Earlier this month, Margaret Atwood took to The Guardian to sing the praises of WattPad – a social story sharing site that boasts more than 8 million unique monthly visitors. Since its launch in 2006, there have been more than 5 million stories published on WattPad, although as Atwood admits, the platform is perhaps most strongly associated with ‘romance, vampires and werewolves’ (James’ pre-Fifty Shades ‘Master of the Universe’ can still be found on the site).
Atwood has a collection of poems on the website and her usage of WattPad inspired us to take a look at other authors that have embraced the social story site. We examined the top 10 hot new releases for Kindle, looking at the official (if there is one) and unofficial author presence on WattPad.
Karin Slaughter’s Criminal is currently the hottest new release on Kindle, so we were interested to see if she has a WattPad presence. Slaughter isn’t listed as an author on WattPad, but three samples from KissCut are available on WattPad. It’s not clear if they’re legally allowed to be on WattPad, but the three stories have amassed more than 1,000 views.
Jennifer Weiner holds the title of second hottest Kindle release, with her book The Next Best Thing. The author has no presence on WattPad, with no stories or author profile.
Shadow of Night is the third hottest release on Kindle, but like Weiner, Deborah Harkness doesn’t have a profile on WattPad. Interestingly, there is a Shadow of Night story on the site, but it is a 26 page ‘vampire love story’.
Koontz occupies three spots in the Kindle Hot New Releases top 10 and his popularity is reflected on WattPad. There are seven Koontz stories available on the site, including Your Heart Belongs to Me, which has more than 10,000+ views. Again, we’re not sure of the legality of the story on the site, which is why we aren’t linking to it. Although Koontz is a popular author (in terms of story reads) on WattPad, he doesn’t have an official presence on there.
The fifth hottest new release for Kindle is Hilderbrand’s Summerland, but unlike Koontz it’s hard to find any buzz about Hilderbrand on WattPad. However, this could simply be because some content performs better (or is shared more) when compared to others on the site.
While there are only three stories of Evanovich’s featured on WattPad (including one reader asking for a copy of one of her books), she’s definitely a popular author on WattPad. Several authors and readers list her as their favourite writer, suggesting Evanovich has a growing fanbase on the site.
A quick search for James Patterson on WattPad reveals that something very special is happening over on the site. Rather than just sharing samples, readers are writing their own versions of Patterson’s Maximum Ride series. However, while the author has a thriving online community on WattPad, as far as we can see there is no official author presence.
Karen Thomas Walker
Finally, Karen Thomas Walker’s The Age of Miracles is the 10th hottest release on Kindle and our final author. Unlike the likes of Koontz and Patterson, Karen Walker Thomas doesn’t have any recognisable presence on WattPad.
So, what does this tell us about the story sharing site? Certainly not that Atwood’s praise of WattPad is unfounded. For certain authors, there’s a buzzing community on WattPad that can be tapped into – for others, more work might need to be done to develop a recognisable presence. While there’s some legally questionable content shared on the site, searches for authors such as James Patterson indicate that the power of these budding authors can definitely be harnessed. After all, remember that Fifty Shades of Grey began as Twilight fan-fiction.
AdaptWrite offers specialised social media and digital analysis for book publishers and authors.
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