Wattpad is one of my most recent online discoveries when I was
procrastinating researching ways to find an audience.
I’m an unknown author, and in this new world of Anyone Can Publish, being unknown is a huge problem. What’s also a problem is building an audience for your books from scratch. I’ve read a lot of authors who are very active on a LOT of sites and forums that have subject matter similar to their book themes, but I think this really only works with particular genres. Sci-fi is one that comes to mind as is Steampunk.
I’m not active on those types of sites, and I don’t have the time or inclination to be active on them either. Though I am working on a steampunk idea and I love the fiction genre, I’m not into the steampunk movement, where people don costumes and assume characters and build their own weapons etc. I’m fascinated by it of course, and I love seeing some of the innovations and ideas people come up with, but apart from using those things as research and inspiration, I don’t go much past that.
I’m on twitter, but not as active as what I probably could be. I have a facebook page, but it’s my personal space. I do have an author page I set up about a year ago, but I haven’t made it public, and I’m not sure if I will or not. I also have this blog, which I am terrible at keeping a regular schedule for. I want to get better at that, but at the moment, writing fiction is taking precedent.
I also read a lot of writing blogs and author blogs and a lot of them have articles on what they’ve done to build their audiences and buzz for their books. I know that works for someone else may not necessarily work for me, but I think I have managed to work out how I want to go about getting my books out into the world and earning their keep.
That’s where Wattpad comes in.
Wattpad allows writers/authors of all levels to provide free content to millions of readers around the world. Stories of any length and genre are uploaded in short chunks (chapters or scenes), and readers get the chance to vote for their favourites and make comments on the work. The thing I like is that it gives authors the chance to interact directly with their readership, which is much more personal than a blog.
Some articles I’ve read have worried that if you provide your content for free on a site like Wattpad, readers will become accustomed to free content and not want to pay, but a lot of authors who have used the site share a different experience. In fact, I’ve only just signed up to Wattpad, and added a few stories to my reading shelf, but have already downloaded (paid for) one author’s books from kindle after reading the first in the series or free. I could have just read all his stories on Wattpad for free, but I was so excited by his work I downloaded the next two stories he’d written in the series to my kindle straight away.
I’ve also commented on a few of the chapters for other writers, and have started to make some connections. I imagine they will grow when I put my own work up on the site.
Which brings me to some news. My birthday is at the end of this month, and the blog turns two in a couple of weeks. I’ve been writing for a long time, and finally have a few things written (90% or so ready to go to beta readers) that I’m happy with and think would be perfect to try out on Wattpad.
This Sunday (March 31st), I’ll be posting the first chapter of one of my short novels (still a work in progress) on the Wattpad site. You can read the first chapter of it (and any other stories posted on there) without signing up. If you want to read more though and vote and make comments (which I hope you do), you’ll need to sign up for a free account.
The thing I really like about the way Wattpad works is that on top of the website, they have android and iMachine apps, so you can keep up to date and read on the go, or while waiting for an appointment. Each chunk is designed to be read quickly, so you don’t need to invest a lot of time in one go to read a story.
Best of all, they’re free, and you get the chance to discover new authors, and try out new genres, without having to invest any of your hard-earned.
I’ll post the link to the first chapter upload on facebook, twitter and here on the blog. Feel free to pass the link on to anyone you think might enjoy it.
In the mean time, you can connect with me on Wattpad here.