Wattpad is a forum like no other. 60 million monthly users, more than 400 million stories of every genre and subject you can imagine, all crammed into a single, wonderful, supportive orange landscape of collaboration. It is a community like no other, where you can collaborate with others of like mind, creating and inspiring each other in a place of relatability and commonality.
For those of us within this special corner of the literary fandom, the people we meet on Wattpad quickly become our support system and sounding board when it comes to writing. They give you feedback, inspiration, and help you through the dreaded writers block we are all subject to at one point or another. They become a family of sorts, even though you have never met, but speak to each other every day.
Wattcon, Wattpad sanctioned writers conventions which have already taken over New York and London, allow that gap to be closed between writers, bringing them face to face in a wonderful event like no other. For those able to make the trip, you are treated to a mixture of the traditional writers convention, but with a special orange twist that only Wattpad can provide. For readers, you have the chance to meet some of the authors behind your favorite stories on the forum. For writers, you meet those individuals who helped you through your struggles, and get to see in person some of the people who have read and loved your work, giving you the motivation to keep writing even when you felt like it was going nowhere.
October 21, 2017, Wattcon came to Wattpads hometown of Toronto. The streets of the St Lawrence area of the city quickly turned orange and alight with the joy of the written word. Hosted by Wattpad itself, and in the iconic and stunning HQ, it was a con like nothing we have seen before. Fangirlish was fortunate enough to attend, and are here to give you a little inside sneak behind all the fun and games.
The panels held some of the best and brightest of Wattpad, as well as industry big hitters from HarperCollins and eOne. Whatever the question, you got the answers directly from those in the know. Hosted by the amazing and stunning Sam and Alessandra (with help from Wattpad hubby Nick), everything kicked off with an official greeting from Wattpad founders Allan and Ivan!
The first panel, Storytelling Pros, brought the heavy hitters of Lindsey Summers, Claire Kann, Ariel Klontz, Elizabeth Seibert, and Ben Sobieck. A mix of Wattpad Stars, and known for their groundbreaking and status changing stories, they know the landscape of Wattpad like few others do. The panel gave insight in to how to gain following, increase reads, and mastering the art of telling your story to the best of your ability. Ben provided strikingly honest humor, while we learned that Claire doesnt suffer from writers block…jealous. But we learned how to gain the attention of our audience and keep it, which can sometimes be harder than even those first few words of a new story.
After a short break, we came back to Industry Insiders. With panelists from HarperCollins, eOne, TV writer Josh Saltzman, and insiders from Wattpad Aron and Ashleigh, this was how we learned to break through the industry glass ceiling. Whether your goals are publishing, television or film, you got a little sneak in to how to make your stories grab the attention of those who can make those dreams come true! It is all about making something different, about showing that you have more than just a good story, but the motivation and talent to take it that little bit further. There is really no quick track or trick, but if you want in to the publishing world, fantasy is saturated…try and make your story stand out with something different. Want in to television? Try and have a clear idea how you want to transition your idea onto the screen. It is never an easy road, and you have to be prepared to do the work, no matter the path.
After lunch, brought us back to Building Your Online Fanbase. Want to know how to get more reads? More follows? How to be one of the ‘best writers on Wattpad?’ Well, these are the wattpaders who know! Kevin Fanning, Isabelle Ronin, AV Geiger, Ariana Godoy, and Aimee Laurel are the ones who know how to make it happen. Again, it is important to point out that there is no easy track. For KFan, Wattpad staff pointed out his cover caught their attention. For Viv? It was interacting with her readers with Twitter accounts made for her characters. Isabelle uses Instagram to keep her readers up to date with her world. One of the most important tips? Interaction! Interaction! Interaction! Your readers want to feel connected to you, whether through Wattpad or other social. Reply to comments, update your socials, and let them in to your world! It is not just Wattpad that is your brand, but all social, and various means of keeping your readers on their toes.
On a little break, attendees had the chance to get more tips and tricks from some of the Wattpad best….the iconic Wattpad 4! Just Write It, with Leah Crichton and Rebecca Sky, or Just Edit It with Monica Sans and Erin Latimer. These are 4 Wattpad Stars, and all 4 with publishing deals, they know the ropes of making your story the best it can be! Plotting versus pantsing (or as Fallon Demornay puts it in combo form…pantylining) or how to best break down the necessary parts of your story and filtering out the rest, you learned from the pros how to make your story shine!
The final panel of the day was one that many were anticipating….Ask Wattpad Anything! Yup, anything! There were a collection of Wattpad staff, answering all our questions both in house and online. No pre-arranged questions…it was all live. Fav stories that made their way around the office…fav ships…funniest experiences. How it all works behind the scenes, it is most important to point out that they do read, and LOVE, your stories! Yes, they have read them, yes they talk about their favs. It is not simply an office working around writing, but a group of enthusiastic and engaged lovers of stories!
With dinners, breakfasts, aquarium adventures and a few trips to the Toronto based Harry Potter themed bar, the entire weekend was nothing short of amazing when spent with those you admire, love and respect.
Official Wattpad Miss Congeniality, Tammy, put it best…
“Wattpad is the family we choose…and we chose the best.”
So right, Tammy.
For those unable to attend, feel free to check out the live stream of all the fun below.