Storytelling platform Wattpad is revamping its creator program and making it more accessible for writers, the company announced on Thursday. Launched last year, the Wattpad Creators Program was limited in scale and “overly complicated,” the company says. Since its launch, Wattpad has paid out nearly $3.8 million in stipends through the program. Wattpad plans to pay out $1 million more during the rest of the year.
At launch, the program featured different tiers based on a writer’s goals. With the revamped program, WattPad is shifting from program tiers with different requirements, to a single level and experience for everyone in the program. The Toronto-based company says this change will make it easier for writer to focus on their writing, rather than which tier they should aim for.
To be eligible for the program, a writer must commit to writing a minimum of 500 words per week and have at least one completed novel-length story of 50,000 words or more in their catalog. In addition, a writer must have at least one story in an eligible genre that has achieved a minimum number of Engaged Readers. The company counts an Engaged Reader as someone who has spent more than five minutes on a story in the last 365 days. The criteria for Engaged Readers vary from 9,000 for general fiction to 100 for horror.
Although the new program is currently invite-only, Wattpad says the new criteria will enable it to add more writers. Wattpad notes that the program gives writers the option to pause and resume participation.
Nick Uskoski, Wattpad Head of Content and Creator Development, told TechCrunch in an email that the company is removing some of the barriers to entry so it can bring more writers into the program. The original program was open to just a few hundred writers, and offered stipends upon entry. People were eligible for various levels of stipends depending on a tiering system. In the new program, the company is moving to a model that offers stipends for specific writing initiatives.
Wattpad is also placing a greater focus on writer education and coaching with the revamped creator program. The original version of the program offered perks to writers who were more experienced or had published more work, while the updated program will give all writers access to these resources.
All writers in the program will get access to Wattpad’s editorial response tool, which lets writers ask the company’s in-house editorial team questions. Writers will also get access to new tools and resources that will help them grow, along with access to live editorial coaching and office hours. In addition, writers will get access to quarterly meetings where the company will share information about building a career on Wattpad.
“Not everyone has the time, resources, and privilege to attend writing workshops and retreats, so we’re bringing that same kind of community, support, and insight to the Wattpad Creators Program,” Uskoski said. “We don’t just want to be the place where writers start their career, we want them to grow and flourish on Wattpad and beyond.”
The new program will offer limited-term writing initiatives to encourage new content in genres we want to see more of on the platform. The first of these is a year-long Writing Intensive-style project, which will pay a stipend for publishing new chapters on a regular weekly schedule.