I don’t know if any of you use Wattpad (if you do, hit me up), but I’ve been using it since 2013 and I’ve found some success using it.
‘Success’ can mean many things. For me… it’s that I know people have read or are reading my work.
I really don’t aim very high, I know.
Wattpad is a writing site where people can post poems and stories (fiction and nonfiction) for people to read, comment, and vote on.
I believe the site has a Watty’s every year, a contest between the most popular stories on the site. The number of votes on a popular story can get into the millions, meaning millions of people–all over the world–with accounts are reading that story.
People post drafts of stories, one chapter a week or month–whenever they can post. They post compilations of poems or short stories.
A world of readers
Last year, the site developed this analytics feature that allows a Wattpadian (what we often call ourselves) to see many people are reading their stories and where in the world most of the readers are.
Here’s a snippet of an analytics feature for one of my stories, Cheshire Girl:
I’m not totally sure, but I think this chart means that each part (or chapter) has been read by that many people ever since I posted the story onto Wattpad.
My story, Cheshire Girl, has been read by people in the United States (66%), Canada (33%), Mexico (16%) parts of South Africa (20%), India (20%), and the Philippines (25%). The percentages are what show up whenever I hover over a blue section.
I also get feedback like this:
Look at this.
This is a picture of my book… and my yogurt?
This is a book called Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, a science fiction author and activist. He recently wrote a few Guardian articles about the Apple vs. FBI drama. I happened to find my copy of this book at a 99¢ store.
I kid you not. I found it in the spices section, and I purchased it for only 99¢. I only bought it because the cover looked familiar. I was sure I’d seen it online somewhere.
And then I remembered where.
The entire novel is on Wattpad. For free.
Now, this isn’t about some kind of author strategy. Doctorow does this to make a statement. I’m not particularly interested his message, but his methods. And I believe this one to be a really good one.
Real authors are on Wattpad. They don’t really interact with anyone (which I find rude), but they’re showing up anywhere there are readers. Amy Poehler has an account. So does R.L. Stine. Even Andrew Smith has an account. He’s the author of Grasshopper Jungle, which is currently in-development.
Yeah, it’s going to be a movie.
I’m not promoting the site and calling for writers to use it. I enjoy being on it, though I haven’t been able to do much because of school work and such.
I chose to write about it because of what happened yesterday.
There is this story I’m writing there called Charlie the Vampire. It started out as one of those make-it-up-as-I-go kind of things (how most of my stories start), but it’d been over a month since I last posted a chapter.
About three people are reading it, but only one has taken the time to comment on it. Yesterday, I received this email notification:
I felt so bad because I’d just… stopped working on Charlie. And because this Wattpadian hadn’t been commenting about it, I figured she wasn’t too concerned.
She was patiently waiting for almost a month to read a new chapter to my story!
And this isn’t the first time it’s happened. A couple of other Wattpad stories I wrote had at least one devoted reader who reminded me that I hadn’t updated. One such user kept asking about The Page, back when it was a draft titled The Page, the Witch, and the Princess. If he hadn’t kept commenting for more, I might not have continued it… and I probably wouldn’t have an incredibly modest-selling novel right now.
Wattpad provides you with direct feedback from readers, regular people just like you who want to read something new, something exciting… to read a future best-seller and stick with it from the start.
It might not be a site for every writer or even reader. But it has an incredible community that wants to share the scribbles they take the time out of their busy lives to write… just like us.
Thank you for your time.