Skip to content
Inside Beat

Embracing new chapters: How Wattpad helps writers find their stride in publishing industry

"My Life with the Walter Boys" is one of the newest Wattpad screen adaptations, showcasing the true influence of the platform. – Photo by @authoralinovak / Instagram

When you think of Wattpad, what comes to mind? Fanfiction from 2013 about being bought by One Direction? Original stories in a plethora of romance sub-genres? Neither of these answers is wrong — all these stories, and more, exist on the platform. 

Interestingly, Wattpad has actually produced a few books that went on to become traditionally or independently published. 

These include the "After" series by Anna Todd and "My Life with the Walter Boys" by Ali Novak, which were both adapted for the screen as a film series and a Netflix original show, respectively. Another successful Wattpad title, "The Cellar" by Natasha Preston, became a New York Times bestseller after being published through Sourcebooks

So, how did Wattpad grow from a fanfiction site to a platform churning out such successful books? 

The traditional publishing industry is notoriously hard to break into. Some of the most famous and commercially successful authors living today, including J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, have faced several rejections before being picked up by a publisher. 

Not all aspiring authors have the time and resources to continually submit their manuscripts to editors, literary agents and publishers over and over again. Traditional publishing is a surprisingly inaccessible way for writers to get their work out into the world.

Many authors then turn to independent publishing, whether that be through smaller publishing houses or self-publishing platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing. But without the resources and funds of larger publishers, it can be harder for these books to gain a significant audience and stand out among all of the other books that are being put out every year. 

This is where Wattpad comes in. Wattpad thrives as a personal platform, centered on the talent of its writers, not the influence of its publishers. Many of the platform's writers have an existing readership that only amplifies the success of their new books.

This also makes it easier for writers to gain the attention of publishers who can provide them the opportunity to publish physical copies of their work.

Prominent books like "After," "My Life with the Walter Boys" and "The Cellar" play into genres and tropes that are already fairly popular on Wattpad, specifically the romance and thriller categories. Wattpad readers are used to seeing these tropes, including love triangles, bad boy romances and more, in their favorite fanfiction stories. 

Wattpad could actually be positive for aspiring writers and the publishing industry as a whole. Allowing writers to write without the restrictions of a publisher helps different kinds of books gain an audience and become successful once they are eventually published.

For people who can't afford to take a gamble on trying to publish their books, posting on Wattpad is a fun way to get stories to readers with little risk and the potential for a lot of success. 

For publishers, taking on clients that started small by posting their stories online can help ensure that at least some of the books they publish will have a devoted audience. With these things in mind, Wattpad definitely deserves to be taken more seriously than just being an online story website.

Related Articles

Join our newsletterSubscribe