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Will Wattpad put Fantasy Periodicals out of Business?

 Fantasy Periodicals come in a variety of formats:

  • Fantasy Journals
  • Fantasy Magazines
  • Online eZines
  • Themed Anthologies

And then there are the ones that publish fantasy, horror, sci fi and speculative fiction. So you don't to choose "Just Fantasy" if you want to read short stories, novellas and flash fiction from any of those genres. Steam Punk? Steam Punk Fantasy? There's a journal for that.

Below is a list of publishers just for Flash Fiction... The document is organized by which publishers pay the most for Flash Fiction, down to those publishers who just provide a token copy, or is completely unpaid. For writers there is also the matter of word count limits, the typical response times, and whether they allow simultaneous submissions to other periodicals.



There are other categories too. Fantasy Periodicals that publish mostly short stories, and others which also publish novelettes and novellas. So length is another factor for distinguishing between the different periodicals. Whether they actually pay the writer is a completely different topic.

There is one important factor however... It is very difficult for fantasy periodicals to make a profit and be viable commercially. Most of them have readerships in the low thousands.

And then there is fantasy pulp fiction (40,000 to 60,000) words... A short novel effectively.

Herein lies the issue for writers who write pulp fiction. They want to get PAID, ideally at least semi pro (0.01 per word) or pro rate (0.06 per word) for their writing.

If they're writing a 50,000 words short novel then they are expecting to sell the 1-year publishing rights for that pulp fiction novel for $500 to $3000, or more, and their goal is to sell to a fantasy periodical who buys such stories...

Why just the periodical industry?

Because the regular book publishing industry these days gravitates away from publishing short novels, preferring books to be in the 90,000 to 120,000 range. With the exception of YA (Young Adult) fantasy fiction they don't see any benefit to buying and selling books that fall into the pulp fiction range.

Enter online publisher Wattpad, a website/app where readers can read books for free - or buy access to premium books for a price.

Essentially it works a bit like self publishing via Amazon, which is also an option frequently explored by writers who write short stories and novellas.

Wattpad provides free content to over 85 million readers via amateur writers (and professional writers like Margaret Atwood and others who use Wattpad to help market their writing) and consequently there is a huge readership base. People can grow their popularity on Wattpad, and then spin that into book sales on Amazon and in traditional book stores.

At present however there are a few tricks to this...

#1. In order to sell your books on Wattpad (instead of just free) you need to qualify for Wattpad Star status, which means you need to first write at least two finished novels that are over 50k each.

#2. You need to get popular on Wattpad. Easier said than done, although there are guides on How To Get Popular On Wattpad.

#3. Wattpad hasn't yet figured out how to properly monetize short stories. If it is a novel, sure, you can sell it in the Paid Stories categories. They did at one point try giving writers a share of ad revenue, but this plan apparently didn't work properly and was later scrapped in favour of the Premium/Paid Stories system they currently use.

So should you just skip the periodicals industry completely?

Well, hold on a second, because there might be a solution...

Why not do ALL THREE?

Step One, Submit Your Story To Periodicals

Go the normal route and try to get your story into periodicals. Possibly get published and get paid.

Step Two, Self Publish

Publish and sell your work on Amazon and similar self publishing platforms.

Step Three, Wattpad

Put free samples of your writing - especially your shorter bits of fiction - on Wattpad, plus two works that are over 50k in order to try and get Wattpad Star status.

This three step approach means you get the best of all three systems of revenue. It is more work, but it also means your writing is being exposed to a much larger audience of people - and it means you ultimately get paid more and have a greater chance of becoming successful as a writer.

It is also a system I am putting to the test myself, with my own writing. You can find samples of my writing (both short stories and longer works) on Wattpad at wattpad.com/user/CharlesMoffat. My goal during 2021 is to see how many periodicals I can get my fantasy writing into. I have already been publishing nonfiction in magazines for years, so I am overdue to publish fiction writing too.

Now you can follow the steps in order, or you can do a different order or tweak the steps to suit your needs. There is no rules that you have to do everything in that order. However there is a benefit to that particular order, because some periodicals refuse to publish anything that was published elsewhere first (including Amazon and Wattpad). Thus there is a good argument for trying to publish in periodicals first, before publishing in Amazon and Wattpad.

Maybe someday Wattpad will put Fantasy Periodicals out of Business?

Maybe.

Maybe someday.

If they can figure out how to properly monetize short stories, novelettes and novellas.

It could be that they might monetize them in the same way they already monetize novels on their website, and they might simply lower the word count requirements for Premium/Paid Stories.

Or maybe they will figure out a different way of monetizing short stories, like possibly a tiered payment system similar to semi pro and pro rate.

They could even get into the business of buying stories from professional writers, including reprints which is another important factor.

Usually when a writer sells a short story or novella it is the first year publishing rights that gets sold. Buying a reprint of a story that was previously published elsewhere isn't considered to be as valuable.

However Wattpad could buy reprints of popular stories by famous authors, creating a database of premium stories using a system similar to what Netflix does with movies and TV shows.

And it isn't like the market isn't there. All of Wattpad's money comes from two revenue streams: Ad revenue and premium stories. So they are making money off the stories, one way or the other.

What they need to do is to get professional writers (or even semi pro writers) to switch over to Wattpad simply because it pays better.

And if they do that they will put the fantasy periodicals industry out of business. Every writer who normally writes for periodicals will end up switching.

Alternatively there is another way...

Wattpad could buy/acquire companies that publish periodicals, either online or traditional book versions. In doing so they would acquire the publishing rights to any short stories published in the last year and be able to put them on Wattpad.

They could then transition the readers from those periodicals (which are often online already) over to Wattpad by offering them Premium Wattpad accounts at a discounted rate.

The good news is that many of these publishing companies aren't making much of a profit (or are in the red) and would love someone to buy them out at a pittance of the cost. Many of these "companies" are just a few people who aren't even getting paid to work there. Offer the owner enough money and they would probably take it.

Most fantasy periodicals fail and fold within the first five years of operating.

So it wouldn't really take much to put them out of business.

All Wattpad needs is the right payment program that will bring out the pro and semi pro writers.

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