I’ve been meaning to experiment with Wattpad for a while. It first came to my attention that Wattpad.com was a concept worth looking into back about a year ago, but it wasn’t until I attended the CanCon Convention last fall in Ottawa that I learned the power of what it could do for an author.
Wattpad.com is basically social media for readers. Yes, I said READERS. Authors can post works in serial format, usually a chapter or episode at a time, and readers are free to read what you post. There are a few ways to be discovered by people on the site, through tagging your work clearly, and by getting featured, or making friends on the site with other authors of similar works who might be kind enough to suggest their readers check out your work.
Now you might wonder why it’s worth putting your work up on such a site for free. Wattpad has a huge membership, (tens of millions all over the world and growing) and any author who would like to develop some readers (that’s why most of us write) can actually get their work read there. Some authors use it to develop a larger following of fans. Many offer their first book in a series free there, and then people can buy their others at an online book retailer. Even Margaret Atwood has put work up on Wattpad.
I also like Wattpad because it’s Canadian. Their offices are right here in Toronto.
My primary intention for using Wattpad to post my young adult fantasy novel “Ungloved” is to make myself edit it and get it finished. I’ve done a complete and fairly nice first draft so far. It’s a real motivator to know that people are actually reading your stuff. I posted recently and I can’t help but check a couple of times a day to see how many reads I have. So far it looks like about 51 people have read it over the weekend. I’ve been told that as I post more chapters, people will be more willing to give my work a try. The one thing that turns off a reader on this site is getting into a story only to have the author stop posting the rest of it. I promise I won’t do that!
Now authors might be a little worried that posting on Wattpad is going to give away their “first rights” and that a publisher might not be interested in publishing their work after that. While that might technically be true, the book business is changing, and editors are keeping a close eye on Wattpad and other sites for indie authors worth acquiring books from. Wattpad keeps statistics on the number of people who have read your work. I doubt the 51 people who have read mine will make a difference to my publishing prospects, but I’m intending to publish this one myself. If it takes off by some miracle and becomes a Fifty Shades type phenomenon, I doubt a publisher would really care that some people have already read it.
Most aspiring authors have trouble finishing their work. Writing is hard. Really hard. And frankly, no one really seems to care that I’m writing a book, except perhaps my mom and my awesome daughter. Sometimes I think everyone is writing a book. In the end, all I care about is the book I’m writing; hoping it will see the light of day. When it’s finished, I’ll publish it and start another.
If you are interested in checking out “Ungloved” on wattpad, you can find it here. Note that I will be having this novel professionally edited before final publication, so it may differ substantially in the end.