October 27 and 28 saw Times Square in New York City turned orange as Wattpaders from far and wide converged on the city to celebrate all things story. Taking over the Marriott Marquis, attendees were treated to two full days of panels, meet and greets, swag and more, all in the theme of embracing the art of storytelling.
October 28 saw the second day of events kick off with a behind the scenes panel with Wattpad Studios. Featuring Alessandra, Aron Levitz, Dexter Ong, Monica Pacheco, and Lindsey Ramey, we were given a sneak peak in to how Wattpad HQ takes their biggest and best stories and translates them onto the screen. They informed viewers, busted myths that only the ‘HQ favorites’ get noticed, and how to write for the screen. Bottom line? There is no secret! Write YOUR story, and not in an attempt to get attention. Be authentic, do your research, and readers (and HQ) will take notice. And the best part? Wattpad has anything and everything the entertainment world could be looking for.
“We have a wealth of ideas that are at our fingertips.” -Lindsey Ramey
The next panel is one that many in attendance cited as being the best of the weekend: Era of Own Voice: Writing Diverse Stories took the time to discuss the changing landscape of story telling, and some of the tales that have paved the way. Those in the know within the publishing industry already know stories such as The Hate U Give, Children of Blood and Bone, and many others have broken down the barriers that stood between POC and BLM storming the scene, and Wattpad writers are next to taking on this much needed change in the industry. Panelists included I-Yana Tucker, Emily Lindin, Daven McQueen, Maiyah Redmond, and Maggie Derrick, all expressing their individual styles, personal experiences and how to translate that into the page. The biggest tip? This is not a trend! This is peoples lives, their beliefs and their identities. Don’t write to it as a way to get noticed. Write honestly, authentically, and do your research.
“It’s not your job to be the spokesperson for your entire identity” – I-Yana
One of the most interactive panels at this years Wattcon was no doubt the Once More Unto the Page: Curing Writers Block with the Wattpad 4. Writing experts Fallon Demornay, Rebecca Sky, Monica Sanz, Leah Crichton and Lindsey Summers did not just discuss tips and tricks that work for them…they took to the crowd and helped writers face to face in a ‘speed dating’ for the writers age. Moving down the line, attendees met with each other to discuss challenges they faced, exchange helpful tips and even interact with the panelists on how they break down the block.
“Keys to the Kingdom: A Writers Guide to Wattpad” taught us how to unlock the potential of the forum and break through the glass ceiling. Panelists included Ben Sobieck (Writers Digest Guide to Wattpad), AV Geiger (Follow Me Back), Amber K Bryant (Writers Guide to Wattpad), Hannah Nelson (#1 Sci-fi writer), Jakayla Toney (Wattys Winner), discussed how to make the most of writings most influential online platform. It isnt just about a good story, but about connecting with the audience, updating often, and being accessible. Readers fall in love with you as much as your stories and it is important to keep that relationship.
What is the secret to getting more reads? For AV Geiger, that is simple.
“Update more than 1x week for your story to trend. There’s no secret & it’s very hard”
There are countless genres for writers to choose from, whether it be fan fiction, young adult, adult or anything you could imagine. Writing for Young Adult panel with experts such as Ali Novak, Alex Evansley, Leigh Ansell, Mariah Ragi, and hosted by Samantha, they focused on how to write authentic and powerful young adult stories. It is clear that these stories are not just written by this age group, and that any author can tackle this strong genre. However, it was stressed to be true to the young adult experience, never to trivialize their perceptions, and be true to their world.
The final panel of the weekend brought Wattpad HQ to the stage to bust myths, talk behind the scenes, and answer questions from the audience and livestream on what it is like to work at Wattpad. Wattpad co-founder and CEO Allen Lau took to the stage as well, and said the most important piece of information of the whole weekend.
“Wattpad will always remain free.” – Allen Lau
Closing the event with tears, cheers and hugs all around, Wattpad closed out yet another successful Wattcon. We can’t thank those involved enough for taking the time to put on such an incredible gathering of creativity, inspiration and love for those of this awesome community. Especially Samantha for all her hard work, dedication and tears.
Until next year, Wattpaders!