Toronto-based Wattpad today launched a new fan funding pilot project with six writers.
The online community for reading and sharing stories says this experiment gives readers the option of supporting their favourite writers to help them fund a story, an ebook, or the development of their work with a publishing partner, in return for a range of novel rewards. According to the Canadian company, the diversity of projects is intended to showcase the nature of today’s publishing environment.
“The real goal for us is creating new options for writers to connect with their existing fan base on Wattpad,” explains CEO Allen Lau. “We want to enhance the social exchange not create a transactional culture. Ever since Wattpad started offering readers and writers a place to share and engage in digital storytelling, we knew we wanted to share the power of the platform with them. This project explores that.”
Fan funding lets writers propose projects that readers (fans) can fund. It is based on crowdfunding models but is amplified by the existing fan bases writers have built on Wattpad and the emotional connections they have with their readers. Anyone can pledge money toward these projects to help a writer achieve their goals such as writing a new story, having their work professionally edited, covers designed, or distributing a book or ebook. In return, funders receive rewards like naming a character in a story or receiving a signed copy of a book.
“Fan funding is one of a number of revenue models we’ll be testing this year,” says Lau. “We have built a social graph between readers and writers and these connections can lead to new ways for people to monetize their work at different points in the creation process. Fan funding is one experiment in providing an outlet for this.”
Wattpad’s community now has 16 million active users spending four billion minutes (80% of that mobile) on the platform each month.
Learn more about fan funding here.