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Wattpad, the user-contributed fiction platform, will pay writers cash stipends of up to $25,000 — if they meet certain criteria — in return for making their stories exclusive to the platform.

The company’s Wattpad Creators Program plans to pay out a total of $2.6 million to writers in 2022. To be eligible, writers must have: published a new story part in the last three months; at least one completed novel-length story of 50,000 words or more in their catalog; at least one story in an eligible genre; and reached a minimum number of Engaged Readers as based on Wattpad’s Story Statistics resource. More info on the program is available at this link.

More than 500 writers will be eligible for the cash stipends, the first time Wattpad is paying creators in this way. In addition, participants will be eligible for marketing and editorial support and sponsored brand partnerships.

Under the Wattpad Creators Program, some of the company’s biggest stories will become exclusive to the platform. Among the first cohort of now-exclusive Wattpad writers is romance writer Tamara Lush (@TamaraLush), author of “Drive and Crash” and other steamy hits; Jessica Cunsolo (@AvaViolet), whose “With Me” series of novels has accumulated nearly 1 billion reads on the platform and has a series adaptation in development from Wattpad Webstoon Studios and Sony Pictures Television; Kate Marchant (@toastedbagels), author of hit novel and upcoming film “Float,” starring and produced by Robbie Amell; Claudia Tan (@claudiaoverhere), author of “Perfect Addiction,” in production as a feature film from Wattpad Webtoon Studios and Constantin Film; and Sondi Warner (@sondi_is_on), author of “Lead Me Astray,” which has 259 million reads.

Wattpad Creator Carousel

As part of the Wattpad Creators Program, the company recently rolled out a new Engaged Readers metric for writers that measures story performance and engagement over the past 365 days, specifically highlighting how many readers spent more than 5 minutes reading a story. The company also launched the Wattpad Creator Portal, an online resource with information and tips to help writers hone their craft, available to all users.

However, it’s not the first time the company is paying its best-performing contributors. In 2019, Wattpad launched its Paid Stories program, letting writers charge a per-chapter or per-story fee for reader access. The program has grown to support hundreds of writers around the world, paying out more than $3 million in the first three years.

In addition, Wattpad is part of Wattpad Webtoon Studios, which supports writers with brand partnership opportunities, as well as TV, film, and publishing deals. Earlier this year, South Korea-based Naver, Webtoon’s owner, acquired Wattpad in a $600 million deal.

“We’re in the business of helping writers build a global audience and make money,” said Jeanne Lam, president of Wattpad. “With this program and investment, we’re putting millions of dollars directly into authors’ pockets, and helping them hone their skills with new editorial support and educational programming.”

The Wattpad Creators Program is currently rolling out to English-language writers around the world. It will become available next in Spanish-language markets and the Philippines, with additional markets to follow in 2023. Educational programming and writer resources will be available for more than 3,000 qualifying writers this year, along with more than 500 writers who are eligible for cash stipends.