I’m a Wattpad member. I write fanfiction and original stories both. I frequently populate my cast lists with the stars of Teen Wolf, The Flash, Arrow, and The Amazing Spider-Man. My books are online, but not for profit – they’re totally free.
And yet, they’re real.
For a couple of years, I’ve been sharing stories with hundreds of fellow denizens of Wattpad Nation, and getting considerable positive response. There are many who have wished, alongside me, that the likes of my pettest of pet projects, the Red Rain series, could be sold for real, in physical form, on store shelves.
Does that mean Red Rain and its sequels aren’t real books? No. I direct you to the example of one Wattpadder who’s really made it big – Taran Matharu of Summoner fame. He’s one of the best new YA authors of the last few years, and when he was first published, officially, last year, he took the time to deliver a nice thank-you to his Wattpad readership.
The cool thing about Wattpad is that it makes it so easy to interact with your readers and fans, something you can’t do so easily with a print book. (This is not to say that print books are inferior – I strongly prefer them myself.) You can generally tell a Wattpad writer because we tend to be so much better at keeping up on our social-media notifications, and responding to our readers in a timely fashion. Writers who are officially published, on the other hand, are often popular enough that they can’t keep up with those notifications, as much as they would like to try. Sometimes, you can still find one who’s very friendly on the internet – good examples including Zac Brewer, A.G. Howard, Adam Silvera, and Andrew Smith. However, the vast majority of the interactive writers I can think off the top of my head, I discovered on Wattpad. Among them, the aforementioned Matharu, along with Zoraida Córdova, Jess Pawley, and Sarah Benson (#CliffieQueen for the win!)
And then there’s the world of fanfiction. That’s a bit of a punch line because the stereotype is that it’s full of Mary Sues, slash pairings that fly in the face of canon, and general bad writing. Like every other genre on Wattpad, though, fanfiction has its diamonds in the rough. I’ve found a few (the best of the best, of course, being Sierra Daniels’ Marvel-based, Whedon-esque Blue Moon series), and I’d like to think my readers think of me the same way with Deadpool Syndrome and Central City Rush and Teen She-Wolf, among other ongoing projects. I’d like to think these projects, while unlikely to ever be published officially (I write them almost entirely for pleasure, unlike Red Rain, which is written with official publication and a movie adaptation in mind), will make great practice for the day when another dream of mine comes true and Marvel commissions me to write a series of Spider-Man YA novels.
As a writer, I feel incomplete without the ability to hold a hardcover copy of my book in my hand, much less autograph it for a grateful reader. That, and the fact that there are people in my life who refuse to believe that I’m capable of making it big as a writer. However, as long as I can continue to share my stories with readers who can understand my references and/or ship my characters as hard as I ship Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, I still feel accomplished, and my books are still every bit as real as Harry Potter.
Thank you for your time, Wattpadders.
Feed the right wolf.
Remember: Denis Leary is always watching. Always.