Wattpad Announces Winners of the 2018 Watty Awards and Unlocks the Secrets of Story DNA

The largest online writing competition on the planet uses Machine Learning to discover stand-out stories among a record number of submissions in 2018

TORONTO - October 5, 2018 - Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, today announced the winners of the 2018 Watty Awards. A total of 600 winners across 12 categories were selected from more than 362,000 Watty entries. In 2018, Wattpad’s revolutionary Story DNA machine learning technology helped the company judge the hundreds of thousands of stories submitted. A full list of winners is available on the Watty Awards website at https://wattys.wattpad.com/.

The 2018 Watty Awards were the biggest to date, with submissions growing by 28 percent over 2017. Submissions in 2018 came from nearly 300,000 writers, and Wattpad users around the world spent more than 3.32 billion minutes reading Wattys entries since the competition launched in June.   

The 2018 Watty Awards winners include a diverse and global group of authors from around the world, with winners in 10 languages from 35 different countries. Stories like When Best Friends Kiss (@Lena-Presents), How to Be a Girl (@IVEYDOCX), Dialogue Concerning the Imminent Apocalypse (@Sibi21) highlight the range voices and storytelling styles that captured the imaginations of readers all over the planet. This year, Wattpad introduced a new category to celebrate underrepresented storytellers and narratives. The Change Makers category encouraged fiction and non-fiction entries from and about people of colour, women, LGBTQ+ writers, those in the disability community, and other marginalized groups.

Using machine learning, deep learning, and recurrent neural networks, Wattpad’s Story DNA technology allows the company to better understand and discover stories among the more than 500 million on the platform. Story DNA deconstructs stories into their elemental features, such as sentence structure, word use, and grammar employed to find the next best-seller. In 2018, the company deployed Story DNA technology to sort and compare Wattys submissions to existing Wattpad hits and public domain classics to find stand-out work. After identifying the most promising works with Story DNA technology, Wattpad’s content specialists then reviewed submissions to find winners.

“The Watty Awards combine art and science to transform how people share and connect over stories,” said Ashleigh Gardner, Deputy General Manager, Wattpad Studios, Publishing. “As we’ve invested in and grown our Story DNA machine learning capabilities, we’ve increased our speed to discovery, quickly finding new stories from diverse voices all over the world. The Wattys aren’t just about rewarding the Wattpad community: they’re about creating opportunities for writers everywhere.”

Wattpad’s Story DNA insights are used across the company, allowing Wattpad to find new stories to turn into books, TV shows, films, and digital projects. In addition to discovering new stories, Wattpad uses machine learning, deep learning, and recurrent neural networks to improve personalization on the platform. The company’s work in the area has seen incredible results, with some personalization experiments producing an 82% lift in new user reading time.

For more information visit: https://wattys.wattpad.com