If you will ask someone about a free site where they read stories, you’ll definitely hear a common answer from them–which is Wattpad. As we all know, the site has been up for a few years already, providing free stories for readers and became a training ground for aspiring writers.
One of those writers is me. I was introduced to Wattpad back in 2012 through a common friend. Since it was free, I was convinced to sign up and post my works. Honestly, I can’t even remember the first story I published. The only thing I’m sure of is that I wrote Prince of the Vampires back in 2013.
Yeah, you’re probably thinking that it had a lame title. Easy to guess plot and everything, but hey, people liked it. As of January 2017, it has a total of 2.4 million reads since the day it was posted. If you are a Wattpad writer, you probably know how hard it is to carve your name on the site. A million numbers of reads is no joke, I swear. There are a lot of great writers everywhere. Some of them even got to see their work come to life! Remember the novels which were published and now available on bookstores? How about the others which was shown on big screen and television?
The competition was tough, but I didn’t really mind. I focused on making a lot of revisions in every chapter to make it better. Grammatical errors, plot holes and more. What I have achieved was something I am proud of. I mean, not everyone gets the chance to get a big number of reads. I went through a lot of promoting and editing, and I believe my hard work just paid off. Now, please don’t think of this as bragging though. Hehe! Just like what I’ve said, I’ve worked hard for its success and I believe I have the right to be proud of it. Anyway, back to the story!
I’m not sure exactly which year it was (because I’m too forgetful and not good at keeping track of dates), but Prince of the Vampires was featured in Wattpad. You see, when you go to the homepage of the site, you’ll see recommendations of different stories. Considering the number of users in Wattpad, can you just imagine how much advertising it gave my story after it was featured? Yep. Exactly.
When it reached one million reads, I was absolutely overjoyed. Different thoughts came into my mind, such as ‘Why did they read my story?‘ ‘How did I wrote that?‘. I did not really expected that they will actually like my story, considering that there are a lot of good stories out there. Because of the good feedback that I received, I decided to submit it to a local publishing company. Every writer dreams of having their work published, and it is the same for me. After four weeks, they informed me that it was rejected. Of course, I was a bit disappointed. It was my first try after all, but I just shrugged it off as I told myself that better things must be coming my way.
This is the wonderful part: Last June of 2016, I received a message from a Wattpad Ambassador named Maria. (Hi, Maria! How are you?) She was asking me about the rights for my story. She said, a company was looking into it to publish in a graphic novel. You probably won’t believe me, but I did stare at my phone for a good couple of minutes. A lot of things were running on my mind back then. How did they find me? Why did they pick my story? I know I’m lacking when it comes to confidence so I didn’t really believed that they liked my story. But still, I didn’t want to let go of an opportunity so I grab it immediately. I gave my email to Maria, and then I was introduced to Miss Sharleen Sy.
Honestly, I was afraid when I first talked to her. It was my first time talking to a professional who’s had a lot of experiences already. I was a small puddle of water, but she was an entire ocean. Miss Sharleen was truly kind. I’m pretty sure I was slow at times, but she was really patient with me and made sure I understand every step of the way. She gave me a background of their company, which was Manggo Entertainment. I did a bit of research, since I wanted to know them as well.
Manggo Entertainment is a new company which was founded last 2016 by Sharleen Sy, Barry Sy and Whilce Portacio. I googled each one of them, but I didn’t find much except for Sir Whilce. Would you believe it? He is a comic book superstar! Wow! If you’re a big fan of comics, you’ve probably seen his name in various comics out there. He’s a very talented guy who worked hard to reach the top, and that makes him an inspiration for a lot of Pinoy artists out there.
Anyway, these people told me that my story was going to be Wattpad’s first ever graphic novel! At that moment, I can’t explain how I felt. Knowing that they’ve seen the potential in my story made me realize that I can do so much more. Maybe there are a few things where I’m really good at, and maybe writing is one of them.
As the months passed by, Miss Sharleen frequently gave me updates with regards to the graphic novel. I’ve seen every progress of the graphic novel and was definitely amazed with the talented artists of Manggo namely Ed Tadeo and Kajo Baldisimo. Their artworks were really stunning! For someone who is not really talented when it comes to drawing, I was really amazed. The creative team of Manggo made my characters alive by the descriptions I wrote in the novel itself. Imagine how hard that must be for them! Also, Prince of the Vampires was written in pure Tagalog so Manggo Entertainment had it translated into English through Marcie Taylor to reach more audience.
Finally, Manggo and I were able to release the preview for Prince of the Vampires: The Graphic Novel last August of 2016. It was posted on Manggo Entertainment’s Wattpad account, while the English version was posted in mine. They also created the book cover for the graphic novel from scratch!
In addition, Manggo Entertainment also asked to meet me at AsiaPop Comicon in Manila last August 27, 2016. It was my first time to attend such event because I live in a different city and I don’t really have the time to do so. But I said yes to meet them because I wanted to say thank you to them personally. This graphic novel helped me to visualize the whole world that I created through my story, and I’m pretty sure that a lot of writers will surely love to have the same experience.
I met Miss Sharleen and Sir Barry first. I stuttered when I first talked to them in person because I was really nervous, but they chatted with me as we were waiting on the line so I got comfortable with them in no time. They were very nice and I didn’t felt like I didn’t actually belong. Ah, wonderful people! Too bad I didn’t meet the artists though. 😦
They led me to Sir Whilce’s booth inside the convention, and gave us time to talk about the story. At that point, I was back to being nervous. It was Sir Whilce after all, and who am I to stand in front of him? While we were talking, my hands went cold and some of the words I spit out got mixed. Pretty sure everyone noticed, but hey you can’t blame me! Hehe. Sir Whilce asked me some questions about the story, and I was surprised because he knew the story and the characters very well. Nakakahiya ‘yung plot!
Unfortunately, we only had limited time because I had to go home as soon as possible because it was my Dad’s birthday and we promised to celebrate. I wanted to stay longer to spend more time with Manggo and enjoy the comic convention but I was running out of time. But, we took pictures together! Plus, Sir Whilce gave me and my friend an art print! Yay! It was displayed on my room as of the moment, but I’m still looking for a frame to put on.
Until today, I am very grateful to Manggo Entertainment for giving me this kind of opportunity. This is by far, one of the biggest achievements I received ever since I started writing back in 2011. So, Sir Whilce, Miss Sharleen, Sir Barry, Ed Tadeo & Kajo Baldisimo, and Marcie Taylor: THANK YOU SO MUCH.
This experience really had an impact to me. It gave me more hope to continue my journey as a writer, even though I’ve been struggling at times. I realized that writing shouldn’t only come from the mind, but also from the heart. Once you learn how to love your work, people will also do the same.
If you want to see the wonderful graphic novel, please click the links. Thank you! 🙂
From the girl who was never too brave,