So, if you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve joined the website Wattpad. I did this as an outlet for my fluff writing (writing I’m doing for fun and not for profit) and to… I’d like to think… get my name out in front of potential readers. Why? Haven’t you heard? Let me ask you, do you know these names?
If you don’t yet, you probably will soon. All of them are writers who started out on Wattpad and all of them were picked up by major publishing houses. One of them recently was signed for a six figure deal that (I’ve heard it said – not confirmed on my part) also includes a movie deal on the horizon.
But is Wattpad really that big of a deal? Are those of us who are just finding out about it, already late to the party? Is it’s popularity on the down-swing and thus not the linchpin to launching your dream career as an author?
Well, let’s talk about what I’ve learned in my first days on Wattpad and whether or not you should be using it and what for.
Wattpad is a website (and mobile app) where you can publish you writing for others to read for free. You can also find a lot of GREAT stories there to read in your spare time (if you have any.) My biggest caution to you is this – soooo many stories, so little time!
Wattpad has a very high young-person demographic and so there is a fair amount of fan fiction on the site and a wide variety of writing skill levels. This leads to a lot of frustration by users who (whenever given the chance and sometimes in all caps) will let you know about how the quality of writing on the site has “slid over the last few years” as well as how it’s become over-run with “One Direction Fangirls.”
Side Note: I have to wonder how many of these dissenting voices are people who joined Wattpad in it’s infancy, when they themselves were just teens and now (as they are reaching their mid-twenties) their tastes & skill levels are evolving beyond such things? Who can say.
I’ve seen a lot of people suggesting that Wattpad is no longer the edgy writer’s website that it once was and now is riddled with, not only rabid-boy-band-fangirls, but also an unending deluge of people seeking an easy path to becoming the next Geragotelis, Todd, or Reekles.
So, with all of that said, is Wattpad worth REALLY your time?
My two cents: Three (that I know of), out of the, presumably millions of people using Wattpad, have achieved the dream. Many more have built respectable fan bases out of their readers on Wattpad; people which are willing to pay amazon prices for their indie books… and good for them! However, as with all things in life, there is no one or simple answer and I doubt that the vast majority of writers on Wattpad will ever see direct dollar signs for the work they share. The chances of having a major publisher pick you up from Wattpad are (in all honestly) probably pretty slim. So, it’s probably not something you want to bet the farm on.
However, Wattpad is a great tool for other things… I can see where it might help you get exposure, find fans, and give you a wonderful place to practice your craft with instant feedback from readers and other writers. There are some great advice articles out there about how to get seen on Wattpad and how to build a following. I can safely say that I’m not an overnight success there, but my follower numbers are growing and I’m just writing and engaging those who I meet in the clubs (social areas of the site based on book genres.) I wouldn’t say I’ve dedicated a huge amount of time to it.
Like your blog, twitter, facebook, g+ and all the other marketing tools you use… I suggest that you respect Wattpad and other sites like it. If you have time to use it, GREAT! However, if you’re hoping that it’s going to be your magic carpet ride to success – I fear you may be in for some disappointment.
Don’t let that stop you from writing there – just have realistic expectations. Oh and if you ARE on Wattpad… drop by my page. Follow me and I’ll follow you back. I’m happy to look at and comment on your story if you do the same for me. After all, it’s how we authors can support each other and encourage growth in our craft even if this part of the process doesn’t bring home a six-figure book deal.
I’ll see you there!