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Wattpad is Totally Worth Joining, even for Professional Writers

 As a part-time writer (and part time archery instructor) I have been balancing my two modes of working for years, trying to find the best ways to market my writing and get more sales when I am not busy writing or teaching archery.

Back in May at the prompting of a fellow fantasy writer here in Toronto I ended up joining Wattpad.

And wow.

It was really worth it.

Wattpad allows professional writers (and amateurs) to reach an audience of readers that you wouldn't otherwise be reaching. A very large audience of 80 million monthly active users, and I have good news if your target audience is female: 70% of Wattpad's users are women.

Worried that people might try to steal my writing off the website when I first joined I put a lot of my Fables, Short Stories and Poetry on Wattpad, stories that I didn't really worry about people potentially trying to copy.

(This was before I found out that the website has disabled copy/paste, and that most users on the website access it via an app which also has copy/paste disabled.)

So here's some of the fables, short stories and poetry I uploaded to Wattpad:

Fables

Fables of Korovia (A collection of fables set in Korovia)

The Fable of the Boring Dwarf (A greedy dwarf who owns a hole boring company)

The Princess and the Foxalope (A children's story set in Korovia)

The Turkey Vulture's Tale (Two cursed lovers get their just rewards)

The Fable of the Incubus of Izhamet (A fable for adults about teamwork)

Short Stories

The Bogatyr's Adventures (Anthology Series of Short Stories)

The Hab and the Witch (A cross between John Wick and The Hobbit)

A Hound Named Hunter (A time paradox concerning a wolfhound)

Wulfric the Wanderer (Sword and Sorcery Anthology Series)

The Imp's Arrow (A greedy conjuror gets more than he bargained for)

Brawl at the Broken Blade (A prelude to a novel currently available on Amazon)

The Legend of Dark Maya (How Maya became the goddess of magic and dark magic)

Poetry 

(Most of my poetry these days is based on mythology)

Rama and Sita

The Sumerian Legend of Lilith

Atalanta and the Prophecy of Orpheus

The Voyages of Orion


After realizing the marketing potential of Wattpad, and determining that it was extremely difficult for anyone to potentially copy/paste my stories on there due to copy/paste being disabled (people would have to literally type it out or some equally time consuming method), I eventually decided to put two of my novels on there.

The Girl in the Red Hoodie (A cross between Die Hard, Rocky and the Hunger Games)

The Demon's Pawn (Second Edition, a fantasy novel concerning a young woman who is being watched by demon's with a dire purpose)

I decided to put those put novels on Wattpad for several reasons.

#1. I was still writing "The Girl in the Red Hoodie" and I considered it to be a fun side project outside of my regular routine of writing fantasy novels and short stories. I didn't really take that particular novel seriously, and yet it is currently my most popular piece on Wattpad.

#2. "The Demon's Pawn" was previously on Amazon Kindle, but it never sold well. I decided to edit it and make a Second Edition version that would have significant changes to it. I started writing The Demon's Pawn in 1999 (it was my first story set in Korovia) and it has gone through numerous revisions during the past 21 years. It was published under my pseudonym "Frederic King" at one point and I later determined that the pseudonym was a bad idea and that I was better off using my own name.

#3. You can also sell books on Wattpad, but to do so you need to get "Wattpad Star" status, and to do that you need to write at least two novels that are 50,000 words or more. So I had decided to put two of my less important works on Wattpad, with the hopes that if I gain Wattpad Star status that they will then become more important and get more 'fan traction'.

#4. Because "The Demon's Pawn" and "The Girl in the Red Hoodie" both have female protagonists it should appeal to the 70% of Wattpad users who are female, and because they are both action-adventure stories they won't alienate male readers either.

I have also started putting Excerpts from my other books on Amazon on Wattpad too. If a person reads an excerpt and likes it they will have to buy the book on Amazon if they want to keep reading.

After analyzing how Wattpad works I even wrote a nonfiction piece on How to Become Popular on Wattpad... Following my own advice in the piece I am currently on track to reach 1000 followers sometime in early or mid October 2020.

