Wattpad- the beginning of a journey

– Ditya Krishna  

whatpadAs my computer whizzed to life, I was struggling to keep the events of the day from invading my mind, but clearly doing a miserable job at it. I needed to find an escape. The pressure to perform was mounting and the 15 year old me was struggling to cope. “You need to be at the top of your game” “Your responsibilities as a school leader has to come before your personal interests!”In a bid to distract myself, I began looking for suitable book to review; I stumbled upon a link that said, “Discover a world of unlimited stories.”  It was then that this chanced intervention happened. 4 years hence, I am still trying to get rid of my addiction!  My fingers still subconsciously find themselves typing out the letters on the search engine; still open the same application on my phone, unknowingly. With over 25 million unique visitors per month, over 10 million free books to choose from , over 1000 stories being uploaded per day and 85% of its traffic from mobile devices alone, it is of little surprise that 8 years since it was founded, it remains at the top 5 book applications. One word- WATTPAD.

In the day and age where e-books threaten to overthrow their paper counterparts, Wattpad, is a frontrunner promoting the change. Originating in Canada, its readership is primarily concentrated in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and Philippines. The site also has a featured story list which promotes reviewed content approved by staff and the editorial review board, written by self-published and professional writers.

Untitled317+ books from genres varying from Science-fiction to historical-fiction, to romance and mystery, to poetry and short stories, I’ve tried them all. Yet I am far from contended. The library on my phone has about 20 books waiting to be updated. 4 years, around 350 books, 2 board examinations, numerous under performances at tests (courtesy: Wattpad), I can proudly say that there is nothing like it. The most appealing prospect about it is probably the fact that most authors are teenagers across the world whose ideas are given a platform to be reviewed and enjoyed. Few opportunities better that.

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The site has two lists – What’s Hot and What’s New. The most popular books (based on the number of votes received) contend for a spot and at the end of the year comes the big event – The Watty Award and The Atty’s: The Watty’s are divided into 3 categories – Popular; On the Rise; Undiscovered, across all genres, the winners of which receive monetary benefits and extensive opportunities of getting their work published. The Attys on the other hand is a work of collaboration between Wattpad and Margaret Atwood, a renowned Canadian author and poet under whose guidance the winners of the two categories – Enthusiast and Competitor are awarded.

It also allows you to connect with some famous authors.

 Screenshot_2014-07-03-21-37-56 Screenshot_2014-07-03-21-40-05A popular site such as Wattpad attracts a lot of people who indulge in plagiarism and the like.  The work of the authors on this site is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), apart from following their own terms and conditions to protect the work. The minimum age requirement to have one’s own account is 13 years.

What is vital to note is that, at the end of the day the content is not always of the best standards. After all, unpublished work is seldom reviewed or has perfect grammar/spellings. But, if one can look past those, there is so much to learn from the stories. The most bold topics are dealt with and the most sensitive issues, irrespective of religious beliefs, laws of the land are handled in such an unbiased manner that one is forced to revisit and revise .The redeeming quality of Wattpad, that probably makes it so popular is the vast amount of content that is available for free.

 All you need is your smartphone to double up as a library.

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If you do see me staring at my phone intently, it is probably because I am reading off of it.  Has it gained importance and is it the harbinger of change for the world of e-reading? Probably, but it will never be able to replace the humble book.  The smell of the yellowing pages, the sturdy feeling of the cover when we clutch on to it in anticipation of what’s to come next, the feeling of security the envelops a reader ,or the magic that transforms the plebeian book into wonderland to  every reader will never be replaced. Having said that, I rest my case.

And here is wattpad https://www.wattpad.com

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