As an author, I’m sure that you heard about Amazon. You’ve probably also heard of Goodreads (If not, check out this article on why authors should use Goodreads.)
You may or may not have heard of Wattpad, the social reading site and publishing site that started in 2006 and became a worldwide phenomenon with more than a few success stories (including Margaret Atwood). Wattpad is another platform that self-published authors may consider in their platform. That being said, don’t consider Wattpad as another place to plug your book and get reviews like Amazon or Goodreads.
Wattpad is its own unique creation and something you definitely want to pay attention if you write young adult or fan fiction literature.
Wattpad, that began in 2006, is an international social reading and publishing site with the goal of becoming the “YouTube of books”. Authors publish their stories free on Wattpad for readers to read, comment, and follow. It boasts 45 million monthly visitors who logged in over 15 billion minutes each month.
Wattpad is similar to Goodreads because it connects groups of readers and book lovers. It has one notable exception. Wattpad is about the publishing of original stories. Goodreads is about sharing conversations of published stories. In other words, Wattpad is an online version of a writer’s group mixed in with a reader’s club.
Why should an author consider using Wattpad?
You might be wondering why you need to consider yet another author’s platform. If the above statistics about Wattpad don’t grab your interest, there are plenty of other reasons why you should join Wattpad. (For the record, let’s repeat those numbers again: 45 MILLION visitors who used an average of 15 BILLION minutes each month.)
In addition, Wattpad has a heavy percentage of mobile users under 30 which makes this an ideal environment if you are a YA author.
If that doesn’t convince you, let’s go into some more specific reasons.
- You get active readers, not passive readers. Wattpad readers visit the site specifically to read the next chapter of their favorite stories. This allows authors an opportunity to build a community while their book is in progress.
- You can get paid (possibly). Wattpad Futures (still in beta) is a new ad-based program that pays authors when readers watch video ads. The program is invite-only for now, but may be something to watch in the future. An early run of the program claimed authors earned approximately $1,000 a month or more, although there may be a lot of wrinkles in the program.
- You can show off your writing skills in various genres, without committing to a book. Wattpad’s website encourages two key features, experimentation and audience building, which is very helpful to promising writers.
- You might be picked up by a publisher. It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, a Wattpad author gets a publishing deal. Emily Benet was one of those authors. Anna Todd got a deal for writing fan fiction about the band One Direction.
- You can get involved with writing clubs. Online writing groups are not unique to Wattpad or any platform for authors. What is unique is the amount of activity and support within those groups for writers. If you are looking to chat about writing in a specific genre, writing in general, or books within a genre, Wattpad’s clubs has a lot of options to choose from.
- Wattpad is very popular among young adult readers. This point has been already been emphasized in their article, but it is something that bears repeating. Wattpad’s key marketing feature is the focus on younger readers (13-30) who get attached to your stories. The entire site is geared around this base.
- You can get free attention for your writing (if you are a really good writer). Wattpad offers several opportunities for writers to display their writing talent besides their own profile page. One of the most popular options is getting “featured”. All you have to do is fill out an application. (Note: There is also a “Hot” and “Undiscovered” list but those lists are selected by computer algorithms.)
- You can get (almost) immediate feedback. This is another aspect of Goodreads that is extremely helpful if you are a new writer wanting to test out your content or an experienced writer who wants to experiment with their content. Wattpad encourages readers to read and interact (i.e. notifications when you publish a new chapter). If you have followers on Wattpad, their feedback can serve as a second pair of eyes.
Should I use Wattpad as an author?
The answer, of course, is always up to you.
Wattpad is helpful for aspiring writers and experienced writers (particularly of YA and fan fiction) because it allows those writers to build an audience and display their writing ability. If you fall into that group, Wattpad is probably a good investment. Besides sharing your own work, aspiring authors can connect with other authors in their genre.
There are three caveats, though:
- You must be OK with sharing your work for free.
- Your work must fit Wattpad’s vibe. Wattpad “stories” are serial chapters of your work (Think of a network TV show.)
- You need to be social and have good writing. Otherwise, using Wattpad as an author will have limited value to you.
Wattpad Logo By Unknownextracted by Maxxl2iThe source code of this SVG is valid.This vector image was created with Inkscape. – Cover, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32592724