Making Wattpad Work for You - V.M. Sawh

Hello Again My Lovelies, 

Welcome to V.M. Sawh’s Very-Much-Wattpad Bootcamp! Where you will learn some neat tips for using Wattpad to your advantage.

What’s Wattpad, you ask?

The Youtube of Writing. Wattpad is the world’s largest online community of readers and writers, numbering over 40 million users on it’s platform. Users who sign up are able to write & post their own stories, which then become available to be read and commented on by the entire community. Based out of Toronto, the site is fully mobile with its own app. With over 100 million stories to read and thousands more added each day, it’s a great resource for making inroads with a newer, younger, international audience.

Woah Woah Woah, What do you mean International? I don’t speak anything but…

It doesn’t matter, because you are free to write in the language you prefer, be it English, French, Spanish, Hungarian, Klingon, whatever you like. The point is, Wattpad is a place for you to connect with anyone, anyone who chooses to read your story. 

I get it, I get to reach out and poke someone, right?

Please don’t poke people. Online, face-to-face, on the bus or in a biker bar, seriously - don’t poke people. What you can do on Wattpad is make some friends. Users are encouraged to write, leave comments and vote on every part of every story they read. Every read, vote and comment is recorded and displayed for you, the author to see and respond to. So if someone leaves a nice comment on your work, feel free to hit ‘reply’ and say thanks! If they ask a question, you are free to answer it or not. This is a marked contrast from markets like Amazon, B&N or Kobo, where the user comments and reviews are meant for other users. On Wattpad, you have to be a user to in order to post your story, so interact! This is how you will grow your audience.

Hey, these kids seem kinda young…. 

That’s because they are. The demographic is 65% teens (13-18), with the rest being adults. Most of the stories are PG-13 rated with the appropriate breakdowns for violence/sex/triggers in content disclaimers. Stories rated R will not be promoted at all, so if your book contains explicit sex and violence then Wattpad is not for you. 

Wattpad is completely equal opportunity, which means that if you’re an adult, you should adjust your interactions with the younger readers appropriately. Wattpad and all of its interactions are monitored. So imagine a big, humourless, sunglasses-wearing agent is looking over your shoulder. If you’re good, he won’t have to hurt you. Got it?

Can I use it for Market Research?

Oh yes, Wattpad represents a direct hook & line to your target audience. For those of you writing YA (and any of its myriad sub-genres), Wattpad will be your jam. You get to conduct some informal market research on what your potential audience is reading by checking out the Wattpad Stories section, which is a curated collection of works worthy of front page status. These will be the most popular, the completed works and the most successful authors. Pay attention to what these authors are doing right. 

Seems like a lot of One Direction fanfiction….

Yep. Those boys make the teen girls go crazy. Remember a portion of your audience may be writing as well.

What are Watty Awards?

These are the annual contests held by Wattpad which are open to everyone. There are numerous categories representing every genre under the sun. Every winning story gets a Featured Story - front page spot. These entries also tend to get the most readers, so it behooves you to enter the contest when it rolls around. There will be front page announcements, and all it takes to enter is adding a specific hashtag to your story.

Cool! Profit, here I come!

Not so fast. Here’s the thing. While Wattpad does present some tremendous opportunities, namely in terms of gaining attention, recognition, representation and perhaps even print publication (see some success stories), but this type of success is rare. Garnering 1000 reads over time however, is totally possible, if your story connects with the audience.HOWEVER, those of you looking to monetize those reads should be aware that WATTPAD IS FREE. Yes, free. As in, every book and story on the site is available to be read by anyone who signs up. If you have a series of books, posting the first in the series as a loss leader can be a good way to garner more interest and gain more exposure for the rest of your series. Look back up at the number of readers. Yes, that’s a big pool. Someone’s bound to pay attention. If they do, you might just make the Wattpad Featured List - stories recommended by Wattpad’s staff. If your work takes off, you’ll make to Wattpad’s Hot List - stories with the fastest rising number of reads.

Okay I’m interested. How do I sign up?

Right here: https://www.wattpad.com/signup
Set up your profile and you can start posting straight away!

 

V.M. Sawh's "Anastasia" was selected for Wattpad's Front Page and has been a Featured Story (selected by Wattpad as being of high quality and worthy of representation) in the Historical category.


V.M. Sawh is the author of the Good Tales For Bad Dreams series of dark fairy tales. His story, “Anastasia” has been a Wattpad Featured Story and made it on Wattpad’s Hot List. At the time of this writing, it has garnered over 14,000 reads. You can contact him on Wattpad, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+  and Facebook.

See? He told you social media was important ;)