Wattpad Authors Who’ve Gone From Page to Screen

From Jane Friedman:

This summer, Wattpad is running their 14th annual Watty Awards, the company’s annual global writing competition. It’s open to writers in nine languages across 11 genres. In addition to cash prizes, one winner will receive a book deal from the Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group, and nine winners will receive adaptation opportunities with Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. (Judging closes on August 8, 2023.)

I asked three past winners about their experience of seeing their work adapted for the major streaming services. They are:

  • Ariana Godoy, best known for Through My Window, which has more than 350 million reads on Wattpad and has been adapted into a hit film from Netflix and Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. The film is one of the top five most viewed non-English films of all time on the platform. Ariana is a Latina immigrant from Venezuela who was an elementary school teacher before leaving her job to write full time.
  • From Malaysia, Claudia Tan is a new adult romance writer, graduating from Lancaster University with a BA in English Literature and History. Her Perfect series on Wattpad has accumulated over 163 million reads, and nabbed the People’s Choice Award in the Wattys Awards in 2015 and 2016. The series has also been published in French by Hachette Romans and Perfect Addiction (86 million reads on Wattpad) was adapted into a feature film from Wattpad WEBTOON Studios and Constantin Film. The movie was released internationally on Amazon Prime in March 2023 and debuted in the top 10 most-watched movies all over the world, according to Flixpatrol.
  • Beth Reekles is the author of The Kissing Booth, which she first published on Wattpad in 2010, when she was 15 years old. The story won a Watty Award in 2011 and went on to accumulate almost 20 million reads before being published. Reekles signed a three-book deal with Penguin Random House and was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teenagers in 2013. Produced by Netflix and Komixx Entertainment, The Kissing Booth went on to become one of the most watched films in the world when it was released on Netflix, according to the streamer.

. . . .

Jane: What was your initial motivation for writing and publishing on Wattpad?

Ariana Godoy (AG): I’ve loved reading since I was a kid. Growing up, I didn’t have money to buy books so I would read the few stories that I had over and over. When I found Wattpad and realized it was free, I was thrilled because it had thousands of stories for me to enjoy, and I was even more excited when I realized anyone could post their work. Seeing other authors achieve success motivated me to post my first story in 2009.

Claudia Tan (CT): I mostly wanted to use it as a training ground to hone my writing skills. I was also keen to find a home for the types of stories I wanted to write, but before Wattpad, had no audience.

Beth Reekles (BR): I thought—why not! I was already on the platform as a reader and enjoyed writing, so figured I had nothing to lose. The ability to be anonymous also really appealed to me.

How much were you involved in the adaptation of your work to the screen?

AG: I was quite involved. It was a bittersweet process because as an author, that first time you see the script, it kind of shocks you and it takes time for you to adapt and understand that movies are just a different format, a different way to tell your story. Working with the team and the amazing cast has been incredible, they really pour their heart out to represent the story and I think they did a great job.

CT: I was asked to review the early versions of the script, but changes were up to the studio and the director to implement.

BR: I got to meet with the scriptwriter/director, Vince Marcello, early in the process and give feedback on the script. It was clear that he really understood the characters and the story and I knew I could trust him with The Kissing Booth.

Was there anything that surprised you about the effects of having your work available on a major streaming service?

AG: Oh, definitely. I didn’t expect the movie to get to the top 10 in so many countries and it was amazing to see how many messages I received from fans. I was shocked that my little Spanish story was discovered and enjoyed by people from all over the world!

CT: To be able to capture a wider audience for my writing has been really rewarding. As an author from Malaysia this was a major achievement, and an opportunity that not many people from here have.

BR: Only that I wasn’t able to get a DVD/physical copy (I’m a big fan of keeping DVDs of my favorite movies)! That said, seeing my work on Netflix felt like a natural progression as I started my writing career online.

Link to the rest at Jane Friedman

PG had not thought about Wattpad for some time. He’s glad to hear that authors are finding readers there and being scouted by others who take their writing seriously.