Much like in the music industry, authors often find that the vast majority of their money goes to their publisher. Since most authors couldn’t possibly handle the cost of publishing thousands of books, that’s often not too bad a trade. But today Wattpad and Lulu have announced a partnership that could prove that authors can make money from publishing their works on the mobile internet.
Who are the companies involved?
Lulu is a self-publishing company. You pay them, they publish your book and ship it to you. Part of the strength of Lulu is that they’ll print incredibly small orders all the way up to orders of thousands of books – and you can get better services from them for more money. But Lulu offers authors the chance to get their books published without signing massive royalty agreements. The author retains more control.
But Lulu also offers help with publishing ebooks – in various formats and to various platforms. And this is where Wattpad comes in.
Wattpad is a community of e-writers – people who love to write and share stories. It’s set up so that amateur novelists have somewhere to publish their work and get feedback. And Wattpad is joining forces with Lulu to offer what they call an “end-to-end” solution for writers.
What’s the deal?
According to Allen Lau, CEO of Wattpad: “ his year the number of titles published on Wattpad will exceed that of traditional publishing as a whole.” But Wattpad is an entirely non-profit website. The deal with Lulu connects Wattpad authors to a mechanism that can monetise their work.
Publishing on mobile?
Wattpad is already very up to date with mobile. It has applications that allow people to access the site across all the major mobile platforms, as well as having a mobile optimised version of the website.
Now you’ve got Lulu – which can easily create channels for these authors to sell their work as professionally formatted ebooks on various ereaders. And then you’ve got the proliferation of ereading devices like the Kindle and Nook – and the growing excitement surround the Apple Tablet as an ereading device (see our earlier story).
The leap from “free community” and “monetised marketplace” is a difficult one to make. But mobile could help the community at Wattpad to start generating an awful lot of revenue. Well… maybe. One of the most popular books on Wattpad at the moment is called “Why Do I Keep Waking Up, To Find My Brothers Best Friend In My Bed”.