Nina Lassam on Wattpad: the Youtube of eBooks

Nina Lassam works at Wattpad, the ‘the world’s most popular eBook community’. Today I’ve asked her to share on the platform – what it is, how it works, and how you may benefit from it.
Wattpad Logo
The way I often explain Wattpad to people who are not familiar with who we are or how we fit into web fiction, is that Wattpad is “YouTube for eBooks + Facebook/Twitter for Authors”. The content on Wattpad is user generated by writers who range from teenaged hobbyists to self-published authors to established writers looking to promote and market their work to a targeted reading community.

Over 10 millions readers and writers visit Wattpad every month, spending half an hour each visit with an average of two visits a day. Like the viral videos that dominate the YouTube homepage, many writers can claim outstanding success with millions of reads and thousands of comments from fans who use Wattpad to find new works to read.

Where Wattpad has shown to be very different from YouTube is in the community-minded nature of the site. A reader comments on a story once every seven seconds on Wattpad, and writers and readers engage in discussions, provide feedback and recommend other works on the site.

There’s an App for That

One of the most common ways people find Wattpad is through their mobile phones. Wattpad is consistently among the top eReader apps in the Apple Store and BlackBerry App World. For authors who want their fiction to reach a mobile audience, Wattpad is available on over 1,000 different mobile devices and eReaders and provides a direct connection with reader.

Mobile is a large area of focus for Wattpad: we see thousands of our apps downloaded everyday and we are continuing to add more and more of the social features that are native to the website. Wattpad is not just a way to read and discover or a spot to upload fiction and poetry, but a platform that bridges both and enables authors to connect with readers in online space.

Who Uses Wattpad

The demography of Wattpad users has changed so much in the past twelve months. From a core group of young adults, we now see mature and experienced authors joining the site. The majority of members are from English speaking countries; the United States, UK, Canada and Australia and English remains the dominant language found on the site. Wattpad also sees a sizable number of readers from Asia and South America and we receive emails everyday from readers who say that Wattpad has helped their ESL skills tremendously.

Since partnering with self-publishing companies; Lulu, Smashwords, and Bubok, our presence in this community of authors has grown considerably. During the summer, we launched a program specifically for self-published writers and have opened a writing contest with literary magazine Shelf Unbound to provide self-published authors on Wattpad an opportunity for additional exposure. There is so much great fiction being self-published, but the struggle is to find readers to enjoy it. Wattpad has been able to fill an important role this way.

Wattpad Readers and Reading Online

Many times, when I talk to writers new to web fiction about using Wattpad’s social networking platform and posting their work to encourage word of mouth advertising, I find a major concern is ensuring a return on investment. If you know that you can get paid to write, it can be difficult to rationalize doing any type of writing, even casual conversations, for free.

What is important to remember and so interesting about web fiction is that online readers are also investing their time – to read what an author has written, comment, respond, and, if they like it, to recommend the work. Interacting with reading communities is a way to give back to readers while also growing a fan base and developing author loyalty.

The dynamic between readers and writers continues to change and adapt as more and more authors consider making their work electronically available. Wattpad’s place in this relationship is two fold: to host what connects both sides; namely, the literature itself and to foster online interaction between readers and writers. This second function is crucial to building the success and awareness of online authors and will continue to transform how  and what we read in the digital age.

Nina Lassam has her dream job working in the Marketing Department at Wattpad. She also blogs for The Huffington Post where she writes about the changing nature of eBooks and the value of social networking for authors. You can follow her on twitter at @wattpad

Possibly Related Posts:

Category: Guest Bloggers · Publishing
  • duane poncy

    After perusing this site for some time, I find the description by Nina Lassam quite a bit overblown. I don’t see anything remotely identifiable as an ebook on the site. There are almost no novel length entries that I can find, and no way for authors to list works that are off site. The group discussions (which they call ‘clubs’) seem to be entirely, in one form or another, “you vote for mine and I’ll vote for yours.” It looks to be just another short story posting site, as far as I can see.

    Am I missing something?

  • Nina Lassam

    Hi Duane,
    Thanks for your comment. It’s true, like YouTube, there is a huge variety of content on the site and what becomes popular is not always reflective of broad literary tastes. Completed works are indicated with a green check mark and you can search for only completed works. While many authors and aspiring writers use Wattpad to test out their work there are also many completed works on the site. If I’m interpreting your comment correctly, I think your definition of ebook only includes professionally published work? I’m not sure the industry has decided where it is going enough for us to call ebooks only published digital novels. What do you think?

  • duane poncy


    I’m not sure exactly what the definition of an ebook is (does anyone?), but I think minimally, it is in a self-contained format, such as pdf or epub. Everything I found on the site must be read on the site in html. I don’t think that’s the commonly understood definition of an ebook.

    With YouTube, you make your video and upload it. When you imply that Wattpad is a “YouTube for writers,” then I am looking for a place I can upload my work in a format I have some control over.

    When you say it is a “Facebook/Twitter for authors”, I am again looking for something that let’s me, the author, stand out as a recognizable entity, and engage in dialogue with my readers. I see nothing that allows me to do that. You “Clubs” don’t even show the author of the post.

    If I want to dialogue with readers, Goodreads is a much better bet.

  • Pingback: Bullets : Loose Leaf Stories

  • Nina Lassam

    Sorry for disappearing from this comment thread! I’m happy to disagree with you on what a commonly accepted definition of an eBook is and I’m sorry you didn’t see the many communication avenues on Wattpad when you visited (it’s set up quite similar to Facebook). I’d love to answer any more questions you might have on how to use Wattpad. Please feel free to email me!

  • Pingback: Kindle App for Windows Phone 7 Is on the Way » Feed blog!

  • Beth_Wreford1997

    i use wattpad just to read, as i can never seem to finish any of my stories…most of the stories on wattpad are really good and i have to admit that some of the stories are also so easy to lose interest in :( but all in all, i think that it is really good  x :)

  • Pingback: Research Project – Online Fiction Writing [The Finale] | The World As I Know It