If you’ve not discovered Wattpad yet, I highly recommend checking it out. A free writing and reading platform, Wattpad boasts 25 million members and 40 million stories. With apps for most devices, you can also keep up to date on the go. With a decent WiFi or data connection, your wattpad account can be as easy to read through as an eReader.
Most importantly, for writers, Wattpad can be a great place to get your work read. You retain all your rights, you can add, edit, and remove as your leisure, and you can build yourself a readership before your first book ever goes on sale. (If you own the rights to your work, you can even put up works (or samples of) that are already on sale. If you are a traditionally published author, check out what you’re allowed to do through your contract.
Be advised, I’m not talking from a thousands of followers and millions of reads to date perspective. I have just under 200 followers and just over a thousand reads over a number of stories. However, through my use of this platform, I’ve learned a number of things, so here they are, with one for each letter of the platform name.
W. Chapter Length. Keep it short, sweetheart.
When it comes to asking how long a chapter should be, you might as well ask ‘how long is a piece of string?’ However, I don’t feel this is the case on Wattpad. While you can post any length works as a chapter, I wouldn’t recommend it. Many people like to breeze through Wattpad in short spurts, so I’d suggest keeping chapters at less than 2,500 words. If your chapters are long, split them into scenes.
Wattpad stories gain ‘votes’ and ‘reads’ numbers, like ‘Likes’ on Facebook. The more chapters, the more votes and reads one reader will give your story. Perhaps it’s a little devious, but it’s useful!
A. Be a Member. Don’t be that guy.
Anybody scrolling through Facebook these days will tell you how annoying those advertisements are. We don’t want them, we didn’t ask for them. Don’t be that author who constantly shouts about their own work. ‘Read my book, read my book, read my book’ on Wattpad is about as annoying as ‘Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book’ on Twitter. A sure way for people to roll their eyes, and move right along.
Be a member of the community. Join and post in the clubs for your genres. Give people advice and read their stuff! Be honest. Be helpful. Be kind!
T. The Power of the Serial. Serial Fiction, not Serial Killer.
Even if you have the entire story ready to go, consider posting it at regular, frequent intervals. Your followers receive an email every time you post a new chapter, and posting 30 chapters in one go will flood your followers’ inboxes. Not only are they probably a bit peeved they have to click through 30 emails, but you’ve also lost your regular advertisement for them to check out your profile and works.
Instead, consider putting chapters up once a week. That way, every single week, your followers get a reminder that they should check it out. Whatever you do though, make sure this is frequent! At a push, I would say once a fortnight is the minimum you should be posting work. Otherwise, readers may forget the story, or they’ll get frustrated that they can’t continue with a novel they love.
T. Post Multiple Works. Experimentation is an active science.
Unless you only have ideas for a single genre, use Wattpad as a place to branch out and experiment. Post stories from multiple genres, put up short stories, show readers the stuff you never intend to publish. This is a place for readers to not only get to know your work, but to get to know you. Maybe you’ll find something you never expected to work is a fan favourite.
While your work is not exclusive to Wattpad, I suggest giving them some extras that you don’t post anywhere else. Create a story you’re only posting there. Put up short stories that connect to your books. Readers like that stuff, and if they’re already a fan of yours, they will probably sign up to Wattpad just to get at them.
For example, I’m posting a Vampire story called ‘Teeth’ on Wattpad. It’s my most popular story on there, and I’ve found I love writing it so much that I’ll be making a second story out of it, also to be posted directly to Wattpad.
P. Don’t Expect Sales. Do it for the reader, not the royalty.
Wattpad is a free platform, and a large percentage of their members are young adults who may not have a large disposable income. Even if your book is on sale on various platforms, don’t expect them to buy it. Wattpad is not an advertisement, it is a reader platform built for free reading and communication. Go to Wattpad with the intention of getting to know your readers and to make friends with other authors.
Treat each sale as a win, not each non-sale as a loss.
A. Get your Coverage. Because it’s free, doesn’t mean it has to look bad.
You get the option to have a cover image for your story. Use it, and use it well! Just like Amazon and most other platforms, readers will look at your cover image first. If it looks awful, they won’t get any further than that. If your covers are well made and intriging, they’re far more likely to click into your book!
D. Use the Extras! Read all about it.
Wattpad has some extra features, and you should make use of them! When posting a new chapter, under ‘Options’ on the right hand side, click ‘Advanced’. If your book is on sale, you can link to it on Amazon. You can also link to pictures, videos (book trailer anyone?) and on the basic section, input categories and tags. You can even put up a fantasy casting. When you’re not using these options, you’re missing opportunities.
So, there you have it. My tips on how to fully enjoy and make good use of your time on Wattpad.