Killer Clowns, The Next Superstar Boy Band and #NoMoreBullying: Wattpad’s 2017 Year in Review
Wattpad’s global community of readers and writers supported social causes with stories, love fantastic narratives that mix genres
What do werewolves and K-Pop have in common? They are both among the biggest Wattpad trends that inspired readers around the world in 2017. Wattpad today released its 2017 Year in Review, highlighting some of the most interesting and unexpected trends this year. Up-and-coming pop bands, fantastic creatures and genre-mashups are all among the trends that stood out this year.
Inclusive fiction was one of the most important movements on Wattpad this year, as the global Wattpad community of more than 60 million people worked to create more space for diverse voices, perspectives and experiences in writing. Around the world, Wattpadders stood up to bullying and stood with people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community. Each month of the year, Wattpadders spent millions of minutes reading stories that address social issues or include a diverse cast of characters, while writers uploaded thousands of stories addressing these same issues each month.
“With more than 400 million story uploads and billion of reading minutes each month, we see global trends rising in real time, anticipating cultural phenomena before they hit the wider popular culture,” said Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Partnerships at Wattpad Studios. “2017 was a year of empathy and awareness on Wattpad, as people embraced diversity and inclusion on the platform. Stories have the power to connect people from all walks of life and empower different voices, and we’re thrilled to see the global Wattpad community using stories as a way to make the world a better place for everyone.”
Some of the top Wattpad trends in 2017 included:
- Wattpad as the Second Screen: There’s been a lot of talk about TV and second screens in 2017, but for some fans of the year’s most popular shows, Wattpad is the second screen. Wattpadders love engaging with popular TV franchises, expanding their universes and taking characters and plots into new directions. Shows like Riverdale, Game of Thrones and Stranger Things exploded with fan stories this year. Riverdale stood out as a fan favourite, with millions of reading minutes each month, peaking at 7.9 million minutes in October and 54,000 story uploads throughout the year. Strangers Things was also huge this fall, with 7 million reading minutes in October.
- #NoMoreBullying: The global Wattpad Community has always been a positive, inclusive space for storytellers and story lovers everywhere. In 2017 Wattpadders spread that positivity like never before, embracing stories that fight back against bullying. Stories tagged with #NoMoreBullying, #BodyPositivity, and related themes racked up an average monthly reading time of 8 million minutes, powered by thousands of story uploads throughout the year. A community favourite story from this movement was @ClaireKann’s #FatGirl Magic, which set out to create more space in YA to celebrate people of color and every body type. The story currently has more than 1 million reads, inspiring people around the world.
- Increasing diversity and inclusion in every genre: 2017 saw an increase in Fantasy and Science Fiction stories featuring a diverse main cast. Fantasy and Science Fiction stories tagged #PoC had an average of 4.8 million reading minutes each month in 2017. Through the course of 2017 there has been an 84% growth in reading time for genre stories with diverse characters. Diversity and inclusion was a major trend across all categories this year: every month, stories with diversity tags such as #PoC, #Diversity, #DiverseLit, #FreetheLGBT and #LGBTQ+ reach an average of 30 million reading minutes.
- Why don’t we? Why not!: Trends across the global Wattpad community always hint at the next big thing in pop culture, and 2017 was no different. One of the biggest breakouts in music this year was up-and-coming boy band Why Don’t We. The group’s popularity exploded on Wattpad this year, as stories featuring the band went from under 40,000 reading minutes in January to nearly 20 million minutes per month for August, September, October. Watch out for more of Why Don’t We as they leap into other areas of pop culture in 2018.
- Cannibals and Killer Clowns: Horror on Wattpad in 2017 was, well, horrific. Cannibal stories were one of the biggest unexpected trends this year, with thousands of new story uploads and readers consuming as much as 3.8 million minutes in a single month. Killer Clowns were also a major trend this fall, spiking near the release of IT in theatres. The sub-genre grew from near non-existence in January before reaching 9,000 new story uploads in September and October.
- Reading and writing LGBTQ+: #FreetheLGBT was a popular movement on Wattpad this year to increase the number of prominent LGBTQ+ characters in fiction. People spent an average of 13 million minutes reading stories with this tag each month. There was also a surge in stories submitted with the tag after Pride Month, as Wattpad writers took up the cause of LGBTQ+ representation in fiction, adding 2,500 new story uploads in July and doubling the number of monthly uploads from earlier in the year. One of the breakout examples of this movement was @Vapid_Ink’s story Vigilante. The LGBTQ-led superhero story was among the top stories in Action this year, with more than 2 million reading minutes.
- Not your Nan’s romance: Genre mashups were huge in 2017, and one of the most popular was the combination of romance and action. This year saw spikes in romance stories featuring mafia figures and bad boy bikers, totalling more 300 million reading minutes each month of 2017.
- Zombies are forever: True to their nature, zombies never die. Zombie stories are perennially popular on Wattpad, and horror and sci-fi fans devoured stories featuring zombies throughout 2017. Reading time for zombies averaged more than 13 million minutes a month, and The Virus Within, by @CrystalScherer, was the most popular zombie story of the year, with more than 600,000 reads since January.
- Lycanthropy stays strong: Werewolves remained one of the most hair-raising trends of 2017, popular with readers around the world. Stories featuring werewolves are so popular on Wattpad that they make up their own category, combining narrative elements across a variety of genres, from horror to romance and beyond. On the whole, Wattpadders spend an average of 196 million minutes each month reading werewolf stories.
- Spanish-language Wattpadders LOVE K-Pop: Wattpad readers in the Latin America were the some of the biggest readers and writers of K-Pop stories. In January, Latin American users shared 12,000 K-Pop story uploads. By July that number had jumped to 21,000 story uploads across the region. For English readers, monthly K-Pop reading time exceeded 50 million minutes for the first time this year.