by Campbell Geeslin
“The Internet long ago revamped publishing and bookselling,” wrote David Streitfeld in The New York Times. “Now technology is transforming the writing of fiction, previously the most solitary and exacting of arts, into something nearly the opposite. It is social, informal and intimate, with the result not only consumed but often composed on the fly.”
Wattpad is the new way to tell stories. More than 2 million writers produce 100,000 pieces of material a day for 20 million readers. For free. For nothing. Charles Melcher, host of an annual Future of Story Telling conference, told The Times, “Now that everyone’s been given permission to be creative, new ways of telling stories, of being entertained, are being invented. A lot of people are lamenting the end of the novel, but I think it’s simply evolving.”
Allen Lau, Wattpad’s chief executive, was interviewed at the company’s office in Toronto. He said, “Almost all our writers serialize their content. Two thousand words is roughly ten minutes of reading. That makes the story more digestible, something you can do when standing in line.”
Readers respond to the writers. The Times said that traditional publishing is watching Wattpad closely, “not only as a source of new talent but also for techniques to increase reader engagement.” But the writers go unpaid.