A publishing platform that combines the functionality of social media with the hosting capabilities of a blog, Wattpad is a community that brings together writers of all genres to connect with readers from around the world. Anyone can read or write on Wattpad through any device—whether it’s on their computer or tablet, or through the app on their smartphone or other device. But how can you leverage the power of Wattpad’s millions of readers to build your audience? For the answer to that, read on.
Publishing on Wattpad: 11 Tips to Build Your Audience and Promote Your Books
Having launched nearly 10 years ago in 2006, Wattpad has grown to 40 million active users per month—the vast majority of whom are readers looking for new writers. Wattpad allows users to comment on specific passages, “vote” for stories (which help in their onsite ranking), and follow their favorite writers to receive updates.
The platform offers a wide range of fiction in multiple genres—including paranormal, romance, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and more. There are also lists for every category that rank the most popular stories of each type.
GENRE CATEGORIES ON WATTPAD
- Science Fiction
- General Fiction
- Short Story
- Historical Fiction
- Teen Fiction
- Mystery / Thriller
TIP #1: TREAT IT LIKE A SOCIAL NETWORK.
With simple profile format and the functionality to chat with other users, Wattpad combines the interactivity of Twitter and Facebook with the content hosting of a blog. When publishing on Wattpad, it’s important for authors to recognize that uploading content is just part of a cycle of social interaction.
Wattpad’s head of content, Ashleigh Gardner, told The Creative Penn that one of the big mistakes authors make on the platform is forgetting that Wattpad is, first and foremost, a social network. And when you join a social platform, you need to learn the culture and start engaging with other people.
In the same way, authors who join Wattpad need to make full use of the facilities. The platform allows you to search users based on keywords, which means you can find writers and readers on the site who are already engaged in works similar to what you write. So post your stories—and then find readers who may enjoy it, and join the conversations on the site (as a fellow reader, not a salesperson). Don’t just broadcast on Wattpad—join the community.
Source: How To Use Wattpad As An Author With Ashleigh Gardner (The Creative Penn)
[Video] Book Marketing: How To Use Wattpad As An Author With Ashleigh Gardner
TIP #2: GIVE AWAY A WHOLE BOOK.
Historical novelist and writer advocate David Gaughran blogs that Wattpad is “another venue where you can get eyeballs on your work,” as long as you understand that the cost of these eyeballs is free content. Gaughran has learned firsthand through other outlets that giving away your work to find new readers does lead to sales. “Will it cannibalize my sales? Possibly. But I also think any such ‘lost sales’ will be more than outweighed by the additional readers this exposure will bring me.”
Source: What’s Up With Wattpad? (Let’s Get Digital)
TIP #3: USE YOUR FREE BOOK TO PROMOTE THE NEXT BOOK.
Historical fantasy author Dianne Greenlay posted her novel Quintspinner: A Pirate’s Quest, the first book in the Quintspinner series. Within a year of uploading the novel to Wattpad–chapter by chapter–she accumulated a half-million reads through the platform. She used that book as the gateway to promote the series.
She then posted several chapters of the second volume, Deadly Misfortune–but not the entire novel–and ended the last upload with a clickable link to its Amazon Buy page. “I have had a steady number of sales of this second book without any other marketing,” she shares on Self-Publishing Advice. “I think that getting Quintspinner in front of so many readers made them so keen to read the rest of the story that they were happy to buy the whole novel.”
Source: How Wattpad Gained My Self-Published Novel 500,000 Reads (Self-Publishing Advice)
TIP #4: TAKE SOME RISKS.
One of the benefits afforded by Wattpad is that you can create a new or alternate identity. Want to try out some other type of fiction? Want to test the waters? Spread your wings and see what happens?
“No one need know how old you are, what your social background is, or where you live,” noted award-winning novelist and poet Margaret Atwood, who sang the praises of Wattpad for The Guardian. If you worry about embarrassing yourself in front of friends and relatives, you’re free to use a pseudonym and an avatar while you share your zombie romances.
Source: Margaret Atwood: Why Wattpad Works (The Guardian)
TIP #5: REMEMBER THAT SUCCESS CAN MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS.
So many authors jump onto a platform and start blurting out their hard-sell pitches because they think it’s all about the numbers. But some authors on Wattpad have found comfort in the sense of community.
As Suw Charman-Anderson reported for Forbes, some authors on Wattpad have used the platform to express all manner of personal trials and difficulties. Given that writing is an act that comes from your soul (if you’re doing it right), it’s no surprise that some authors have found support on Wattpad from like-minded readers and writers.
Source: Wattpad: Serialise Your Writing And Build An Audience (Forbes)
How to Get More out of Wattpad: 6 Authors Share Their Best Practices
How to Publish a Book on Wattpad
Book Marketing: How to Promote Your Fantasy Novel Online
Book Marketing: How to Promote Your Romance Novel Online
TIP #6: SERIALIZE LIKE THE DICKENS.
