have a huge YA catalogue on the site (I’ve seen it called the biggest in the world), they’ve been selling YA content for a while to their industry partners, and YA is what they have the biggest understanding of.
They’ve said that as they grow, though, they will expand.
If we post on Wattpad – can Wattpad Books publish our work without our consent?
No! Definitely not! Your rights belong to you. What they can do is approach you and offer you a deal for your book. Which you can choose to accept, or not!
(General word of advice for writers– it’s always a good idea to get a lawyer to look over any legal contracts you are sent by anyone).
Can we submit our book to Wattpad Books?
No. But if your book is on Wattpad, it’s there for their consideration. They’ve said that when they release information on the Watty Awards 2019 in June, they’ll be sharing some upcoming opportunities to increase a books visibility for Wattpad Books.
Any more questions?
I think these are all the points I’ve seen come up the most. But please let me know if you have any other questions!
I’m really excited about the launch and growth of Wattpad Books. I think there’s something quite appealing about working on a story on Wattpad and knowing that it could potentially catch the eye of Wattpad’s publishing branch if they think it has potential.
For anyone who writes on Wattpad and is looking to increase their audience (and therefore their engagement data!) I have a book of Wattpad tips on my profile here.
Let me know your questions and thoughts in the comments below!
LAUREN PALPHREYMAN is an author based in London. She is best known for her supernatural teen romance series, Cupid's Match, which has accumulated over 40 million reads online, was made into a pilot for CW Seed, and will be published by Wattpad Books (Oct,2019). Find her on Instagram @LaurenPalphreyman and on Twitter @LEPalphreyman. You can read first drafts of her books for free on Wattpad.