Requirements for Paid Stories

Hey there!

Paid Stories has previously stated some requirements for stories publicly. We’ve updated those requirements and want to help inform the broader public what we’re looking for, what to build towards, and how to get there.

First, here’s what we look for in a story we consider:

  1. You must be a Wattpad Star
  2. Your story must be completed, either on Wattpad, on Wattpad in draft, or offline in a manuscript
  3. Your story must be at least 50,000 words. There is no upper limit on word count.
  4. Stories can be of any genre, except the following: Fanfiction, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Classics, Random
  5. Your story must be original and wholly owned by you or be based on a story in the public domain and must be based on the version in the public domain
  6. There is no minimum required read count

The obvious big barrier is Wattpad Stars. Stories don’t usually skip this step (with some exceptions, like The Wattys). Even if a story is going straight to Paid, it’s going to also go into Stars first anyways, so Stars entry should be your primary goal.

Stars is generally where stories and/or writers who have shown opportunity potential go. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guaranteed to go into Paid (or other opportunities) but it is a positive sign. Stars is the gateway that links to all of the other opportunities across Wattpad. We’re aware of you and we have hope for you, and we’ll see where that hope might go. I’ve also been informed by my team members I should be a nicer person and point out not being in Stars doesn’t mean you don’t have potential at all.

As for what Paid is looking for in general:

  1. We have no disdain for any particular, qualified genres, so all are welcome. While we might have some particular interests at times, it doesn’t mean the door closes on other opportunities. Anything can technically be the next trend before you know it.
  2. Stories need to have a clear focus either on being aimed at commercial viability or niche audiences. Either of the paths is totally fine, and you should pick one and lean into it over the other. Go for a unique voice not used previously, or go for something with a lot of mass or pulp appeal. Be the story for a subset of readers, or be one of many stories that a bunch of readers devour.
  3. As per above, stories need to be finished, and there is no minimum read count. Focus on the writing, not the stats.
  4. We really enjoy stories that feel like they could only exist on Wattpad or that really have a home here. Be they hyper-trope content people can’t get enough of, or mash-ups of genres that would never fly in traditional publishing, we like stuff that feels very Wattpad.
  5. Themes that are currently interesting to us:
    a) New Adult stories around university or post-university life (first “real” job, finding an apartment, serious dating, dumping your lazy college bf) are really important. Most people on Wattpad are in the 18-25 range (not 13-17)
    b) Adult-oriented romance, as a lot of those engaging with Paid content tend to be even older than that 18-25 demo
    c) Historical fiction across mostly any time period
    d) Character-driven fantasy (sorry epic scale world building)
    e) Character-driven science-fiction (sorry epic scale science peeps)
    f) Paranormal romance, particularly of new creatures. Currently, fae is a trend. So don’t write fae. Gorgons probably won’t sell but everything else might be fair game
    g) LGBTQ+ content, with special nods to stories that aren’t focused on discovery or coming out. One coach has put in a request to see steamy, tasteful lesbian romance because she feels it’s underrepresented in the market. Also, the worlds of aces, polyamory, pan, demi, enby, the list goes on, they’re all of interest to us.
    h) PoC content, with a special request for both PoC viewpoints/stories that aren’t getting told and some good old trope stuff with PoC characters because, as one of the coaches puts it, “why can’t there be PoC Hallmark movies?”
    i) Some very compelling mystery, thriller, or horror plots. They’re very hard to do and we’re tough critics, but if you’re willing to try, you should go for it.

Next question is how might you get our attention if you’ve written something?

  1. If you’ve written a complete story and posted it on Wattpad, and it’s of the qualified genres, we may actually already know about you because surprisingly few people write and finish 50K+ stories
  2. Make sure you submit to available applications, like the Promotion Form
  3. Make sure you engage with Wattpad Official Contests like The Wattys. I say contests for reasons that may or may not come to fruition, we’ll have to see
  4. Make sure you engage with the community (via profiles, community contests, book clubs, magazines, etc) to help raise your image in general
  5. Engage with the community here to help raise your image in general
  6. Engage with Wattpad Staff here as naturally occurs. You’ll particularly want those of us who work in content (Paul, Nick, Sam, Amanda, Keely, Tom, Ryan, Emma S, Grace, Carmen, Leah). By engaging with us as we appear (and not by creating threads just for our attention or tagging us in randomly or spam tagging), you put yourself on our radar. We tend to check out people we chat with. Just about every person who has posted in a thread with me there has gotten their profile checked (assuming I don’t already know them). There are cases where that means we’ll remember you if your story shows up anywhere else, or we might just be so intrigued by what we see, we’ll add to library and get reading. I will share though that quite often, particularly in situations where people are wondering where the reads are, I will go check out a profile only to be disappointed in finding a 3 part story with less than 1000 words of actual story. While that’s anecdotal, it happens way too often, and you’re possibly missing your chance to impress me by calling for my attention only to have me look at very little.

