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Data, Diversity, and The Future of
Publishing
Ashleigh Gardner
Deputy General Manager,
Publishing, Wattpad Studios
ashleigh@wattpad.com
On January 28, 2019, Wattpad
launched its publishing division,
Wattpad Books.
By taking current and up-and-coming Wattpad
hits from diverse voices, Wattpad Books is doing
what has always been done in publishing, but with
innovative technology and the most diverse
content library on the planet.
After 13 years of elevating new and undiscovered
voices online, now we’re making strides to elevate
diverse voices in print.
What is Wattpad?
Wattpad was created in 2006 as an
app with a simple goal: help
audiences around the world write
and discover original stories.
Fast forward to 2019. Wattpad is now a
thriving community of 70 million global
monthly users who have shared 565
million story uploads in over 1,000 sub-
genres.
Wattpad is the place
to write, share, and read
original stories.
Video Audio Images
News Blog Stories
Wattpad is available in over
50 languages, and is used in
virtually every country.
New story uploads per day
+520,000
Writers on Wattpad*
4 million
Unique sub-genres
+1,000
*Current active writers in the past month
We have the
biggest
submissions library
in the world, with
genres and voices
appealing to a
global audience.
A reach that’s truly global
(unique monthly visitors to Wattpad)
13 million
US
5.5 million
Philippines
4.9 million
Vietnam
6 million
Indonesia
4.2 million
Turkey
3.2 million
Brazil
2.6 million
Mexico
2 million
UK
1.7 million
India
1.3 million
Canada
1.3 million
France 1 million
Russia
13+ million
6+ million
4+ million
2.5+ million
1+ million
Legend
When you aspire to serve a global population, you need
diversity in your work force. I'm talking about the kind of
diversity that goes beyond hiring someone to translate text in
the product. You need to hire people who can not only speak
different languages, but also understand cultural nuances.
This is something that exists naturally in Toronto, as well as
other parts of Canada.
- Allen Lau, CEO and Co-Founder of Wattpad
Just like our platform, Wattpad’s corporate culture celebrates
and values its diversity as well:
Wattpad’s product
team is 80%
women
Wattpad’s
leadership team is
made up of 50%
people of colour and
50% women
A diversity and inclusion
committee committed to
ensuring a safe space for
all employees
Because of its commitment to a positive corporate culture,
Wattpad prefers to be thoughtful about its employee perks.
Flex hours Subsidized
transit passes
Parental leave
top-up
Data and Diversity are the future of publishing, and
Wattpad is proud of its unique position in the industry.
We have the most diverse set of story data on the
planet, and we are taking an intersectional approach to
Wattpad Books.
Machine learning is only as good as the data set it
starts with, and we are starting with the
most diverse set of stories ever found in one location.
Our data reflects our community, which is 70%
female and includes minority and marginalized voices
from around the world.
Machine Learning is about finding patterns in data, and then making
predictions based on those patterns.
Our Story DNA Machine Learning technology looks for patterns at
vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure in classic novels and featured
Wattpad stories.
Featured Wattpad Stories
What is machine learning?
What kind of data are
we reviewing?
Writer Activity
We can isolate genre
trends and character
tropes in stories written
by a variety of
demographics.
Story Elements
We analyze
characteristics like story
structure, writing style,
story sentiment, so we
can understand which
stories resonate.
Reader Activity
We can tell what
genres city-lovers in
New York read, and
compare it to users
living in rural England.
By collecting over a billion data points per
day, we have insight into reading and
writing trends at scale.
We can see things other
publishers can’t.
Readership
Fast Growth, Time
Spent, Upward Trend
Social Cues
Sharing, Adds to Library,
Commenting
Story Elements
Writing Style, Grammar,
Sentence Structure
Story Sentiment
Emotion in a Story,
Overall Reader and
Comment Sentiment
With
StoryDNA
We Can Identify
Great Stories Before
the Story
Accumulates
Significant
Readership
Wattpadders are demanding
more representation in every
genre.
Each month of the year, readers
spent an average of 1.7 million
minutes reading stories tagged
#MuslimRomance, #Muslimlovestory,
and #IslamicLoveStory.
