The Wattys 2019 and Traditional Publishing


So it’s Wattys season and all the info is quite a bit to digest. The story I was considering entering is a complete discovery draft with a minor first run-through of edits. Querying it, too, is not off the table for me in the future.

I read the ‘Legal Stuff’ section of the Wattys info book and it gave me pause. Saying I win (which I’m SURE I won’t), would any of the following things stop my attempt to remove my book in 6 months, rewrite & edit & polish etc, and query traditional publishing houses?

Allowing WP to:

  • Take excerpts of the story for free to use in promotional materials permanently and for free
  • Post up to one chapter of the story on the website permanently and for free

As well as anything else in that legal bit I’ve overlooked?

Just throught I’d open up a dialgue about this because I don’t know much about this kind of stuff yet, not really, and I don’t want to take any undue risks. Plus, you all in Industry Insider have so much great advice! :blush:


Hmmm, that’s not something I’ve noticed before. Im glad you brought it up because that solidifies the fact that I won’t be entering until my story is much more polished.

I find it interesting that you have to stop querying, is this to prevent books from being taken down? That would make sense. Do the winners get a publication deal with Wattpad?

(I haven’t read the official rules yet)

If the winners aren’t getting publication deals then I could only see that preventing winners from removing stories after they’ve won.

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I don’t know that you HAVE to stop querying; I just meant would there be any point bc would those legal points raise an issue with agents & publishers? :blush:

The story does have to be exclusively on Wattpad though, so no other sites or self-published.

One winner will get a publishing deal with WP, if they find a story that meets the right criteria for a book deal.

Ahhh, makes sense.

I understand the exclusivity.

I don’t see anything that would hinder you from querying. Depending if you win, I think it depends on if you sign any other contracts and what those contracts outline. From what it currently says, then you can still query, as the book is still yours.

The only thing that gives me pause is the permanent promotional rights if you enter. I can understand brief rights during the Wattys and a bit after, but if you don’t win, I don’t see why the content would be or would need to be promoted.

If you query, those rights are the ones you’ll need to make your agent and publisher aware of.


This is the thing. Whether I win or not, I don’t want to completely dismiss the idea of eventually reworking my story offline and querying it. I don’t want anyone interested to be like, “oh hold up, Wattpad can do x, x and x with your content for the rest of time? No thanks.”


Hmmmm, that’s a solid point. Might need to rethink entering my one story.

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I had the same reaction as you guys when I’ve read “permanent promotion rights” and what all of this means :anguished::face_with_monocle:

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No. It’s no different than publishing an excerpt as a short story in a magazine, and agents/publishers LOVE that. Why? Because that gets more eyes on it and encourages them to buy the whole thing.


Maybe you should plan your querying schedule after finding out when the Wattys results will be out. I don’t know where this info will be provided, but as far as I know, somewhere around December.
Till 6 months after that— June 2020, I guess, your work must be on wattpad.

But you need to find out the following things:

  1. When sending to agents, does your book have to be private?
  2. After getting a publishing deal, does your book have to be private? (for this, YES, I think)

But hey, if you don’t think you are good enough to win the Wattys, how are you expecting yourself to get a deal? Have faith in yourself, man.

Winners of the Wattys will be announced around September 30th


Thank you!

Again, this isn’t a question about query timing. It was about whether or not the few little legal rights things mentioned in the Wattys info book would compromise agent/publisher interest.

I have a lot of faith in myself! :joy: Just because I’m not sure my story will win this PARTICULAR competition doesn’t mean anything lmao

Thanks for taking the time to answer!

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It should not stop you from querying, but you are right, that MiGHT be a stumbling block with the odd agent or publisher. However, if your final version is quite different, it is no problem. I’ve got a trad deal and while the story in question is not a Watty Winner, I still have a version up here. But it is very different from the published one. So, it’s definitely not a show-stopper, but the closer you are to the version you are querying, the higher the risk (it’s that and not a given), that deals outside WP are more difficult.
Having said that, WP is also going more in a trad-pubbing direction. I’m in Paid Stories and that definitely stops my LiteraTours mysteries from getting trad deals. Nothing would stop me from self-pubbing them, but hey, I like what WP is doing, so i’m very happy to go that route. Hybrid will always work!


Thank you very much for this response & insight! I feel much better about submitting now I think. Glad there’s lots of time to decide still!

Some do, some don’t want anything to do with it. They don’t consider Wattpad Cosmo, either. Since Wattpad now has their own publishing company, I think there are very valid issues here.