OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
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Social media is great for finding fans of you, but what about fans of your writing? Wattpad might be a great option to try.
In the intro, I mention that I have “lost the plot” with Delirium, and also the news that the Top 10 books on Amazon.de Kindle list right now are self-published. I'm excited about that as I have two books out in German this year – Pentecost and Desecration.
The podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
Ashleigh Gardner is the Head of Content at Wattpad.com, the world's largest platform for discovering, reading and sharing stories.
- Wattpad has 24 million users, the majority are readers, with only 10% authors. It's not a publishing platform, more of a social network. Average session length is 30 mins, and 85% read via mobile devices. Serialization is a huge part of the platform, so you post chapters or new parts of the story. All the followers get push notifications to their phone when new parts are added, plus you can also email followers.
- Writers across their careers are writing on Wattpad. Established traditionally published authors like Margaret Atwood, as well as aspiring writers who are just expressing themselves. There have been book deals out of Wattpad, e.g. Beth Reekles, 17 year old who got a 3 book deal off her Wattpad success.
- It is a very popular site for teens 13-18, but 35% of the site is 18-30. If you write YA or New Adult, you should be on Wattpad! Romance and sci-fi communities are very large. Without the gatekeepers, new trends and genres are also emerging. Urban fiction is a flourishing example. Fan fiction is hugely popular e.g. anything with One Direction 🙂
- Wattpad also has a global growth. US, Canada, UK are the largest market but in terms of saturation, the Philippines stands apart. Wattpad is the #1 app and it is driving the physical bookselling bestseller lists. The first movie is being released based on a story written on Wattpad. In terms of data, publishers are talking to Wattpad about trends and upcoming authors.
- There are a lot of works in progress on Wattpad. It's not about critiquing grammar or typos. It's more about the story, the characters and the emotion and you get a lot of feedback in comments from readers who get super-involved in the story. Readers will create art for your books, videos and share as well as comment. They get really excited and involved in the story!-
- How does Wattpad sell books? It's about building a fan-base for your writing, as opposed to your tweets or blog posts. Always include a call to action at the end of chapters as well as in your bio. Use the serialization to advertise your book at the end and you can also link to a sales page in the metadata so readers can click through to buy if they can't wait for any more chapters. It's great for the first book in a series, and if you have something on permafree then why not post at Wattpad as well. I have ‘Pentecost‘ and ‘One Day In Budapest‘ available now with over 250,000 reads between them.
- To start using Wattpad, treat it like any other social network. Follow some people, learn how the etiquette works and the culture of the site. Search for users based on keywords, and follow writers who write similar works, as well as following people who like that kind of work. You can also join clubs in your genre, but join the communities as a reader. Use tags that people actually use in language as opposed to industry e.g. teen love as opposed to juvenile fiction. Consider using it for writing practice, and writing for fun, rather than only for finished works.
For more information, check out Wattpad's 2013 year in review with the highlights. You can check out my books on Wattpad: ‘Pentecost‘ and ‘One Day In Budapest,‘ or you can follow me on Wattpad.
You can also contact Ashleigh's team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have any questions on Wattpad? Or do you already use Wattpad and can share your experience and tips? Please leave a comment or question below.
Laure Reminick says
Lost the plot! Oh my, I’m in the same place with Jaguar Transit. Been going back to the Scapple board to figure out which way, and why, it’s to go from here. Also must make sure it feeds into the next book, so plotting for two books at once.
Laure Reminick says
Finally, I begin to see how I might fit Wattpad in with my efforts. Certainly the idea of truly connecting with readers — as opposed to Tweeters, etc — is a no-brainer concept! Thanks to you, Joanna and to Ashleigh
Greg Field says
I used Wattpad to help me write my first novel ‘Death on Dangar Island’. I would write a section of the draft and then post it on Wattpad. I was surprised how many people started to read it. Just getting someone to read your work is tough, everyone is busy and there are so many forms of entertainment competing for people’s attention, so I was chuffed to just have my story being read.
I started to notice that my output increased as my readership grew. I also started working harder to get the first draft tighter. Knowing people were actually going to read what I’d written was a great motivator.
logan mathis says
That sounds awesome! That for me is the perfect reason to join Wattpad. Good for you!
Mary E.Martin says
Wattpad is a terrific site. I’ve been writing there since 2010. I’ve developed a following of almost 3000 readers. It makes a lot of sense for a writer to work where the visitors are searching for something they’d like to read. But while exposure is essential, the problem remains of how to convert the readers into purchasers.
