Our 2021 Wattys Predictions: Were We Right?
When Wattpad posted their shortlist of Watty contenders in November, we took a stab at predicting the winners. Here's a breakdown of what we got right—and wrong—in our picks.
The Big Change We Didn't See Coming
In previous years, Wattpad has selected 5-6 winners per genre category, but that changed in the most recent Watty contest. This year, for reasons that were not explained, there seemed to be a much smaller batch of winners. Some categories (like Chick Lit) had just two winners. This was quite a shake up from previous years, so it definitely threw a wrench in our predictions.
Genre categories seemed particularly unpredictable this year. For simplicity, we gave ourselves credit for correct predictions regardless of category; so if we selected it in one genre but it actually won in another, we counted that as a win.
Here's how our predictions fared:
Chick Lit: 1/2
Our predictions in the Chick Lit category were:
The Popstar and Me by Althea Liu
Recruiting Mr. Darcy by Samreen Ahsan
Sailing West by AJ Arnault
The Sister Zone by Christian Ann Riley
Good Things I'll Never Do Again by WendyGreene11 | ✓
We predicted 5 winners, as has always been standard, but only 2 were selected. One of our picks, Good Things I'll Never Do Again, was one of them. The other winner was Falling for a Memory, which is doesn't really fit the category but has no Drama category to fall into. This category seems surprisingly under-filled considering the breadth of solid competition, so it's a mystery as to why Wattpad selected only 2 winners.
Our predictions in the Romance category were:
Untie the Knot by Flora Nocturna
Hidden Within by Cammie Grace
The Waves of Us by Stephanie Midorii
Kiss the Sky by Marianna Leal | ✓
Sinbound by MidnxghtSun
We struck out on our Romance predictions this year. Just one of our predictions made it to the list of 7 winners: Kiss the Sky. However, one of our New Adult predictions, Just For Tonight, was also selected for this category. We were disappointed to see that Untie the Knot didn't pick up a win, considering its reader popularity and unique premise. But we agree with the selection of Avery Keelan's hockey romance Offside, a FanFicable favorite, and regret missing it in our initial prediction.
Mystery and Thriller : 4/6
Our predictions in the Mystery & Thriller category were:
Prescient by H. L. Walton
Apex by W1ldFlow3r | ✓
Dead if You Do by Kate North | ✓
Flytrap by MaskedParkers
The Key to Anchor Lake by Lydia Hephzibah | ✓
While we still think the exclusion of Prescient was an oversight on the judges' parts, our other selections were pretty on the money. We said we were "especially confident" in a win for Kate North's Dead if You Do, which is a Paid Story, so we were unsurprised to see it on the list. The Reaper of Medford's Bend also picked up a win in this category, though we predicted it in the Horror category.
Our predictions in the Horror category were:
Hollow by Shaun Allan
Emma That is Dead by Darly Jamison
The Haze by Taylor Blake
Make Them Scream by Amy Marie Z | ✓
The Reaper of Medford's Bend by Lana S-B | ✓
While we technically predicted 2 winners in the Horror category, both ultimately were placed in other categories: The Reaper in Mystery and Thriller and Make Them Scream in Werewolf. Of the 4 ultimate Horror winners—The Last Scarecrow, How to Save Your School from Soul Stealing Demons, Blood on the Boardwalk, and Serpent's Kiss—only one (Last Scarecrow) is a true fit for the genre. The others are clear Paranormal or Mystery stories that, while all deserving and of quality, are totally out of place in this category. We're not sure if we really missed the target on this one or if Wattpad did.
Science Fiction: 0/5
Our predictions in the Science Fiction category were:
Empyrean Iris by Charlie Starr
Overworld by Joseph Evans
100 Yellow Doors by JNicole
The First Guest by Ken Raven
What Comes After by Kingempo
We can't sugarcoat it, our predictions in Science Fiction were a total miss. Not one of our predictions was a winner. A couple winners were ones we should have seen coming, like frequent Editors' Pick The God Codex and dystopian fiction Road to Arcadia; both were written by Wattpad Stars who had won before. Other winners were True, Foston Slacks, and Planet B.
