It feels like a while since I ran a story on Wattpad in ALLi's Self-publishing news column. The Canadian firm is, of course, a vast behemoth of a platform for indie authors. It boasts 85 million monthly readers, many of whom have a passion for the stories they uncover there you might expect to find in the more fervent corners of BookTok and BookTube. One of the things Wattpad is really good at is taking promising stories and helping their authors find the fullest market they can. They work with studios, for example, to bring popular stories to the small and big screen.
What they have been slightly less adept at has been finding ways to pay writers for the sometimes millions of reads they rack up. Now they have announced a programme they hope will help plug that gap.
How will Wattpad Originals readers pay for content?
Wattpad Originals will offer paid content via a token system. Readers will be able to buy tokens that enable them to read stories in the Originals programme. Or those who have a higher rate ($7.49), Premium subscription will gain two tokens a month.
Wattpad Originals offers free sample material to hook readers when they are complete. While the story is in progress, a maximum of 10 chapters, the most recently published, are kept behind a paywall. Readers can unlock them with tokens. Or they can wait – readers are told roughly how long they will need to wait. As soon as a new chapter is published, the 11th most recent chapter is released from the paywall.
The programme, which is based on Webtoon, also owned by Wattpad’s parent, Naver, is part of a more general move Wattpad is making to get behind its writers. The site has such a loyal and large readership that it would be great to see more reward for its authors.