On the profile page, I can communicate directly with my followers. In my case, I use the blog on my website http://maryemartintrilogies.com to post and then put the link to that post on the Wattpad profile page.
I’d certainly like to hear whatever else writers on Wattpad have found effective.
Robyn LaRue says
I feel as if I’ve been living under a rock! Definitely checking out WattPad!
For some reason I was absolutely convinced erotica wasn’t allowed on Wattpad when I first looked into it, but it seems that was a misunderstanding. This interview has made me beyond excited to dive right in and share some freebies / works in progress on Wattpad 🙂 Thank you!
Steven O'Connor says
I have been on Wattpad for a few months now and am very much enjoying the experience. I have a short story there and am also busily uploading my first novel. I’m particularly loving the enthusiasm and energy from those involved. My latest blog post is about it too!
Thanks for this interview, ladies. Like Joanna, I feel motivated to do a little more over at Wattpad. 🙂
Mckenzie M says
I have wattpad on my phone. I have yet to use it. I will try to make use of it.
Roger Penfound says
I too am a great fan of Wattpad. My first Novel ‘The Guest Who Stayed’ had just passed the half million downloads mark. Makes you feel good. The site has a young membership. The feedback is fresh and uncluttered. Two of my favourites:
Wow, just the way you write this is amazing. I love looking for good writers and you are definitely on my list. – Amaz1ng101
Fantastic sorry, great read, I fell in love with each one of the characters, for different reasons, pulling me into their Family, like I was related and believe me I CAN RELATE, thank you for a great book best wishes. Marsha – Marsha Robinson
By contrast with Amazon – the reviews tend to be less stuffy and technical. Wattpad has definitely been a great emotional prop when Amazon sales have been low. Its kept me believing I can write.
The problem is, how do I convert Wattpad followers (13,000) of them into buyers of my books. I’m still working on that. I’ll let you know if I find the answer.
I’m definitely launching my next novel on Wattpad in May – a reward for my loyal Wattpad followers.
Lorna Reid says
The more I hear about Wattpad, the more interested I become. One thing I’m uncertain about, however, is are you allowed to serialise a book that you are/plan on selling, or is that considered ‘bad form’? For example, can I post a few chapters up, and then try and entice readers to buy, or is it only right that the whole book go up for free and hope that they will become purchasers of my other works?
Hi Lorna, you’re allowed to do anything with your writing on Wattpad! What I’d recommend though, if you’re only posting an excerpt, is to be explicit with your audience and let them know what to expect. Someone who reads and gets to the end to find it’s unfinished is more likely to be annoyed than if they started the first chapter knowing it was a sample. A good example of a writer who created a great author’s note letting her fans know what to expect is here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/11359493-deeper
If you do only plan on posting an sample, I’d recommend sharing a short story or another standalone piece alongside it to drive more traffic to your profile to discover the excerpt.
I love this your suggestion. I’m going to try it when I get onboard wattpad. I’m even going to screenshot it so I don’t forget.
Jeff Bach says
Good stuff! I just sent the first five chapters of River and Ranch up to Wattpad. Interesting space so far! Looks to be interesting figuring out how to reach out…….Good article Ashleigh! You convinced me to do something on Wattpad after a couple years of merely looking at it. Now I’m in it.
Wonderful interview! I had no idea Wattpad even existed, and that let’s you know just how old I am! I just wanted to make sure I was clear on this point: if I have a paid book on Amazon, I can serialize it on Wattpad and it will not cause Amazon to price match to free? Is that correct? And again, thank you so much for this interview!
J. J. Wilbourne says
I just subscribed to your podcast on itunes after finding this audio. It was really helpful in learning what wattpad was all about and how I could possibly use it if I end up in the self-publishing route or if I end up in the traditional route.
Also (being an US male), your voice is absolutely enchanting. So I that’s always a plus for listenability. 🙂
Thank you for creating such a great resource.
Curt Reynolds says
I write poetry and have about 40 poems from over 30 years. They are not in any collection or volume; however, I am interested in putting some on Wattpeg for sharing/review. Two questions. First, is much poetry put on Wattpeg (I see mainly stories)? Second, is it appropriate to put some of mine on the site and label it simply “Poems,” or something similar, in lieu of a specific title?
Antara Man says
Great info and tips Joanna! I become a fan of yours. Sorry that guest posts are not any longer available here but maybe that may change, what say you?