Wattpadders love reading
LGBTQ+ stories
Readers spent more than
32 million minutes reading
stories dedicated to people
who identify as
#transgender, #agender,
#genderfluid, and
#nonbinary.
Readers spent close to 116 million minutes
reading stories tagged #POC, #Diversity,
and #DiverseLit, up 41 per cent from 2017.
This trend has been seen across multiple
genres, such as fantasy, sci-fi, werewolf
and mystery.
The Wattpad community
continues to support
characters and writers of
color.
Wattpadders love to
read about strong
women.
This year, people spent more than
107 million minutes reading
stories tagged #feminism,
#girlpower, #feminist, and
#feminismo, up 43 per cent from
2017. Story uploads also grew
close to 40 per cent, with 10,000
new uploads added in 2018.
Why is it important that we
pay attention to what our
community is reading?
Because Wattpadders
buy books, too.
All book buying insights are from Wattpad’s Book Buying Survey which surveyed 1,800 Wattpad users
on their book buying behaviours in 2018.
Wattpadders like reading
free books, but they also
regularly purchase books.
In the last six months, 81% of
Wattpad users have spent some
money on books.
In the past month, nearly 60% of
Wattpad users have bought one
book, and nearly 1 in 5 have bought
six books.
...And the amount
they’re spending on
books is significant.
Over one third of
Wattpadders spent more
than $150 on books in the
last six months.
Nearly half of Wattpadders
surveyed said they would
purchase a book even after
reading the same book on
Wattpad.
Making the books available
for free doesn’t mean
Wattpad users won’t
purchase them.
Introducing
“It’s bigger and louder than its competition, which puts it in an
entirely different playing field."
-
How data helps us find great books
What were we
looking for?
Diverse voices
Captivating stories
Highly-engaged
reader community
Underrepresented
genres
Our Fall 2019 List!
Thank You
Ashleigh Gardner
Deputy General Manager,
Publishing, Wattpad Studios
ashleigh@wattpad.com

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How Publishing is Attacking the Diversity Problem: A Data-Driven Approach - Ashleigh Gardner (Wattpad) - Tech Forum 2019

  • 1. Data, Diversity, and The Future of Publishing Ashleigh Gardner Deputy General Manager, Publishing, Wattpad Studios ashleigh@wattpad.com
  • 2. On January 28, 2019, Wattpad launched its publishing division, Wattpad Books. By taking current and up-and-coming Wattpad hits from diverse voices, Wattpad Books is doing what has always been done in publishing, but with innovative technology and the most diverse content library on the planet. After 13 years of elevating new and undiscovered voices online, now we’re making strides to elevate diverse voices in print.
  • 3. What is Wattpad? Wattpad was created in 2006 as an app with a simple goal: help audiences around the world write and discover original stories.
  • 4. Fast forward to 2019. Wattpad is now a thriving community of 70 million global monthly users who have shared 565 million story uploads in over 1,000 sub- genres.
  • 5. Wattpad is the place to write, share, and read original stories. Video Audio Images News Blog Stories
  • 6. Wattpad is available in over 50 languages, and is used in virtually every country. New story uploads per day +520,000 Writers on Wattpad* 4 million Unique sub-genres +1,000 *Current active writers in the past month
  • 7. We have the biggest submissions library in the world, with genres and voices appealing to a global audience.
