Wattpad, the popular social storytelling platform, has decided to replace its “Paid Stories” program with a new freemium model called “Wattpad Originals.” This move aims to provide authors with the opportunity to earn money while also expanding their reader base among non-paying users. With “Wattpad Originals,” authors can now choose to hide certain chapters behind a paywall, while still allowing readers access to free content, providing them with a preview of the story before making a purchasing decision.
Wattpad is phasing out its “Paid Stories” program and introducing the new freemium model “Wattpad Originals.” This change allows authors to earn money while also expanding their readership among non-paying users. With the introduction of this model, Wattpad aims to strike a balance between monetization and audience growth, ultimately benefiting both writers and readers.
What is Wattpad Originals?
The newly introduced “Wattpad Originals” is an invite-only program that features top-tier content handpicked by editorial experts based on reader engagement metrics. The platform allows readers to support their favorite writers by unlocking chapters using coins, the cost of which depends on the word count. Alternatively, readers can opt for a Wattpad Premium+ subscription, available at $7.49 per month. However, for those who choose not to pay, they have the option to wait until the paywalled chapter becomes available for free, usually within a week or longer. Wattpad ensures that only the most recent ten chapters of a series will ever be behind a paywall, making older chapters accessible to all readers.
The Shift from Paid Stories to Wattpad Originals
The decision to transition from “Paid Stories” to “Wattpad Originals” stems from Wattpad’s recognition that the former model hindered story growth. While “Paid Stories” generated significant revenue for authors, it also posed challenges in terms of attracting new readers and fostering audience growth. Often, authors had to choose between pursuing a wider readership for their free stories or monetizing their work and potentially experiencing slower audience expansion. Therefore, “Wattpad Originals” seeks to strike a balance between these two objectives and ensure a mutually beneficial arrangement for both authors and readers.
The Success of Similar Models and Author Opportunities
Wattpad’s sister platform, Webtoon, adopted a similar pay-to-read or wait-to-read-for-free model in the United States back in 2019. This approach has proven successful, with Webtoon having paid over $27 million to English-language comic artists from 2020 to 2022. Moreover, in the last five years alone, Wattpad’s creator opportunities, including “Paid Stories,” brand partnerships, and creator program stipends, have resulted in payouts exceeding $10 million for authors.
Wattpad’s Commitment to Author Success
Wattpad has consistently invested in tools and initiatives to support authors’ success on the platform. Recently, they introduced the Publishing Scheduler Tool, allowing authors to schedule stories and maintain a more consistent posting schedule. Furthermore, the company revamped its Creators Program by incorporating additional educational resources like the Story School series.