Top Ten Tips to Starting Out on Wattpad

Wattpad is a writer/reader platform, like a YouTube for stories. There are around 45 million users, so if you are a writer, looking for a home for your work – it could be right up your street.

I joined Wattpad in 2011 and since then I’ve posted 3 short stories, 2 novels and a collection of essays, and had over 2.4 million reads of my work. These are my top ten tips to starting out.

  1. Have a read

The first thing I would recommend is something all writers are good at – grab a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy a good read. There’s all sorts of stuff on there. The majority of the users are female teens, so there’s plenty YA. The Romance and Fantasy genres are strong but there’s also loads of other stuff such as Sci-Fi, Historical and Poetry. Hopefully there’ll be something that will float your boat. There’s an app if you like reading on your phone.

  1. Have a wee think about it

I would definitely recommend, once you’ve had a look, having a wee think about whether this is the right move for you, for this stage in your career. Remember, you aren’t getting paid for the work you post so if you feel you are at a stage where your work ought to be selling, another route may be preferable such as self-publishing on Amazon or any of the other self-publishing platforms there are out there. However, if you are starting out, and you want to practice writing, and put a bit of pressure on yourself by knowing your work will be out there and being read, then Wattpad is a good option.

  1. Post your work – eek

This bit can be scary. You’re putting your heart on the line, you’re revealing your work to the world. To do this, mechanically speaking it is easy enough – you sign up for the website then go to where it says ‘Works’ then ‘New Story’ and away you go. However it may not be so easy on an emotional level. I know, I’ve been there. I remember the battle that raged in my mind between ‘do it!’ and ‘don’t do it!’ If ‘do it!’ wins, and you go ahead and post, you will officially be out there and your work will be available for the entire planet to read.

  1. Persist

One thing I will say is this. Thousands of hits on your story will probably not flood in from the first moment you post. No one may read it, apart from yourself and your boyfriend. Your boyfriend may not even read it. I was able to count the number of followers I had on one hand for the entire first year I was on Wattpad, and that included my own mother and my auntie. That state of affairs continued for what seemed like ages, where my read numbers were very low and my followers close to zero. However, I did keep going and now there are thousands of followers, the reads of my work just keep going up and I barely have time to answer all the comments and messages I receive every day.

  1. Interact

It is a good idea to interact with the other people who are on Wattpad and not take a ‘too cool for school’ attitude. People are there for the community as well as the stories. So it helps if you reach out to others, read their work, genuinely comment and get involved. However, there’s no need to spend so much time doing this you don’t actually write anything.

  1. You could get Featured

At some point whilst I was posting my first novel, the Wattpad staff contacted me and asked me if it could become one of their Featured works. This was a great opportunity because it meant that once the book was finished it was entered onto a page which is home to some of the best works on the website. This gave a good boost to my exposure. I’d say the reason I got this is because I was writing the best work I could at that time and I was writing regularly.

  1. Craftwork

Writing is very much a craft and it takes hours and hours and hours (and hours!) to become a master of it. Wattpad is a good place to do this – it provides an interesting framework for you to work in whilst you dedicatedly hammer your craft. The more you write, the more you improve and if you publically announce you will be posting a chapter a week it keeps you accountable to an audience, no matter how small, and forces you to write, even on those days when hiding under a duvet is a much preferable option.

  1. Know you readers

Steven Spielberg says that in his early days as a director his audience were everything to him, and he constantly strove to know them and to thrill and excite them. Wattpad allows you to know what parts of your work are hitting home, what parts of your work are resonating with your audience. You can also learn to take criticism, and how to take praise too.

  1. Become a Star

Those writers who do gain a lot of traction may be invited to become ‘Wattpad Stars’. These guys are the ones with the most followers and reads, and they can be invited to take part in paid projects with major TV networks and film studios. I was commissioned to write a short story for USA Network to promote the launch of a new TV show. Things are constantly changing on Wattpad and there are new opportunities to be had. You may also receive a free t-shirt like I did. Who doesn’t like free t-shirts?

  1. Find your team

Most writers write alone. But they don’t reach success alone. They do that with help – whether that’s from friends, family, agents, publishers, whoever. There’s some kind of a team alongside every great writer, even if it’s just a long-suffering husband, wife or pet dog. Posting stories on Wattpad can be a great way of finding your gang. When you post, you can promote your work on your Facebook page, or your twitter or wherever. Certain people you already know will take an interest, they will read your work and they will support you. Not everyone. In fact people you thought would support you, may ignore your efforts entirely, but no matter, because the handful that rise up to support you – those are the gems, those are the people you can have with you, all the way to the top.

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I Love Libraries

Libraries are my favorite places. As a youngster I was more than happy to spend days within them pouring over the pages, eating up the words whilst visiting a thousand places and making hundreds of new friends all while sitting in a council owned chair in Lancashire.

I’ve noticed that writers always say this kind of thing when they talk about libraries and sometimes I wonder if we in fact are a slightly different species that originate from a planet covered in books, comfy chairs and reading lamps with cups of tea everywhere. That would be an amazing planet.

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5 Reasons Why Wattpad Rules for Writers

I’ve been using wattpad for over 3 years now, I’ve written a book on there, published two short stories and am in the middle of my second book ‘Animal’. Here’s why I love wattpad.

1. Find an audience

This is numero uno. The first time I saw my first story on wattpad had ‘1 read’ I was out of this world excited. Before that it had been a real effort to get even my best friends to read my work plus they weren’t the exact person I wrote the book for – I write for younger people but until wattpad I didn’t really have many I could ask. With wattpad I have literally thousands, including nearly 8000 followers. I’ve now had over 800,000 reads and I receive messages, likes, comments and new followers every day. There are young people from across the globe writing to me to say how much they enjoy my writing and that alone is a glorious, brilliant thing.

2. Instills discipline

I have learned this through experience – wattpad readers need to be satiated regularly. They are not content for a one off – they want to receive regular updates or else they get super demanding or wander off. So I now religiously write a new chapter every single Monday, without fail come sun, rain or shine. This has meant at times writing the chapter at some ungodly hour through half closed eyes. However it means that no matter how tired or busy I am – I have to get to that computer and spend those hours writing. This is great and I can hardly even imagine now how people get out manuscripts without this constant pressure. As the weeks go by it begins to add up and a few months down the line, hey presto – you have a book.

3. Know your audience

I find that its not just about having an audience, its about knowing them. I talk directly to my readers – I know what other books they read, what music they like, even what their deepest darkest thoughts and feelings are in some cases. I care about and respect the people that read my work and that helps me to write the kind of stories that they genuinely want to read.

4. Gauge success

There is a great new tool on wattpad called ‘stats’ which allows the writer to see the statistics of every update – this means the likes, reads, comments are all available to see and it is incredibly insightful. I can see which types of scenes get more likes and which ones don’t. This helps. No one ever really tells a writer what to write. They decide and yet, knowing the work hits some sort of emotional button on the other side is certainly important for me, I like to know what my readers are enjoying.

5. Gain credibilty

I recently dipped my toe into the world of ‘proper’ publishing by submitting a manuscript of another book I wrote which isn’t published on wattpad. Through the conversations I’ve had with agents and publishers it has shown that they are seriously interested in digital presence. From what I can tell they look at the numbers in terms of followers and hits and they use that as some kind of proof that you are actually good, or at least appreciated by your ‘target audience’. I don’t really think in these terms whilst using wattpad – its more about connecting with readers but it has to be said that the incredible ‘platform’ one can build up on there does seem to give a boost to the offering.

 

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