You and you and your Uncle Max can publish their fiction and non-fiction on WattPad, an online site. It also has hundreds of free classics, such as “Jane Eyre,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” The web site, Wattpad.com, draws15 million readers a month. And posts more than 1.5 million new stories.
Some are from best-selling writers, like Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” But most seem to be from teenagers, who display an inordinate interest in sex. Who knew? Random example: “I’m the SuperModel in a BoysBoarding School.” Not only are these teenagers prolific, so to speak, but display a loose grip on grammar and spelling which does not speak well of their classroom experience.
Does anybody read this stuff? Well, “How to Tame a Bad Boy,” has almost three million readers, although the teenage author admits she’s just messing around and doesn’t know if she has a story yet. Reader comments are posted under each book’s description, Facebook style, and some viewers make plot suggestions. Most books are written in short bursts; a 70 page book typically has 20 chapters – not necessarily connected. Short attention spans are the rule of the day.
Authors with a lot of followers are getting attention from traditional publishing houses. For instance, Abigail Gibbs, now 24, got a three-book deal from Harper Collins. Her first book, “Dinner With a Vampire,” written when she was 19, had 17 million reads and is now sold on Amazon. In the non-fiction section of the website is “How to Survive Wattpad,” with tips on getting more readers. The tips can be good but the sentences struggle. Example: “Do you want to get your book popular?”
Nobody gets paid for their work, and nobody is charged for reading it. Over the years many people have said to us: “I know my life would make a good novel.” Well, here’s a place to lay it out. We are approaching a time, as Andy Warhol said, when everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.