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is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date.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: email@example.com
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.
Tracy Joyce says
I’ve been using Wattpad since last year. I have found it extremely valuable in building a fan base and it has helped sell books, but it has also been extremely enjoyable. It is essentially a massive writers’ community. It’s wonderful to read and encourage other writers, particularly younger authors. Howeve,r like any social media site, you “get out of it what you are prepared to put into it”.
Hi, I love wattpad!!!!
I feel so stupid for asking this, I commented on a story and the author said to private message her, is that possible??? If so, how?
If you’re on a mobile device, click the notification tab at the bottom of the screen, then at the top go to “message” and enter their username. If you’re on a laptop/pc, use the drop down menu under your username and click on “inbox”. Hope I helped! 🙂
Mary S. Sentoza says
To be honest I never used Wattpad. In a few months I will promote my first ebook. I wanted to know if a person could include short stories (around 5,000 words).
Also, I don’t feel comfortable including my book on Wattpad for free chapter by chapter). I have seen many authors do this. I wanted to know if I could include a free 3-5 page/1 chapter (as a teaser), or include a brief description for each chapter. At the end of the story to include a link so readers to order my book. Any suggestions?
I posted 11 parts of a novel – The Last Earl – it’s historical romantic fiction. Is there any way to promote it other than interacting with other people in the site?
Of course I understand the whole point is the social media aspect, otherwise the thing lies there like a potato…
But I haven’t been successful at finding books I like and could “follow” and comment on. Or rather I did, Moby Dick and Jane Eyre, but the authors are quite dead.
I am sure there must be some stuff in there by users I woukd like, but I’d have to keep opening and closing books till I did…
Are there any other “promotion tools” at one’s disposal? The clubs and “share your stories” all seem to be closed….
They apparently put “this story is like that one” and “undiscovered in historical fiction”, but what is the criteria and is it algorithms that decide?
Ugh. Feeling old in the Wattpad World…
I love wattpad.com. I have been writing my first book on it for the past week. It is called The Call. My username is Nathaniel_Munoz. I do have a question. If I post a story on Wattpad, can I later take it down and publish it? Thanks
Joanna Penn says
Yes, you can publish anything you put on Wattpad – and you don’t have to take it down either!
U mean that I can publish a book on Wattpad, and I can still publish it later with a publishing company?
Joanna Penn says
Yes, many do.
Stanton Swafford says
I have recently completed my first novel, an 85,000 word espionage thriller. I am planning to publish on Wattpad as one way to market my debut novel. Just this week I discovered you novel A Day in Budapest on that site. My question now is how does one format for publication on Wattpad. Is it possible to copy and paste my Word 2013 document? PDF? I see your formatting is perfect for the site. What is your secret?
P.S. I do enjoy your podcast.
Joanna Penn says
You can just copy and paste each chapter into Wattpad – it’s not a big deal 🙂 You can also write directly onto the platform and get immediate feedback, which is cool
Stanton Swafford says
Thanks Joanna. I will publish this summer with Amazon and others. At that time I will also put the first chapter up on Wattpad and then continue with a series.
Craig A. Price Jr. says
I have been on wattpad for a couple of years and I love it. I write epic fantasy and have always dreamt of being published, even way back in first grade I knew I wanted to be a writer.
Wattpad has been the best writing website I’ve been a part of. The users there hage been extremely helpful, both with encouragement and advice. It has really fueled my writing. I have been featured on there with my novel The Crimson Claymore, which now has over 2.5 million reads. For epic fantasy on a mostly teen site, it is incredible. I have over 6,000 followers. Now I just need to convince an agent or publisher that I have fans and a market for my books. However the rejection keeps coming.
I tried emailing wattpad for details about all the stats on my books, but haven’t heard back yet. I think I’m just going to have my books edited, which will cause me to go broke, and self publish and bring my fanbase over. What do you think?
You can find me on wattpad @ CraigAPrice
Joanna Penn says
This site is all about going indie, Craig 🙂 You can find editors at varying prices here: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/editors/
Craig A. Price Jr. says
Oh and I love the podcast , very helpful information. I’ve only listened to 20 so far, but I have them all on my mp3 player.
Hikari harris says
At first,I just make a story for fun…but…as I make the story expanded…my interest in writing novel expanded too..so…just want to know how to make a good story?
Thanks Ashleigh and Joanna,
I haven’t joined Wattpad yet, but this post definitely helps me understand it’s value. In fact, I plan on heading over there and signing up as soon as I’m done here!
From what I understand so far, once I get to know about the process and community, I can post something on Wattpad and later use it elsewhere?
Do authors use it as a medium for beta-readers? Or is it the final product that is being posted?
Kylie Underwood says
hey I have been writing a book on wattpad, and I really want to publish it! Can you please tell me how to?
Mayanna Jerome says
I wanted to say I love your blog and really appreciate it. I constantly reference back to it if I am stuck or need advice, and seeing as I am an aspiring author you can imagine that’s A LOT.
I recently heard about wattpad and I was wondering how you would go about it if you were in my shoes. I want to self-publish and have finished my manuscript a few months ago. I have my editor and cover designer lined up but I am uncertain if it is even worth it, and I feel wattpad can help me figure that out. What I was considering doing is close to my release date post a few chapters on wattpad, leave it on a hook/cliffhanger and then link it to my actual book. What do you think of this idea?
I just recently published my first poetry book can Wattpad help me promote my book
Daricca Kelly says
So I’ve been on WattPad for almost two years now and I’m looking into self publishing. I have a decently large fandom but have only recently reached seven hundred followers. My fanfictions are very popular but I’ve never put my original works on WattPad. Do you recommend that I wait on publishing till I’m older (seeing as I am only seventeen) or do you think I should try?
Joanna Penn says
I don’t think age is a barrier any more 🙂 Go for it!
Erica Soma says
Hello Joanna, and thanks so much for all the helpful advice! I joined Wattpad awhile ago, but I’ve been working as a ghostwriter for a long time now and client base got so large and I got so busy that I didn’t have time to focus on my own ventures. Now I am ready and have a book I’m ready to put up, but I’m wondering how my ordering should be, or how I should go about it…
I don’t know if I should offer my current book on Wattpad to build my client base, then release my next books on a site like Smashwords or Amazon, or if I should offer my book chapter by chapter on Wattpad, and link to my book so readers can get the whole thing immediately. It’s a smaller novel (likely not to exceed 35,000-40,000 words) and it’s a young adult “slice of life” style romance (melodrama).
Thanks so much, and I’ll be here more often for the excellent advice!
Khwezi Ngema says
I have a book posted up on wattpad and it’s doing pretty good but I would like to know how I could become more succesful and get more readers. I know that I won’t become famous overnight but I would like to get a bit more recognition and feedback. How could I accomplish this?
C. Torres says
I’ve just begun moving my fanfiction from ffnet/AO3, where I have a respectable following, to Wattpad. My question is, I am writing original fiction and would like to offer these to my current fanbase. Is it career suicide to post my original fiction under my fanfiction profile or should I keep these completely separate? Thank you!
Joanna Penn says
I think this would be a personal decision
I realize this is an old post, but it still contains relevant and helpful information on using WattPad. Thanks, as usual, for great content for authors to be!