After the Watty: Do Winning Books Go On to Be Hits?
It's Wattpad's most prestigious award. But does a win translate into real-world success? We took a look at the data to find out.
We looked at all Watty-winning books we could find on the platform, using a combination of reading lists on the Wattys profile and user-generated lists. Some winning books may have been removed from the platform since their win. Since we could not find complete data for 2013, we have excluded the year in most calculations. Exact numbers, such as read counts, are likely to have changed since initial data collection. Our final data included 573 winning stories by 537 unique authors between 2011 and 2019.
Do the Same Authors Win Every Year?
Out of all the winning authors we looked at, the vast majority (94%) were just one-time winners. 5.6% of the authors had won two Wattys and just two authors (0.4%) were three-time winners. (Those winners, if you were wondering, were Jordan Lynde and Leigh Ansell, who have both since been published by Wattpad Books.)
How Many Reads Do Watty Winners Have?
One of the most common myths about the Wattys is that they are only awarded to people with a lot of reads. In the past, that was mostly true, as the Watty winners were selected based on community votes. Nowadays, the Wattys are judged based on quality, not popularity. You can see this in the data below. The further back you go, the higher reads you'll see.
It's important to remember, though, that the longer a book is on the platform, the more reads it will get, so older books are bound to have more reads. It is also speculated that the algorithm changed in 2016 and began counting reads in a more cautious way, causing overall reads across the site to fall. Books that existed before this time likely have a somewhat-inflated read count.
Do Watty Winning Books Get Published?
So you won a Watty—what does it do for you? Winners certainly report seeing a spike in new reads, but beyond that, what opportunities become available? 15.6% of the winning books we looked at have gone on to be traditionally published. (Several winning authors also went on to have subsequent books published, but for our criteria we looked at just the winning books.)
10% of these books became part of the Wattpad Paid Story Program and 27.4% of the winning authors are Wattpad Stars. (We don't know how many of these authors were already in the Stars program when they won.)
Those lucrative TV and movie deals do happen, but they're few and far between. Just 4.6% of winning stories (about 17 total) have been optioned or produced for TV or movie adaptations.
Other Interesting Finds
A few other interesting numbers stood out in our data. For instance, most of the 2019 winners have under 200k reads, with a couple even under 10k. Winning books in 2016 had the most measurable success so far, with 14% being developed for TV or movies and 25% now published. And in 2019, a whopping 80% of winning authors either already were or became Wattpad Stars.
What's your favorite Watty winning book? Let us know in the comments...