Ashleigh Gardner is head of content at Wattpad and a speaker at FutureBook 2013.
Is Wattpad’s method of crowdsource editing making authors an even more viable product, either for the self-publishing or traditional publishing market?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions the industry has about Wattpad is that it’s a writing platform—we’re approaching 20 million users, the large majority of whom are readers. The power of a crowd that large has many benefits to both traditional and self-published authors.
For authors using Wattpad to write their books, there’s encouragement and constructive feedback on developing works. Writers also receive data on how many people are reading their writing and how many are finishing it. And with a massive global audience, established writers are using Wattpad as a way to build a new fanbase.
Can you tell us about the partnership between Wattpad and Sourcebooks?
We’re excited to be working with Sourcebooks—it will be publishing selected titles from some of our most successful writers, bringing stories from Wattpad to traditional channels; and by bringing Sourcebooks writers into the Wattpad community, we are helping them to find and connect with new fans. With our mutual focus on innovation and providing value to our writers, it’s a great fit.
Is this sort of collaboration—between two different types of publishing company—something the industry will see more of? Is partnership the key to success?
Focus and speed are so important. As a start-up, we’re focused on building our community and continuing what we do best. It would be resource-draining and time-intensive for a publisher to attempt to create a community on the scale of Wattpad. By working together we can both benefit from each other’s skills, learning and experimenting quickly. We love to collaborate and are always interested in new partnerships.
Ashleigh Gardner will be speaking at FutureBook 2013 on 21 November. Booking closes 15 November.