Our predictions in the Paranormal category were:
The Problem with Dying by AJ Arnault
Soul Tides by CJ Truz
Cut to the Bone by M. Dalto
Wish by Crystal J. Johnson & Felicity Vaughn
Day After Day by MasonFitzzy
While none of our Paranormal picks were winners, we were especially shocked to see that genie-inspired romance Wish didn't make the cut. (Let's face it—the authors were robbed!) Most of the selected winners felt odd—feeling just barely paranormal enough to make it into the category. Wattpad's picks included ghostly gay romance The House Above the Sea, demon coming-of-age Impish, and middle-grade fantasy Marvela Mystic, all three of which felt out-of-place (despite technically having paranormal elements). Both of the remaining books, Viscounts and Vampires and The Edifice, made sense and fit with previous Watty winners.
Historical Fiction: 1/6
Our predictions in the Historical Fiction category were:
Before She Ruled by Amelie Rhys | ✓
Rivals and Revels by Domi Soto
The Prince and the Spitfire by Darla Cassic
A Solemn Promise by Laura Bell
A Brazen Maiden by Stephanie Rose
Paid story Before She Ruled was a shoe-in for a win here, but the other selections proved to be a real mystery to us. We can't quite wrap our heads around how eighties coming-of-age Kaleidoscopic ended up classified as historical fiction, but apparently Wattpad has a very broad definition of the genre. Other winners were historical fantasy The Plague Doctor's Daughter, Enheduanna, Shakespeare remix In Fair Verona, and Christian romance Dear Future Husband.
Young Adult: 2/5
Our predictions for this year's Watty winners in the Young Adult category are:
The Soulmate Paradox by Alex L. Zachary
Better Than You by Brynn Bunker
Swipe Right by Rachel Rose | ✓
His First July by Rebecca Johnpee
(Not So) Innocent Little Lies by LightentheShadows
We correctly predicted a win for YA romance Swipe Right and ultimately also called a win for The Art of Breathing Underwater, albeit in New Adult. Wattpad selected asexual coming-of-age Mask of Celibacy for this category and picked it up to publish under Wattpad Books. Favorite Friend and All That Remains rounded out the list.
New Adult: 1/4
Our predictions in the New Adult category were:
Just Press Send by Nikki Pierce
Just For Tonight by Melanie Ann | ✓
The Art of Breathing Underwater by David Anderson | ✓
Hopeless Romantic by Brynn Bunker
Relative Fiction by Taylor Romagnoli | ✓
Three of our New Adult predictions ended up winning, but only one was within the category: Relative Fiction. The Art of Breathing Underwater ended up in Young Adult and Hopeless Romantic won in Romance. Not seeing Nikki Pierce's Just Press Send in the winners' list was a shocker—but there's no accounting for stiff competition. This is another category, however, that has us scratching our heads over how the judges' define these genres.
Our predictions in the Fanfiction category were:
Flytrap by Masked Parkers
The Emotional Children by Emily Betts | ✓
Black Blood by somekindofstardust
Royal Pain by AintThatDevine
Ripper: An Indoraptor Story by E. C. Millington
Sherlock fanfic The Emotional Children picked up one of just 4 Fanfiction slots this year, likely due to its descriptive writing style. Fanfiction is a notably hard category to judge and fandoms are hard to compare, but there were some unexpected winners in more obscure fandoms like Umbrella Academy (Ignus Fatuus) and Assassin's Creed (Retribution).
Our predictions for this year's Watty winners in the Fantasy category are:
Ophidian Eyes by Lord Rat G.
Excalibur's Seven by EbenezerBean
Queen of Fire Blood by Sarah Beth
Thread of Gold by J.K. Maclaren
Till Death Do Us Part by axgirl13 | ✓
We only predicted one of these winners, but we were right about the themes we saw from the winners: strong female leads and LGBTQ+ storylines. Four of the five winners had female leads, with three (Priestess of the Moon, She Loved Me Too, and Sable Spy) featuring women of color.
Our predictions in the Werewolf category were:
Solar Flare by RianOregon | ✓
The Rise of Venus by Lehualani
Playing with Fire by J. Seaford
Seeing Red by H.M. Kraft
Red by June Valentine
It was a disappointment to see the brand new Werewolf category wind up with just two winners in its debut year. One win went to paid story Solar Flare, an LGBTQ+ werewolf romance, like we predicted. The other winner was one we had slated for a win in Horror—Make Them Scream. Considering the wealth of contenders Watty judges had to choose from, it's bizarre they chose just two books—neither of which have a female lead.
So of our 2021 Wattys, we predicted 15 of 55 winners, about 27% correct. For the full list of winners, visit Wattpad.com/Wattys/2021 .
What do you think, did we do a decent job or should we quit the prediction game? Let us know in the comments.