What is bizarre is that I see writers who have been on Wattpad for 5 years or more, but they still have zero followers. They must be doing the exact opposite things I am doing. I quickly learned that Wattpad is essentially a bit like Twitter and Instagram. Popularity on there is determined in much the same way that social media websites work - follow other writers and they will typically followback. Likewise getting readers is simply a matter of writing good quality writing, lots of it, and sometimes talking to the other writers by giving feedback/comments on their work.

I have also determined that Wattpad is invaluable for getting feedback, even if the work is still technically a work in progress and you are editing it. Other writers (and readers) will give editing notes in the comments in an effort to help you make changes. Some of the comments you can just ignore because some readers just have different expectations of what they consider to be "good".

I have had free samples of my poetry, fables and short stories on my website for years and never once received comments/feedback from readers on whether they liked something or felt it could be improved. I know people were reading them, because I could see the monthly stats and even how much time the average user stayed on individual pages, but people were certainly not feeling obligated to send commentary. On Wattpad it is very different. Because it works like a social media website people often leave comments.

Usually I only get feedback on my books when someone writes an actual book review and puts it on Amazon or GoodReads, but this is comparatively rare. On Wattpad people will leave comments on individual sentences or paragraphs. Detailed comments. Questions. Anecdotes. LOLs.

All of those comments also add to Wattpad's algorithms for determining popularity. The more stars and comments a person gets the more popular they must be.


My Goals on Wattpad

Build a collection of free samples of my writing, including poetry, fables, short stories and even a few sample novels - tempting people to go buy my other writing.

To build an audience of 1000s of followers. (At the time I am writing this I already have 736 followers and I've only been on Wattpad for 4 months.)

Get Wattpad Star status so I can also sell my novels on Wattpad.

Grow and expand my fan base, both on Wattpad and also on my social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Growing a fan base and getting 'fan traction' really relies on people becoming die hard fans of your work and they are anxiously awaiting your next chapter/next book/next short story that you release. The really die hard fans will buy all your books and even write reviews.

Get more sales for my Amazon Kindle books and paperbacks available via https://www.amazon.com/author/moffat. Some of them I may eventually make available on Wattpad.


Why Wattpad Matters to Professional Writers

Margaret Atwood is on Wattpad.

She recognized that Wattpad was a great way to reach readers who wouldn't otherwise know about an individual writer's writing. She even wrote an opinion piece about it for The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/jul/06/margaret-atwood-wattpad-online-writing

What matters about Wattpad is that your writing is made instantly available to a very large of mostly young readers. Mostly millennials and centennials in their teens, 20s and 30s. 80 million monthly users. Roughly 56 million women and 24 million men.

Even if they don't go out and buy your books you are also increasing you name recognition and branding. They might see your name on Wattpad and if you later have physical books in a bookstore those same people are more likely to see your name, recognize it, and then buy your physical books.

Hence why for professional writers Wattpad makes a lot of sense.


Doesn't Wattpad have a lot of Fanfiction and Smut?

Yes, yes it does. And smutty fanfiction too. Wattpad is a huge platform and every genre or subgenre you can think of is on there. Very few things are too outrageous for Wattpad. Werewolf Erotica? Okay. Harry Potter Fanfiction? Tonnes of that on there. People cannot sell fanfiction on there, but it is still there and available.

But lets pretend that your book is similar to Harry Potter... Or you are writing a romance involving werewolves... Then Wattpad would be a great place to promote your writing.

Writing short flash fiction? Wattpad has that too. It has practically everything except a lot of nonfiction... There is a section for nonfiction, but it is full of fiction because apparently a lot of people don't understand the difference between fiction and nonfiction and Wattpad needs to do a better job of monitoring stories that are in the wrong section.

Just because there is a lot of fanfiction and smut doesn't mean that it isn't a good place to find readers. If anything it proves it is a good place to get readers, because FANS write fanfiction. If you want to get more fans then you need to go where the potential fans are.

And to illustrate my point Margaret Atwood currently has 112,000+ fans on Wattpad, and a chunk of the stuff she has on there is advice for other writers. Eg. How to Write a Story Plot, How to Outline your Novel in 5 Steps. She also organizes contests and has samples of her writing on there.

https://www.wattpad.com/user/MargaretAtwood


Want to see what else I have on Wattpad?

Just visit my Wattpad page and browse: https://www.wattpad.com/user/CharlesMoffat

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