Landing on planet Wattpad ...

6 February 2014 / 3 comments

A month of so back, I read an article about Wattpad on Mashable titled ‘The Most Active Social Site You’ve Never Heard Of’

The piece said:
‘Eighteen million readers and writers around the world spend 4.5-billion minutes a month publishing, collaborating and skimming text on Wattpad, the biggest under-the-radar e-literature community on the web.’

I had to find out what this was all about. So in January this year I created an account, posted a profile image, made a few slap-dash covers for a short story, an excerpt from a novelette and 10 chapters from my half-finished YA novel that I got stuck on three years back. And I waited to hit the big time.

Nothing happened for a while. I trawled through other author pages wanting to find something interesting. Everyone seemed to be very good looking and it took me a while to work out that lots of those author pics were actually actors or One Direction band members. I found usernames like ‘brokenlove’ and ‘fallonyou’ and profiles with lots of crazy symbols and lists of favourite top 40 bands that people love hearted like this: It was like I’d landed on another planet and I felt very lost.

Then I realised a lot of these readers were teenagers and a lot of the stories were fan fiction. I don’t know much about fan fiction – but it was kind of heartening to see all these kids on there reading and engaging regardless. They seem to also love romance and science fiction and I started noticing stories with over a million reads. Whatever was happening here, was really happening in a big way for some people.

I’ve found a few likeminded people on Wattpad through forum posts titled ‘are there any literary writers out there?’ or ‘anyone over 25 here?’ But I still feel as though my stories on there are a bit like being a headbanger at a rave party (and now I’m really showing my age …). My most hope on the site is my half-finished YA novel … it’s about a 16-year old girl who is forced into an arranged marriage … Australia in the future … society’s backlash to people getting married later in life, vaguely dystopian, that kind of thing. Anyway, I’ve never really known if it would work for teenagers, so Wattpad seems as though it’s the perfect testing ground for that story.

I think that Wattpad has an outstanding interface compared to other writer community websites I’ve used before. It really does feel social, it’s a lot more like Facebook - there’s soundbite comments, user updates and vote/like buttons. It’s a friendly system to use, so I think I’ll persist with it for a little while longer.

I wanted to ask more experienced users how they have built their following on Wattpad. I’ve selected four really interesting authors to feature in this series on Wattpad and you can read their advice here:

Kate Cudahy:

Michael Limjoco:

Jenny Rosen:

Katie Tyler:

And you can check out my Wattpad page here … 


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