Wattpad powers ahead with its success story

Story site Wattpad is powering on, with traffic now hitting 15 million visitors a month and 1.5 million stories uploaded each month.

Wattpad claims to be the biggest community for discovering and sharing stories and its service is completely free for writers and readers.

The Toronto-based site has a very substantial youthful demographic but also includes a wide range of indie authors and very well known writers, including fellow Canadian Margaret Atwood, who published an exclusive essay about her recent novel Maddadam on Wattpad.

The company is attracting publishers who see the site as an opportunity to market their books to a worldwide audience. Publishers also trawl the site in search of new talent to sign up.

Writers post stories on the Wattpad website while other users can read the stories and offer comments and they certainly do offer comments, with over five million comments a month.

Writers use the site as a testing ground to gauge response to new works and some authors have built up huge fan bases on Wattpad. Over 500 authors have written stories that have been read over a million times on Wattpad.

CEO Allen Lau says the company has not even started on any form of monetization yet and he has hugely ambitious plans to build the site up further. He believes the present 15 million monthly users is just 1% of the site’s potential.

Wattpad was initially set up in 2006 but has seen massive growth in the last few years following the app explosion with the introduction of tablets and smartphones. Over 70% of the site’s users access it with a mobile device and the Wattpad apps have seen five million downloads.

The company is backed by a stellar list of venture capital luminaries, including Union Square Venture, Khosla Ventures, and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.