For those of you who don’t know what Wattpad is, it’s a story sharing site and most recently, a crowdfunding site. Unlike FanFiction.net, Wattpad, is much easier to navigate and more visually appealing. Since joining, I’ve shared several stories from YA fiction, a crime story and even a vampire novel (which I have taken down).
Wattpad has become so hot that publishing companies such as Book Country (Penguin/Random), and Swoon Reads (Macmillian) have copied its business model. Allowing authors to post their manuscripts and letting their “community” to vote it up or down. Those that become popular, are picked up by the publishing company after all the hard work has been done.
My Pseudo Analysis
I signed up for Wattpad little over a year ago, and learned that most of their readers are bored, young people looking for a freebie. And despite what you may have read in the various online publications, there aren’t many agents, or editors looking for talent on Wattpad. Like KDP, there are only a handful of authors who can actually credit their success to the site.
But back to the matter at hand, I shared the first three chapters of my YA novel “Hag” and got no increase in sales and a mere 54 views. My vampire novel did the best with 253 views and three votes. My crime novel, “Fedelta” has 64 views and 3 votes. By the way, “Fedelta” is a free serial story that I’ve been sharing online at the Cereal Authors Blog. Sadly, there have been more views on the CA blog than on Wattpad, and that’s saying a lot since WP boasts of a monthly readership of 10 million people.
The Crappy Part About Wattpad
Wattpad is considered a social media site for readers so, this is a good place to find those who will take a chance on a new author. Like Amazon, there are awards and even features on the home page which Wattpad only gives to those with lots of views and votes. So in essence, it’s a popularity contest which is okay with me, but I’ve noticed they are rolling out the red carpet for authors like Margaret Atwood because of their already solid fan base. For example, when Wattpad rolled out their own crowdfunding venture several months ago, only certain authors with a large number of followers were allowed to participate. I’m guessing it’s because they wanted their program to start off successfully. That way they can pretend their site is better at raising funds than Indiegogo or Kickstarter.
I see this site becoming increasingly newbie unfriendly.
How to Get Comments & Votes
If you want to have a go at it, Wattpad has several pieces of advice for authors and here are the top 7:
- Make sure your profile has a picture of you, the real you.
- Upload often and consistently.
- Read and comment on other stories.
- Share via social media; Facebook, Twitter etc.
- Upload video and audio files to your work.
- Be sure that your book has a cover picture.
- If your book is available on Amazon or B&N you can add an external link to it.
Notice the tips above are very similar to those given to bloggers, so why not just create a blog and promote that? There have been several authors who have had success blogging and even tweeting their books. You don’t need a middle man. But I digress…
I believe if you put a lot of work into building your audience on sites like Wattpad, Goodreads, or even Scribd, it will work. Unfortunately, this will be an audience of freebie seekers and not fans of your work. Fans buy books, not followers.
Since I’ve published my first book in 2012, I’ve noticed that getting visibility for my book isn’t hard at all. It’s getting people to PAY for my book that’s the most difficult part of self-publishing. As of today, I haven’t met any indie authors who have seen an increase in sales due to their platform on Wattpad. The common sentiment in the indie community is that it’s a complete waste of time, like Goodreads.
So what are your thoughts? Have you used Wattpad and if so, what were the results?