Months ago, Wattpad HQ approached me with this idea. They told me that they wanted to find a way to help writers monetize from the stories, then they introduced this Wattpad Next program that would require readers to buy coins before they can read chapters from a story. My first reaction was, “No. Nope. Not gonna happen. Not here in the Philippines.” I told them that although the idea and the premise were good, it’s just tad too hard to attain. Here in the Philippines, people like ‘free stuff’–and that includes free reading in Wattpad. And it’s fine, really, since when they signed up in Wattpad, they signed up for free reading, hence, this backlash was understandable.
The main argument that I kept on seeing was that most of the readers are students and therefore do not have the money to pay for the coins. I understand this, really, but if the story is that good, it surely must be worth a few pesos. It wouldn’t even cost you that much. Save twenty-five pesos a week to read the story. And just think of it as a way to reward the author for a job well done. Because seriously? Writing is hard. It’s taxing. What’s a spending a few pesos to show gratitude to the author who worked hard to give you something to read?
Plus, not all stories will be monetized. It’s always up to the author. Surely the author you follow won’t monetize all of his/her stories. There will still be free stories for you to read. There’s no need to panic, really… But if the story you want to read is monetized, there are literally millions of stories in Wattpad that are free for you to read. Focus on that. Look for hidden gems. That way, you’re saving money and helping the undiscovered writers gain an audience.
But… but I seriously think that this idea would benefit both readers and writers in the long run. Writers who want to focus on writing can now do so. I know many writers who want to just write, but they can’t since they need to work for a living. Yeah. Shocking. Writers are humans, too. They need to work to survive. With this program, they can now dedicate their time to write stories that we all enjoy! It’s a win-win, right?
All these being said, I hope that we’ll give this program a chance. It’s progress. It’s improvement. Let’s not shut doors just because we got scared of the change. Let’s support the writers so that they may continue to do what they love and make a living out of it! That way, they can produce more stories! And for the readers, don’t fret. Wattpad hears your sentiments. I am sure that they’re taking every post into consideration. Let’s just enjoy this beta, and see what will happen next.