Wattpad’s Social Reading & Writing Social Network Goes Crowd Funded

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Who doesn’t like a good story? Wattpad certainly does. Wattpad is an interesting social network – colloquially billed as the YouTube for ebooks – where readers and writers can find a comfortable home together. And now, it can also be called, the Kickstarter for ebooks.

Wattpad bills itself as the world’s largest community for discovering and sharing stories. Readers, take note – you can find stories in progress and lend a hand in development by posting comments. Writers, check out this  community-based approach to honing your product and finding an audience.  Readers  collect stories into reading lists, and are able to vote for favorites, share stories and comment on them, right alongside their friends and other writers. Writers can submit their work and tap the over 16 million monthly readers. From there, they can win fans, get instant feedback and even publish work serially from their desktop or mobile application.  The site advises that more than 500 writers have published pieces on the site – along with the 16 million monthly visitors, these are numbers that the traditional publishing world has to be noticing. Published and unsigned authors are creating on Wattpad side by side. I love the fact that Wattpad is attempting to break down the artificial barriers between reader and writer that the traditional publishing world has worked to hard to maintain.

The most read stories are featured on a daily what’s hot list. There is also a featured stories list – curated by a Wattpad editorial review board. The site also hosts a number of writing contests, with the largest known as the Watty Awards in the categories of “popular”, “on the rise” and “undiscovered”.  Anyone with an account on the site can enter their work. Margaret Atwood has teamed up with Wattpad to host another contest – the Attys – which is for poetry, in the categories of “enthusiast” or “competitor.”

You can join Wattpad for free and you can sign in with your Facebook credentials or create your own sign-in. The mobile app is available on iOS and Android.  Seems a decent option for voracious digital readers on the go. Interestingly, though, Wattpad’s community demographic is overwhelmingly women.

Wattpad has just announced a new feature which should be even more compelling for authors – a Kickstarter like crowd funding platform called “Fan Funding.” Because Wattpad started as a social network rather than a crowdfunding site, many authors already have a fan base willing to chip in. Fan Funding projects run for 30 days and members pledge towards the goal. The story that is funded will  always be  available for free on the Wattpad platform, while it also may be shopped elsewhere in more traditional markets. Projects can range from fiction, to poetry to even movie scripts.

I am always excited to see new avenues for creators to share their work and get right to the audience without the traditional hurdles. Wattpads social reading and writing platform can now garner users the opportunity to create and share, as well as invest in that creative process. Go Wattpad!

Writing Directly Benefits Reading

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Now there is the study to prove it. The Alliance for Excellent Education and the Carnegie Corporation of New York teamed up and prepared this report (link here) entitled Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading. The upshot is that writing improves both reading comprehension and context learning – the more you write about what you are reading and learning, the better your understanding and comprehension of what you are reading. From the Foreword of the report:

Ariel and Will Durant were right when they said, “Education is the transmission of civilization.” Putting our current challenges into historical context, it is obvious that if today’s youngsters cannot read with understanding, think about and analyze what they’ve read, and then write clearly and effectively about what they’ve learned and what they think, then they may never be able to do justice to their talents and their potential.(In that regard, the etymology of the word forth”—from oneself, for example—is certainly evocative.) Indeed, young people who do not have the ability to transform thoughts, experiences, and ideas into written words are in danger of losing touch with the joy of inquiry, the sense of intellectual curiosity, and the inestimable satisfaction of acquiring wisdom that are the touchstones of humanity. What that means for all of us is that the essential educative transmissions that have been passed along century after century, generation after generation, are in danger of fading away, or even falling silent.

The authors describes the acts of writing and reading for comprehension “survival skills” for the general population. Even moreso for lawyers who depend heavily on being able to not only read and understand fine points and minutae of statutes, case law and other legal material, but also to effectively write about what they have read in order to shape important outcomes. Writing begets reading, which begets writing.

While the report addresses student learning and recommends strategies for improving reading skills, the information is fascinating and has post-graduate and professional application. Want to better understand your subject matter? Take notes, write essays, create blog posts, memoranda and briefs, distilling what your have read into the written word. And be better prepared to argue your point.

It Really is Just a Matter of Perspective

While stumbling around on the internet looking for interesting articles to read, I happened upon these two slides in an article written by Derek Morrison called Technology Impeded Learning at Auricle – Learning Technologies In Higher Education. The slides are attributed to Martin Bean, from a recent slide show. I found them right on “point.”

Martin Bean 2009

Martin Bean 2009

Martin Bean 2009

Martin Bean 2009