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Wattpad launches crowdsourcing section to support authors

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(Read caption) Author Brittany Geragotelis is seeking funds for a story titled 'Ki$$ and $ell.'

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Fans of the authors on the writing site Wattpad have a new way to show their appreciation.

Wattpad recently announced it will be adding a Fan Funding component, which will allow readers to give funds to their favorite authors. The initiative is already under way, with one novel, “Catch My Breath” by Tara Sampson, listed as “successfully funded” (it garnered more than $5,000) and two, “Ki$$ and $ell” by Brittany Geragotelis and “A Proscriptive Relationship” by Jordan Lynde, currently raising money. Geragotelis’s series, titled “Life’s a Witch,” was first released on Wattpad before it was published by Simon & Schuster.

Writers have to reach their fundraising goal within a month, otherwise they won’t get any of the money pledged. They can entice readers with extras like real-life meetings and merchandise in an attempt to raise more money. Fans have to be Wattpad members to pledge funds.

The money ensures that the stories, which have not been posted online before fundraising, remain on the Wattpad site. The funds can be used for different causes, including supporting an author so he or she can continue writing. If the goal is met, the proposed story would then be posted for free on the site.

“In this way, writers can use fan funding to gauge fans’ interest in potential story ideas,” the Wattpad site reads.

The funds could also be used to secure professional editing and printing for an author’s work. (An unedited version would then remain on the Wattpad site, whether or not the goal for editing and printing was met.) 

The idea might remind fans of another fundraising website – Kickstarter – but Wattpad CEO and founder Allen Lau said there were important differences between the two.

“If you want to start a project on Kickstarter, you basically ask your relatives, neighbors and friends to fund you, and then expect strangers to chip in,” Lau told the website TechCrunch. “In our case, because we're a social network ourselves, the writers that are participating in Fan Funding most likely have fairly sizable fan bases already.”

Wattpad itself will take 5 percent of any money raised, while Stripe, a payment website for developers, will receive 30 cents per transaction and a fee of 2.9 percent for its services.

The website Wattpad currently receives more than 16 million visitors every month, according to TechCrunch.

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