  • 8. A reach that’s truly global (unique monthly visitors to Wattpad) 13 million US 5.5 million Philippines 4.9 million Vietnam 6 million Indonesia 4.2 million Turkey 3.2 million Brazil 2.6 million Mexico 2 million UK 1.7 million India 1.3 million Canada 1.3 million France 1 million Russia 13+ million 6+ million 4+ million 2.5+ million 1+ million Legend
  • 9. When you aspire to serve a global population, you need diversity in your work force. I'm talking about the kind of diversity that goes beyond hiring someone to translate text in the product. You need to hire people who can not only speak different languages, but also understand cultural nuances. This is something that exists naturally in Toronto, as well as other parts of Canada. - Allen Lau, CEO and Co-Founder of Wattpad
  • 10. Just like our platform, Wattpad’s corporate culture celebrates and values its diversity as well: Wattpad’s product team is 80% women Wattpad’s leadership team is made up of 50% people of colour and 50% women A diversity and inclusion committee committed to ensuring a safe space for all employees
  • 11. Because of its commitment to a positive corporate culture, Wattpad prefers to be thoughtful about its employee perks. Flex hours Subsidized transit passes Parental leave top-up
  • 12. Data and Diversity are the future of publishing, and Wattpad is proud of its unique position in the industry. We have the most diverse set of story data on the planet, and we are taking an intersectional approach to Wattpad Books.
  • 13. Machine learning is only as good as the data set it starts with, and we are starting with the most diverse set of stories ever found in one location. Our data reflects our community, which is 70% female and includes minority and marginalized voices from around the world.
  • 14. Machine Learning is about finding patterns in data, and then making predictions based on those patterns. Our Story DNA Machine Learning technology looks for patterns at vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure in classic novels and featured Wattpad stories. Featured Wattpad Stories What is machine learning?
  • 15. What kind of data are we reviewing? Writer Activity We can isolate genre trends and character tropes in stories written by a variety of demographics. Story Elements We analyze characteristics like story structure, writing style, story sentiment, so we can understand which stories resonate. Reader Activity We can tell what genres city-lovers in New York read, and compare it to users living in rural England.
  • 16. By collecting over a billion data points per day, we have insight into reading and writing trends at scale. We can see things other publishers can’t.
  • 17. Readership Fast Growth, Time Spent, Upward Trend Social Cues Sharing, Adds to Library, Commenting Story Elements Writing Style, Grammar, Sentence Structure Story Sentiment Emotion in a Story, Overall Reader and Comment Sentiment With StoryDNA We Can Identify Great Stories Before the Story Accumulates Significant Readership
  • 18. Wattpadders are demanding more representation in every genre. Each month of the year, readers spent an average of 1.7 million minutes reading stories tagged #MuslimRomance, #Muslimlovestory, and #IslamicLoveStory.
  • 19. Wattpadders love reading LGBTQ+ stories Readers spent more than 32 million minutes reading stories dedicated to people who identify as #transgender, #agender, #genderfluid, and #nonbinary.
  • 20. Readers spent close to 116 million minutes reading stories tagged #POC, #Diversity, and #DiverseLit, up 41 per cent from 2017. This trend has been seen across multiple genres, such as fantasy, sci-fi, werewolf and mystery. The Wattpad community continues to support characters and writers of color.
  • 21. Wattpadders love to read about strong women. This year, people spent more than 107 million minutes reading stories tagged #feminism, #girlpower, #feminist, and #feminismo, up 43 per cent from 2017. Story uploads also grew close to 40 per cent, with 10,000 new uploads added in 2018.
  • 22. Why is it important that we pay attention to what our community is reading? Because Wattpadders buy books, too. All book buying insights are from Wattpad’s Book Buying Survey which surveyed 1,800 Wattpad users on their book buying behaviours in 2018.
  • 23. Wattpadders like reading free books, but they also regularly purchase books. In the last six months, 81% of Wattpad users have spent some money on books. In the past month, nearly 60% of Wattpad users have bought one book, and nearly 1 in 5 have bought six books.
  • 24. ...And the amount they’re spending on books is significant. Over one third of Wattpadders spent more than $150 on books in the last six months.
  • 25. Nearly half of Wattpadders surveyed said they would purchase a book even after reading the same book on Wattpad. Making the books available for free doesn’t mean Wattpad users won’t purchase them.
  • 26. Introducing “It’s bigger and louder than its competition, which puts it in an entirely different playing field." -
  • 27. How data helps us find great books What were we looking for? Diverse voices Captivating stories Highly-engaged reader community Underrepresented genres Our Fall 2019 List!
  • 28. Thank You Ashleigh Gardner Deputy General Manager, Publishing, Wattpad Studios ashleigh@wattpad.com