Social media ladder - Wattpad and Goodreads for writers

23 February 2014 / 4 comments
I feel like I’m a fully fledged member of the Wattpad community now. The other day some girl dedicated a chapter to me … which was actually song lyrics from some group I’d never heard of! But nevertheless, it gave me some warm and fuzzies! The whole thing was random, but I liked it! I’ve now had readers asking me to keep going with my abandoned YA novel Silver - they seem to be engaged with the story and it’s enough incentive for me to get back into it.

I listened to a Creative Penn podcast the other day, interviewing Ashleigh Gardner, head of content at Wattpad, and she said that only 10% of people on Wattpad are writers. With 24 million users – that is a huge pool of potential readers! And while many of them are after genres that I certainly ain’t writing, some of them may just stumble across my work (and I’ve got this lofty idea of inspiring some kids to try something new … after I’d graduated from Virginia Andrews as a teen, I was reading Peter Carey, Raymond Carver and Tolstoy before I’d finished high school). The other thing that Ashleigh Gardner said is that the audience has an audience. I hadn’t thought about it that way before - but if someone votes for your story or makes a comment, then their followers see what they’ve said and attention on your work spreads further.

I just found out on Friday that my 10,000-word story Bequest has been selected as a featured story for Wattpad at the end of April. This could mean thousands of reads for that story, which is really exciting. Especially because I’m getting such a buzz out of just having people read my work. I love that my thoughts can enter someone else’s head, have a dance with their memories and experiences, and come out differently formed. Some readers have commented on my stories chapter by chapter as if we are in the same room together. I’m also able to see how many chapters people are reading, when they are dropping off in the story and which chapters they like enough to actually vote for. Wattpad is giving me stats and insights that are incredibly valuable.

The other great thing about finally having my work out there in the public domain (both my Searching for Von Honningsbergs book on Screwpulp and the stories that I’m posting on Wattpad) – is that it’s the ultimate delusion test. For a long time I’ve had huge doubts in my head, am I just crazy to think that anyone is ever going to want to read my work? Should I be spending more time relaxing on the couch watching My Kitchen Rules instead of time alone writing in the study? Should I spend more time searching for the perfect orange cushions to buy for the outdoor couch rather than building a platform on social media? Should I wash the sheets more often? Should I get another two hours sleep each morning? But I’m finally really testing how readers are reacting to my work, and so far it’s been positive.

I’m the first to admit that I become really enthusiastic about a new social media discovery, but can tire it after a while. But at the moment, I really think that Wattpad is the place to be for writers (… and if you are reading this and decide to give it a go please do connect with me at I feel like there are too many people talking on Twitter and no one listening. Besides writing 140-character witty tweets isn’t really my thing. I need forums where I can showcase what I am good at. Twitter is handy for promoting this blog, but not for what I’m trying to achieve with my writing. And I feel as though Facebook is pretty much a waste of effort. I know with my kids party places blog that I can post something and it might only get viewed on 30 people’s walls, even though I have far more followers than that. Unless you are on Facebook all the time, or you’re prepared to pay for boost posts, then what you post isn’t necessarily going to get read very widely.

So Twitter and Facebook are sliding down my social media ladder, Instagram is in the middle as a bit of fun (and because I like visuals so much), and right at the top right now is Wattpad and Goodreads jostling for first prize position. In the last month or so, I’ve also been trying to build up my presence on Goodreads. This is another great place to find readers - all authors need to do is request author status on their personal profile page. Again, Goodreads has excellent virality. For example, I had one person place Searching for Von Honningsbergs on their ‘to read’ shelf - from that one person two of their friends shelved it, one is currently reading it and the other read it and wrote a fabulous review.  I’m able to browse through people’s ‘favourites’ shelves - see if we have common interests, and send them friend requests. They might just like the look of Searching for Von Honningsbergs and shelve it. Or, over time, we might just enjoy reading each other’s reviews and that is just as valuable.

Last night I discovered I’d somehow become #190 of the top reviewers in Australia … which is rather surprising, as I don’t feel like I’ve reviewed much at all … but when I clicked on this link I found the most fabulous resource – a list of the top reviewers in the country. These are the people I want to connect with! People who are reading a handful of books a month … and they’re out there – you just have to find them! But there’s no point me connecting with someone who’s into paranormal romance or action adventures. These people aren’t going to be into my books. I need to find people with a similar taste to me. And Goodreads allows us to see this easily. Check out this link – and then find the one for your own country. It will also tell you the top users, top readers, most popular reviewers and most followed. This information was so golden, I almost wanted to keep it to myself. But because you’re reading my blog post … I’ll share it with you!

My stories on Wattpad:
My Goodreads page:

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