Let’s Explore Wattpad — Part 1

Most of us write because we want to have our stuff read. To have our stuff read three things must be done:

  • Make the writing available to people
  • Inform people of the writing’s existence
  • Get people to actually read the writing

There are various methods of accomplishing all three. One of them is to use Wattpad.

This post is the first in series on using Wattpad to post and promote your writing. These posts are going to be written from the perspective of my own experience, and I’ll highlight what I have found as I move through the process of creating, posting, and getting readers for my works.  I am not going to attempt to create the definitive guide on “How to use Wattpad”.  Others out there have done a far better job than I could.

But if you are thinking about Wattpad and would like watch as someone bumbles their way through using it, learning what you can from my mistakes, these posts might be for you.

I’ll begin with an overview of Wattpad itself.

What is Wattpad?

Wattpad is a social media platform dedicated to readers and writers (authors). It is sometimes described as the “Youtube” of readers. Wikipedia describes Wattpad as “an online community where users post written works such as articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems, either through the website of the mobile app.”

There are clubs, discussion forums, and writing contests. Wattpad even has its own annual award system for Wattpad users — “the Wattys”.

Wattpad is free.

As a author you create you account, post your work(s) and interact with others through the commenting and rating system. Fiction writers categorize their work by genre and then refine the categorization by adding tags to make the categorization more “granular”.

Works can be posted in whole or in serial format with pieces (usually chapters) added on a regular basis. How regularly is up to you — daily, every other day, weekly, hourly.  In fact Wattpad encourages serial posting.

You can even add images and videos to your story content.

People read your writing and can rate it using a star system.  If they wish, they can comment upon it.  Likes a social media site you can follow people and receive notifications when they post or update their work.

Who uses Wattpad?

If you are serious about promoting your work to potential readers you must be aware of who they are.  This is crucial because those readers may not actually be Wattpad users.  So who uses Wattpad?

There’s a few articles on the web that try to answer this question.  One of the best is A Profile of Wattpad, A Profile of Us! by Michael Limjoco.  Appropriately enough the article is published on Wattpad.  Michael is a successful author on Wattpad and Amazon, and he lays out his information sources at the start of the article.  

It’s worth reading the whole thing, but here are a few highlights:

  • 109 million unique visits every month (2014)
  • 36 million unique visits from the US (20% of total)
  • India and the Philippines together supply 27% of the total visits
  • Wattpad has more readers than writers (perhaps not surprising)
  • Wattpad’s users are overwhelmingly female
  • Wattpad users are overwhelmingly mobile in their content consumption

So if you are writing for an older male audience who consumes content on a PC, Wattpad may not be right for you.

Wattpad Elements

Like any social media site (and Wattpad does operate as such in many ways) there are several elements with which to become familiar:

  • Account set up — regardless of whether you are a reader or a writer you need to create a profile.  This allows you to read and comment upon the postings of others, as well as upload your own. You’ll create a profile, select a background image (if desired) and tweak a couple of other settings.

Wattpad Profile

  • Posting — Wattpad provides an editor for writing (or copy and pasting from other mediums).  You can publish, update, un-publish, link images and videos, and carry out other minor editing and formatting tasks.  This includes tagging your posts as well as providing a synopsis if appropriate (for a novel, for example).
  • Interacting with others — Wattpad provides a number of ways with which to interact with others.  You can comment on postings send general messages to all of your followers, or join discussion boards.
  • Reading — you can search for stories by genre and create your own readings lists what others may view. 
  • Contests — Wattpad runs a number of different contents, with the Annual “Wattys” being the most “prestigious”;  Wattpad members can even create their own contests.
  • Etiquette — I’ve called  Wattpad a social media site because it encourages interactivity.  Like most social media sites there are expected behaviours, the violation of which is frowned upon. 

So there’s my quick overview; I may have missed an element here or there, but I’m confident I have hit the highlights.  Next time I’ll cover account and profile set up.

What about it, fellow indie writers — do any of you use Wattpad or plan to?

 

 

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