This should help give everyone info they need. If you have questions, you can put them below. Will try to keep an FAQ post below this for everyone to check on consistent questions.

The FAQ Post

Q: Where Can I Find the Promotion Form?
A: The Promotion Form is available here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScn-UbAXaxC4LcjPDYTz5sjuYjeRegZuXc4Sr6Epl9HWIZlIg/viewform

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@nick All of this information was actually extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing and giving us some transparency about the process :slight_smile:

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If we had already applied for Paid Stories before this was introduced, does that mean those stories are already discounted from being looked over?

Also - thanks for the update! It’s interesting to see what Wattpad is looking for!

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No, Stars would just look at that application. They make a note that you’re willing to go to Paid when they consider you for adding to Stars (and then to do a future pitch to us)

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Thanks for such a quick response!

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All along I believed that there were only a certain number of people meant to be Wattpad Stars every year or forever (like a set number). The way you posted this makes it seem as if you guys make people become Wattpad Stars without any limits/restrictions on how many. Is this me misunderstanding or is that how it actually works; that you guys look at the content of the potential peeps only and not the number of people you already have (best comparison I have is with acceptance to Ivy Leagues, where only a certain number can be accepted)?

Also, I’m sure many of us can agree that we are thankful for this post, but here’s my thought: won’t it cause an over-saturation of the works you have in mind after this post? Just a thought, not sure if it’s meant to be that way or not, or if it’s important in the first place :face_with_monocle: .

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I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t point this out. Thank you for this thread, though! Some interesting things to be sure. Guess I’ve got to get moving on that steamy lesbian romance…

Also, I know this gets brought up every time—but how does one tell the difference between “this story is up and I started updating but then never finished it” vs. “this story is consistently in the works behind the scenes and I’ve put one chapter up as a sample”? Should I take the samples down (i.e. lead those readers elsewhere) so as to not look like I just threw people into a story that won’t officially continue until I’ve edited the draft?

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This is quite possibly the best and most informative post you’ve made and I love it.

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Ty Yves, you would think the many people reading this would’ve caught that.

I don’t follow your other question though, will need some help on it

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Nice to see this clear presentation, it gives me something to shoot for. Looking forward to learning more from answers to follow-up queries.

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Very good question there, that last one. I continue editing my story from the start to finish but routinely post chapters of it because I fear the same thing. I don’t know if I should stop or continue until it is done and polished.

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Yeah I still don’t fully follow what the issue/concern is, I’m getting lost in the words somewhere here.

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I’ve been wondering: What kind of a break, if any, is there in the querying process for people who’ve already started and then become Stars/join Paid?

Edited to remove references to self, sorry :frowning:

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There previously was a limit on Wattpad Stars, and there still is a partial, soft cap as a function of how many opportunity slots there are. Previously there were only a handful a year that came to fruition, but now with Paid there’s always lots of spots to potentially add to. So the answer is somewhere in between, Stars is willing to add in more than ever before and create a community space there where people can practice writing, work with each other, gather feedback, and strive for opportunities, but there does have to be some sort of cap so that there isn’t a flood.

And yes/no. Everyone asks for this type of information and so here it is. Like I said, people can pursue lots of other things, and I know they will, but if they need help via north star or guidelines, I will provide.

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Do you guys have a set number of spots for Wattpaders to become Wattpad Stars or not, is what I meant :sweat_smile: .

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Nevermind, you just answered it :3

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Yes, if you have a polished version of your story, we’re going to ask that that be the one which goes into Paid. Part of joining Paid involves exclusivity, so you could not join Paid while simultaneously actively pursuing querying of the story with publishers and the like. Paid is a choice, one of many you can go for. If you have a story and you have a dream of holding a physical book in a physical bookstore, Paid will not deliver on that, and you can/should pursue that dream.

Or submit it to Paid.

They’re all choices for the aspiring/serious writer to pick between.

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Thank you for this thread, these are all things writers trying to choose the best path to a career need to have transparency on. I appreciate it!

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As soon as I read the first requirement, I lost all hope. :joy:
But this is still cool to see the requirements, etc!

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