Reading fiction in a serialized manner, like we now watch consecutive episodes of a show or read consecutive installments of a comic, is hardly a new concept. In the 19th Century, serialized novels were all the rage: These novel excerpts, many of which ended with a cliffhanger, were published in magazines and newspapers, and later collected into novels we know today by the likes of Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
One Wattpad author who leveraged the platform to serialize her novel is Abigail Gibbs. Over a period of two years, the teen uploaded her vampire novel The Dark Heroine, chapter by chapter. As her audience grew on Wattpad, publishers came calling–and Gibbs signed a major deal with HarperCollins.
The author’s choice to serialize was a key factor of her success, according to Wattpad cofounder and CEO Allen Lau. While the model of traditional publishing can take years before the book gets into the hands of readers, serializing the work piece-by-piece can build the audience as you go. “As soon as you finish that first chapter, you can post it,” he explained to Mashable, “and start to generate a fan base.”
Source: People-Powered Publishing Is Changing All the Rules (Mashable)
TIP #7: POST REGULARLY.
To get the most traction out of your serialized novel, you want your readers to come back for more. The best way to build that kind of anticipation is to post each installment on schedule.
Wattpad author Emily Benet serialized her romantic comedy Spray Painted Bananas. As she shared on The Writing Platform, she started out posting one chapter a week, then upped it to two chapters a week. “What motivated me is imagining if I had to wait a month in between every chapter of a book,” Benet writes. “I know I’d have given up reading very quickly!”
As the serialization progressed, she watched the votes and comments come in waves as readers demanded to know what came next. She reached a half-million hits before she finished the book–there were four chapters left–and was signed by an agent. The book was published by HarperCollins under the title The Temp.
Source: My Wattpad Experience (The Writing Platform)
TIP #8: PICK THE RIGHT CATEGORIES, TAGS, AND RATING.
Horror writer Rami Ungar reinfores the value of choosing the right tags and categories for your work, because it helps those with similar interests to find your stories. He also points out how important it is to choose the correct the rating–both because it will help you find the right readers, but will also help impressionable youngsters from stumbling across something that’s not appropriate for them.
Source: Some Tips For WattPad Users (Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors)
TIP #9: STOP WORRYING SO MUCH AND JUST WRITE.
When writing your novel, sometimes it’s difficult to push aside all those thoughts about what you plan to do next. Maybe you want to be a KDP superstar. Maybe you want an agent. Maybe you want a traditional book deal. Maybe you want to be featured on Kobo Writing Life.
Whatever your future plans, you really should stop allowing them to get in the way of just being an author. That’s what Brittany Geragotelis did when she discovered Wattpad. After several years of trying to get a traditional book deal, she realized that she was allowing all of that process to get in the way of enjoying writing.
On Wattpad, she was free to just write what she wanted and share it with the world. She serialized her paranormal actioner Life’s a Witch on Wattpad, and then self-published a paperback edition through CreateSpace. By then, her following had grown to the point that she nabbed a three-book deal with Simon & Schuster.
Further reading: Self-Publishing on Wattpad (Laura Howard: Self-Published Author) and Control Freak: The Differences Between Self and Trad Publishing (Indie Reader).
TIP #10: WELCOME FEEDBACK–EVEN CRITICISM.
One advantage of posting on Wattpad as you’re writing the story is that you can get constructive feedback as you go. Think about it: If some readers catch a trouble spot before you get too deep into the tale, wouldn’t you welcome a course correction now instead of after you’ve already finished the manuscript? Or, worse, published the book?
“Listen to the critics,” notes one commenter on StandOutBooks. “They are not trying to be mean, they are trying to help.” If your readers point out something difficult and you don’t know what to do about it–a plot twist, character development, whatever–the commenter suggests that you hit the search engines and find a helpful author website that will explain how to fix the problem.
Source: 6 Things Every Author Needs to Know About Wattpad (StandOutBooks)
TIP #11: ASK WATTPAD TO FEATURE YOUR BOOK.
Once you’ve posted a complete book on Wattpad, you may want to contact the staff and ask them to feature your book. When your title is a “Featured Story,” this raises your profile across the entire platform–and in front of those millions of readers. A boost from Wattpad means you’ll get way more reads, more comments, and more votes.
To be considered, you need to share the whole work–no teasers, no sample chapters, no tricks to lure Wattpad users somewhere else. There’s no cost to being Featured, but you must promise to keep the whole work on your profile for six months. Your book also needs to be good–meaning that it’s a good read, properly edited, and has a strong cover.
If you think you’ve got a book that deserves to be Featured, find out more from Wattpad: How Do I Get My Story Featured?