I am beginning a new blog series discussing my experience on Wattpad. If any of you are using the social writing and reading site, I would love to dialogue about it.
If you are new to Wattpad, it is a website where thousands upon thousands of writers post stories or novels, typically serially, for free for readers around the world to read. The majority of readers are teens and young adults, largely female, and the content includes high-quality novels that have gone on to be published as well as many lower quality fan fiction stories, etc. The most popular genres are fantasy, science fiction, romance, and fan fiction, though there are markets for most genres.
I approached the site warily at first, throwing up a few sample chapters of an old story about a year ago, to gauge reader reactions, with no fanfare. Meanwhile, other complete stories were garnering millions of reads.
The more I read up on the site, the more I realized I was approaching the site wrong. It is a social network focused on writing and reading. Some writers find great success, and go on to commercial or self publication with much success.
My experience with other writing sites hasn’t been the best. I’ve found most of the time they are designed for other writers, who are reading your work hoping for you to give them feedback. This can be helpful for critique. But if you are a YA writer like me, you wonder how real teens will like your story, versus writers trading critique-reads.
If building readership and engaging with real readers is what you want, then Wattpad may be the site for you.
As I worked on a new project, I decided to test the waters, and really give the site a go. I have begun posting chapters serially for my new fantasy THE SHADOW WATCH.
I am only a couple weeks in, and I have quickly found some amazing readers who have left lovely comments and cannot wait for the next chapter. Every day, that number increases. I have experienced nothing like it yet as an unpublished author. You get in-line feedback and reactions from real readers, reading your story because it sounded interesting to them.
Here are a few tips I’ve discovered so far, in order to stand out on the site and build readership:
- Your cover — you need to have a good, professional looking cover. There are so many stories with bad covers that you will immediately stand out.
- Follow readers in your genre — Wattpad lists users who have works written or lists of books they are reading. I follow readers who have followed other fantasy writers. Many of them have added my book to their lists and enjoyed it. I try not to follow writers unless I am reading their work and want their updates.
- Post polished work — Wattpad is not like other writer sites, where you post for critiques. You may get some, but readers are looking for professional-looking stories.
- Interact with your readers — Wattpad is a social network. Consider it more like Twitter. If someone takes the time to follow you or add your work to their lists, thank them. If they comment, write back.
- Give your readers a schedule — I post every Monday and Friday. Readers know as soon as they finish the latest chapter when they can read the next one. It also gives you a deadline and readers who will be letdown if you don’t meet it.
- Read the works of other writers — Check out what some of the most successful writers are doing on the site. How long are their chapters? Do they give readers a call to action? Do they dialogue with readers? You will learn what works, and you will also read some quality stories. Like I said, many top-rated stories find great success beyond Wattpad.
All right, that is all for now. I will be sharing more tips and sharing more experiences soon.
If you are on Wattpad, what have you found works for you? How do you use the site?
If you are interested in reading my fantasy, THE SHADOW WATCH, check it out here: