What makes something "pop?" I've always found this question fascinating, even before I ever heard of Wattpad. Why did One Direction blow up after appearing on the X-Factor, when so many other singing show contestants never amount to anything? Why did Harry Potter, a debut novel by an unknown author, become a runaway bestseller?
Maybe some things blow up because they're truly excellent. They're unique. They have a good hook. They're catchy as hell...
But that doesn't explain why my Twitter feed was taken over last year by some random check-out guy named Alex from Target. Or why that k-pop video for Gagnam Style went viral a few years back. Or that piece of YouTube dreck called "Friday" by Rebecca Black. Remember that?
So what is it then? A lottery? Pure random chance? Or perhaps a series of lucky strokes that can propel a piece of work into the stratosphere if they happen to align at exactly the right moment?
Wattpad only represents a small corner of the Internet, but it might provide some insight into these questions. Certain books race up to the top of the Hot Lists and rack up millions of reads. Other stories remain largely undiscovered. Why?
To get to the bottom of this question, I decided to go to the source. I interviewed the authors of some of Wattpad's most-read books. I asked them to explain in their own words how exactly their stories took off. Did it happen all at once, like a sudden explosion that took them by surprise? If so, could they point to anything that happened before the explosion that may have lit the fuse?
My hope is that by bringing all their answers together in a series, a pattern may emerge. We may learn some broader lesson about the nature of pop culture in general. Or perhaps there is no pattern, other than good writing and hard work.
In any case, I hope that their success stories will make for some entertaining reading...
YOU ARE READING
Wattpad Fame: An Interview SeriesRandom
First-hand accounts of what it's like to go viral from Wattpad's most popular authors. Do you ever wonder why some stories seem to blow up overnight, while others stagnate with just a handful of reads? What makes a story popular? Is there any rhyme...