"More than two million writers" are "producing 100,000 pieces of material a day for 20 million readers" worldwide on Wattpad, reports David Streitfeld in The New York Times (3/24/14). Wattpad is "a storytelling app" that not only enables writers to post their work but also opens up a communications channel between them and their readers. This may not sound all that radical in today’s social-media world, but it marks a significant departure from a past in which "the more successful the writer, the greater the distance" from the reader.
In fact, the most popular Wattpad writers, such as Rebecca Sky, say responding to fan comments is her top priority. "Writing fiction is for weekends," she says. Her reason is simple: "If you can go to a publisher and say, ‘I have 15,000 fans,’ that counts for more than someone who comes out of their basement with a perfect manuscript who no one knows." Indeed, the goal is consistency, not perfection, says Anna Todd, another popular Wattpad writer, who says she usually doesn’t revise anything before posting it, for fear of overthinking it and ruining the story.
Anna posts a new chapter of her book, After, "every few days," and turned out Chapter 278 last week. She has more than one million readers, and a typical post generates about 10,000, mostly positive, comments. "Almost all our writers serialize their content," says Wattpad’s Allen Lau. "Two thousand words is roughly 10 minutes of reading. That makes the story more digestible, something you can do when standing in line." Wattpad has $20 million in funding, "but little revenue." "When we have a billion users, there will be a million ways to make money," says Allen.