When explaining to people where my novel can be found, I often describe Wattpad as a “Youtube for Writers.” Certainly, it is not as big as Youtube, but it’s growing.
I joined Wattpad in late 2014 after reevaluating my views on self-publishing. Largely, I realized this was the route for me to take because it seemed the least stressful. I’m not after turning writing into a career. I’d be happy making a few dollars. What means the most to me is having readers.
And that’s the first reason Wattpad made the most sense to me. I could “publish” my work in an easy-to-read format without having to figure out templates and all the complications that come with preparing a book for self publication.
It also seems to me that while Wattpad is competitive, it seems easier to get noticed on Wattpad than it does in self-publishing. Maybe it’s that there are fewer books on Wattpad competing with each other. Maybe it’s other aspects involving Wattpad’s design. But I think a big componant is that Wattpad is designed around the principles that help authors shoot for success (I say shoot because it can’t be guaranteed).
These principles (which I honestly got from reading other blogs on self-publishing two years go) are the following:
- Produce new content frequently to retain your audience.
- One blogger recommended taking the 3-volume novel approach. Divide your book into three acts, and stagnate the publication of each part. Later, you can put the book into one volume and publish that one as well. Hence, one book has turned into four.
- Give away free copies to build your audience.
- This is not lost money. The value of your book is not equal to the value of the time you spend writing your book. The value is dependent on the demand for your book. When you start out, you have zero demand. And one way to build that demand up is by reducing the readers investment to merely their time spent reading it.
- Produce more free content to build your reputation and create name recognition
- A blog has typically been the #1 recommendation
- Some recommend created a newsletter advertising “exclusive” content for those special fans who let you spam them.
- Turn your readers into fans by interacting with them
- Usually the recommendation is to use social networks
- Support other authors
- Promote their work to your readers and they might promote to their readers.
Wattpad’s app has capabilities that allows authors to use all these principles within one application. You can comment on specific lines of a story and reply to others. You can write on people’s profile walls, send them private messages, and email all your followers by writing on your wall and clicking the “Notify my followers” button. You can dedicate sections of your story to different users and tag different users in your shout outs.
Building your name through one simple application also doesn’t seem to hurt your chances of moving on from Wattpad and advancing yourself to a platform you can get paid on. In 2014, Linda Poitevin conducted what she called her Wattpad experiment. She said on her blog:
In short, I sold more copies of “Gwynneth Ever After” in 9 weeks than I did in the previous 10 months — and that included the book’s launch promotion.
|June 2013 (book published) — April 1, 2014 (10 months)||244||18||42||314|
|April 1 (Wattpad debut April 26) — June 20, 2014 (9 weeks)||243||23||133||399|
Now, she continued the experiment beyond this point and published another book of a different genre. This one she had less success with, but my point isn’t that Wattpad is your ticket to success. My point is that Wattpad utilizes these self-promoting principles exceptionally well.
So what do you think? Are you on Wattpad? What do you love? What do you hate? Feel free to leave your two cents.