Photo by Beth Reekles on Instagram
If you’ve watched the Kissing Booth on Netflix, then you’ve just watched a movie written by Beth Reekles. Of course, when Beth wrote the book, she was 15 and publishing it to Wattpad for keen readers to enjoy.
The story, published in 2011, saw her win a Watty award that same year, get a publishing deal a year later, and go on to receive 19 million views on Wattpad.
Now she’s signed with a publisher and has a deal with Netflix, the modern-day equivalent to JK Rowling and Harry Potter.
When Beth joined Wattpad on September 18, 2010, she probably didn’t think that all of this would happen or even be possible.
But, more than ten years later and we’re looking at how this level of success is possible and how other aspiring and established writers with big plans can reverse engineer Beth’s success.
Analyzing Beth’s Success
In 2011, when Beth was 15, she never thought her story would become a Netflix classic. Firstly, Netflix wasn’t popular at the time, and secondly, the thought of her book being adapted into a movie was amusing. But, when you consider that the Kissing Booth is about to become a trilogy, the steps Beth took at 15 by publishing her work to Wattpad would be what changed her life – or at least some parts of it.
When you analyze Beth’s success, it all boils down to two key events or decisions that have allowed her to gain widespread notoriety:
#1: Writing what she enjoyed reading
#2: Sharing her work online
Writing What You Enjoy Reading
When you think of a writer, you think of someone slaving away at a PC, jotting down notes, scrapping entire chapters because they aren’t good enough, or include too many plot holes. But, for an aspiring teen writer, this hardly resembled Beth.
Her idea was to write what she would enjoy reading, including plot twists and subjects that fascinated her as a teen.
Although some may think her books are full of popular teen-movie cliches, at the time, it was commonplace for the protagonist and her male best friend to end up together. In the Kissing Booth, however, that isn’t the case, and instead, Elle falls for her best friend’s older brother.
At the time, Beth also had an obsession with the bad boy types and naturally wrote that into the story.
You could say Beth was writing a book for herself, and it just happened to be fascinating to millions of other teens, who kept coming back to the story chapter after chapter.
Sharing Your Work
You’re never going to publish a Netflix classic unless you share your work.
In fact, the next aspect of Beth’s success is her decision to share her passion online – most notably Wattpad, where there’s a growing audience of engaged readers and writers.
Deciding to share her work online is possibly the most significant step Beth took, and the reason she would ultimately get a publishing deal with Random House Publishing and have the book’s turn into a trilogy for Netflix.
The places you can share your stories online are endless: Tumblr is one example. But Wattpad couldn’t have been a better choice for Beth. The site has a large user base that cares more about the story than the credentials of the author. There also isn’t a barrier to entry, like Beth could’ve experienced if she would’ve used a service like KDP.
Both of these aspects are what aspiring writers can adapt regardless of genre. Especially considering that Wattpad works similarly to a social network for readers and writers, suggesting stories that readers will enjoy reading, based on their interests and what they’ve read before.
Using Wattpad As A Springboard To Success
If you’re considering testing the waters as a writer, Wattpad is the ideal place to do this. Because you’re getting instant feedback on your book, chapter by chapter.
The writing style doesn’t have to be formal or overly edited to be appreciated by the audience, and finally, there isn’t any pressure to continue releasing work.
Wattpad also has in-house awards and competitions. Beth won a Watty the year she published the Kissing Booth, which could have contributed to the book’s viral success. But Wattpad also has a partnership with Hulu, Sony, and SYFY, who can adapt books into film or series. In addition to Penguin Random House, Macmillan Publishing, and Anvil Publishing, allowing writers to bring their books to life in bookstores.
Wattpad offers writers more benefits than a traditional publisher, without all the red tape or bureaucracy. As a writer, you get to build a community of eager readers and test your work before taking it to mainstream outlets, if the need ever were to arise.