Welcome back for Part 2 of Diversifying Your Platforms!
As we discussed last time, diversifying your publishing platforms can help an author reach a larger audience that won’t necessarily sit down and read through more traditional formats.
Today we’re going to be discussing Wattpad.
What is Wattpad?
Wattpad is a fiction archive. An app, website, and reading/writing platform, Wattpad is a collaborative place where readers can find new stories, new authors, vote on their favorites, and leave comments. Authors can fill out their own profiles, upload cover designs for their book, add separate chapters at a time (good for weekly scheduled writing . . .) and even add interior art throughout the text in each chapter!
Benefits of Wattpad:
- It’s Portable: Whether that’s through their website, or the nifty app on iTunes and the Google Play Store, it’s good for catching those readers on the move.
- Reader Reach: Wattpad’s reader reach is enormous. Considering they reached 18 million subscribers in 2013 (per Publishers Weekly), Wattpad is certainly popular for those who are looking to increase their audience.
- Multitude of Genres: Wattpad has nearly every genre of fiction available, from Sci-fi to Fantasy to Romance.
- Experience: Wattpad costs literally nothing to upload and many of its functions mirror the skillset one needs to succeed in e-publishing. Preparing a story, cover, and description for Wattpad can help the writer learn more about the whole book design process from the ground up. The skills you develop re: story proposals, manuscript formatting, and overall design are very important for nearly every print and electronic platform.
- Contests: Wattpad often hosts short story contests for writers. Sponsored by big companies and sometimes by Hollywood movies, it’s certainly a way to motivate oneself to keep up the writing.
- Advertisement: Just like with podcasts, Wattpad’s services can function as effective advertisement. Do you have a short story you’re interested in giving up to the Gods of Writing as a sacrifice for your readers? Get creative with it. Add pictures. Showcase your writing. Make each chapter a horrible stretch for the reader. At the very least show off your website. Get enough feedback, and Wattpad could possibly broker you a book or movie deal . . .
Wattpad also has a few drawbacks to consider:
- You’re Giving Away Product: An independent author has to think of their work as their product. Anything you put on Wattpad isn’t going to make you any money up front. The time you devote towards Wattpad, like any other kind of advertisement, is time that will actively detract from your paid work (until, of course, you build up an audience).
- Audience Engagement: Just like all mediums, Wattpad stories require a following to continue being relevant. Countless advice exists on how to achieve this. Consistency is key: a story with a long schedule is important, as is keeping up to date on the days you schedule another chapter. Actively engaging with your readers, by going and tagging their stories, leaving positive comments, etc. also helps to cultivate a readership. It’s important to understand that Wattpad, just like any creative outlet, won’t just magically attract readers all on its own. Cross-promotion with blogs, podcasts, and separate social media platforms can help grow your audience.
Is Wattpad for you? That’s up to you to decide. Do the research and think about how your writing and resources can be applied to this new format. If it’s an easy fit, then consider it. If it’s not, consider if you have the time or resources to devote to it.