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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
SIGN UP FOR G.S. BANKS NEWSLETTER: