By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Deadline for Submissions: August 1Today (June 7), the annual writing competition operated by Wattpad has opened for submissions with a new category in place.
The Change Makers category of the Wattys, as Wattpad’s annual awards program is called, is devoted to the promotion of diverse voices and perspectives. Submissions in this category can be both fiction and nonfiction, and can have stories that related to people of color, women, LGBTQ+ topics, characters, and issues, as well as members of the disability community.
In announcing the new category, Wattpad Studios’ deputy general manager for publishing Ashleigh Gardner—who today speaks at Madrid’s fifth International Digital Distributors Meeting—is quoted on the nature of the Wattys, as they’ve developed over the course of Wattpad’s 12 years of operation.
“The Watty Awards are more than a competition,” Gardner says. “They’re a way to recognize the diverse, creative, and empowering stories we can’t stop reading.
“Now more than ever, the world needs to hear from new voices. We all benefit from seeing things in new ways, and the Watty Awards create a space for different perspectives. We can’t wait to see entries for this year’s awards and the connections writers make with readers around the world.”
The method for entering the Wattys has to do with a writer’s presence on the Wattpad platform. By tagging a story with #WATTYS2018, a Wattpad writer submits the work for an award, and there are 12 categories available.
Longlisted entry writers will be notified and announced in late August. The shortlist is released in mid-September.
Those categories and the platform’s descriptions of them are as follows:
- The Change Makers: This award celebrates unique stories from underrepresented points of views
- The Originals: This award is for the trailblazers who changed the game, defied genres and categories, broke the rules, experimented with form, and created one-of-a-kind stories on Wattpad
- The Breakthroughs: This award is for up-and-comers in storytelling who delighted readers and caused a stir on Wattpad
- The Storysmiths: This award recognizes the stories that wowed us with their commitment to the craft and demonstrated a mastery of style, plot, and character development
- The Hidden Gems: This award is for the emerging writers who inspired us with their potential
- The Worldbuilders: This award celebrates imaginative storytellers who constructed thrilling new places and transported readers to them
- The Heartbreakers: This award celebrates the writers whose mastery of tugging on heartstrings made us feel, for real
- The Heroes: This award celebrates the stories that introduced us to characters we related to, who made us feel for them, who showed us a new way of looking at the world. A great character stays with the reader long after the story’s done—these stories did just that
- The Contemporaries: This award is for the popular, high-concept, well written stories on Wattpad
- The Revisionists: This award celebrates those who remix, reimagine, and reinvigorate fictional stories, worlds, or characters we know and love
- The Wild Cards: This award is for the stories that showed promise in many different categories but didn’t fit into any single category. The stories that had Wattpad HQ hooked and showed a promise and literary merit that could NOT be ignored.
- The Poets: This award celebrates the poems that capture visceral feelings, vibrant imagery and a mastery of language.
And the Winner Gets: Development
As with much of the potential on the massive platform, the Wattys program comes with potentially big payoffs.
Watty Award winners “will have an opportunity to work with Wattpad Studios and partners to adapt their stories for television, film, digital video, or traditional publishing,” according to the company’s media messaging.
By way of example, the company mentions several past Watty winners, including:
- Katarina E. Tonks’ (@katrocks247) Death is My BFF, which was recently acquired by Sony Pictures Television
- Kara Barbieri’s (@Pandean) White Stag, which will be published by Macmillan’s Wednesday Books in January 2019
- Josh Saltzman’s (@JoshSaltzman) Strange Yarns horror anthology, which Wattpad is adapting into a series of short films with The Coup Company.
- The Kissing Booth, now a global hit film on Netflix, is by @Reekles, and won a Watty Award in 2011.
And as with most things about Wattpad, Wattys numbers are huge. In 2017, the Wattys received more than 280,000 entries, 49-percent increase in submissions from 2016.
In the two-month entry period between June and August of 2017, millions of people spent more than 2.25 billion minutes reading Wattys entries across 10 languages.
More of Publishing Perspectives’ coverage of Wattpad is here.