Ever since its launch 12 years ago on December 2006, the Canadian online fiction publishing platform and social network Wattpad has become something of a wellspring of novel-format stories on the internet. With 70 million regular users around the world and over 50 languages used, it has a wide international reach. And in some countries, Wattpad has even entered into partnerships with book publishers to have some of their most popular and promising member-authors get deals to have their stories printed or adapted in TV and film. Following on that, Wattpad is planning to go a step further by opening its own in-house publishing arm.
The Verge has it that Wattpad is launching Wattpad Books, a dedicated book publishing imprint that will open a path for the platform’s authors to get a chance at seeing their online stories be printed as books for sale at bookstores. Wattpad made the announcement Thursday, January 24. The company plans to have their Books imprint help in the further development of their author-submitted content, which already amounts to well over 500 million individual stories published online. It is the latest step in Wattpad’s direction to transition into a multiplatform entertainment company with global presence.
For its initial offering of hardcopy novels, Wattpad Books will launch six stories in September through October, with genres ranging from the ever-popular Young Adult to fantasy and mystery. These lucky soon-to-be paperback books are: “The QB Bad Boy and Me” by tayxwriter/Tay Marley, “Trapeze” by Leigh Ansell, “What Happened that Night” by Lyssfrom1996/Deanna Cameron, “Cupid’s Match” by Lauren E. Palphreyman, “Saving Everest” by Teenagexnightmare/Sky Chase, and “I’m a Gay Wizard” by V.S. Santoni. These Wattpad stories range in online readership from over 404,000 to more than 46 million, reflecting the wide spectrum of what online stories might be published.
Due to the massive volume of content already available on Wattpad, the company will be employing a hybrid selection panel of human editors and their Story DNA Machine Learning tech. This will identify which of the over half a billion complete uploaded stories on the Wattpad platform, matched against collected reader data on global genre trends, are chosen to be sent on to Wattpad Books for publishing and distribution. Wattpad Studios, Publishing Deputy General Manager Ashleigh Gardner says of it, “We bring something completely unique to publishing: an engaged global community, the most diverse set of writers on the planet, and the technology to find every type of hit imaginable.”
The first batch of Wattpad Books titles will be made available in North America, with different publishing labels handling distribution in the US and Canada. If successful, this approach could go worldwide, with the existing publishing partnerships in other countries.
Images from Wattpad, Business Wire