100,000 reads and 8 things I love about Wattpad

8 things I love about the crowd-writing site Wattpad and writing YA

For anyone who has been reading this blog, you’d know that I’m a big fan of Wattpad. Three years back, I submitted my half-complete novel ‘Silver’ to a YA competition with a major Australian publisher. It didn’t make the longlist. I felt discouraged. I felt like it was never going to fit into YA; it was too slow, there were too many descriptions of fine architecture, there was sex in there, which I’d recently discovered was a no-no for YA (violence is okay, but sex is not, apparently!) I felt like I didn’t read enough YA, I didn’t know the audience well enough. I was so overcome with self-doubt that I stopped writing it. I shifted it to a folder named ‘development’ and forgot about it. Then this year, I discovered Wattpad and all the teen readers on there, and I thought I’d post a few chapters of ‘Silver’ to see how it went down. I started receiving glowing feedback really quickly and reader’s comments like ‘you have to finish this’ and ‘I relate so much to Sylvie’ inspired me to finish writing it.

‘Silver’ is now on the featured list and I’ve just reached 100,000 reads. I’m getting thousands of chapter reads and dozens of comments a day. It seems that I connected with the audience after all.

8 things I love about Wattpad ...

1. I get to know my readers. I get to read their profile and find out a little bit about them such as whether they’re female/male, how old they are, what country they live in, what they like/hate about being a teenager.

2. I get to observe their reading behaviour - I can see how much they’re reading at once and where they're stalling. If people are voting on my stories, I sometimes see them reading 30 or 40 chapters in one sitting!

3. I get reactions from people, which is fascinating and often surprising. Just recently I posted a chapter on Wattpad that I thought was slightly controversial and was sure to stir up a bit of a reaction. I posted it and waited. Complete silence. Nothing. People were reading, but no one commented. Then just this week, I posted what I thought was a rather straightforward chapter, and it received an outpouring of abuse for a certain character from readers. I hadn’t even intended for it to be such a crucial moment in the story. Writers can learn a lot from their readers and we can’t get this sort of feedback from printed books.

4. Wattpad writer @SeeThomasHowl in his piece Persona Grata: Truth & Dare said ‘let your ads be your art’. This is what Wattpad allows me to do. It’s all about my writing, it’s not about 140-character witty tweets, or pretty Facebook posts, I’m a writer, I write, Wattpad lets me showcase my work to actual readers.

5. I’m getting such a blast out of hearing from my mostly female, teen readers, that it makes me want to write more YA. I’m totally blown away by how engaged they are with my story and how they feel like they can relate to my main character, Sylvie. I had no idea they would be such a great audience to write for (although, when I think about it, I never had so much time to read as I did when I was a teenager!). I’m continually delighted by the thoughtful and articulate responses that I’m getting from them - and I feel so positive about the next generation of readers and writers.

6. It’s true, there are publishers looking at works on Wattpad. I had a well-known commercial publisher take a look at ‘Silver’ just last week. If you’re tired of sending out those submissions, spend your time building your profile on Wattpad instead. Who knows, perhaps there’s as much chance of being discovered on Wattpad, as there is in getting to the top of the slushpile.

7. The readers on Wattpad have given me so much confidence in my own work. They’ve shown me that if they trust in the writer, they’ll go along with the story, even if there are a few typos.

8. Wattpad has revolutionised the reading and writing experience. There’s no need for writers to spend years filled with self-doubt and loathing, wondering if there will ever be an audience for their work. They can find out on Wattpad.
Visit: https://www.wattpad.com/user/rowena_wiseman

More about Wattpad:

Social media ladder - Wattpad and Goodreads for writers
Wattpad for authors: 14 Tips for Making the Most of the World’s Largest Community of Readers and Writers 
Why You Should Consider Serializing Your Novel on Wattpad