Wattpad: A Way for Indie Authors to Build an Audience
June 2, 2013
By Maria Cootauco
Wattpad offers five tips on how authors can get the most out of its digital publishing platform.For self-published and hybrid authors, participating on Wattpad is all about the exposure. We have 16 million engaged readers every month -- a captive audience looking for their next great read. For authors, it's a way to build an audience directly on a reading social network. They do it because they see Wattpad as a way to promote their brand, test out new ideas, and find new customers. The writers who are the most successful are those who are engaged with their readers -- they respond to every comment, update often, and share as much as they can.
Wattpad is leading the way in social reading by enabling its readers and writers to be interactive with the stories through our platform. Readers spend more than 3.5 billion minutes on Wattpad every month. With that time, they are reading 600 million stories, commenting 8 million times and uploading 2 million new pieces of work -- and we've been challenged to keep up with their frenetic pace.
Here are some tips on how authors can get the most out of their efforts on Wattpad:
- Writers don’t have a lot of time. You use Facebook and Twitter as a way to connect to readers, but Wattpad is an even more effective means to establish that kind of relationship. Whereas Facebook friends may be more into looking at photos from last night’s party than an upcoming book release, Wattpad is a huge community that has already identified as readers, an entire network of people who are eagerly searching for their next read.
- Harken back to the turn of the 19th century when readers consumed novels via installments in newspapers and magazines. Serializing a story helps build a new kind of loyalty with readers. If your book lends itself well to serialization, it provides you with an opportunity for continuous engagement with your readers. On Wattpad, every time you post a new chapter, a notification will pop up on your fans’ mobile devices. It’s like getting a text message from your favorite author to check out their latest plot twist -- it brings your fans’ attention back to you…continually.
- Share a short story or prequel to whet your readers’ appetite. It paid off for Amanda Hocking who put up the novella Forgotten Lyrics to kick-start a campaign to promote the newest book in her Watersong series. Not only did she post a full book for free, but she engaged readers in a book club. Within a month, she amassed 6,000 followers who show their support through the more than 1,000 comments they’ve posted on her books and profile. Remember that completed books get the most attention because readers like knowing that once they invest in a book, they’ll be able to read the story to the end. It may get you the kind of attention that will spill over into your other paid books.
- Leverage Wattpad’s Content Team. They’re the people behind the popular Featured List and Curated Reading Lists that get a lot of eyeballs on the Website and mobile app. If you can show the team that working closely with you will benefit the community has a whole, they may be willing to amplify your efforts by including you in a reading list that will be viewable by millions of users or creating a social media campaign that will be seen by 105,000 Twitter followers and 555,000 Facebook fans. To find out if you’re eligible, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Co-write a story with a fellow author. It worked for Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman, a Canadian legend and up-and-coming British writer and zombie app developer respectively. The two writers teamed up last year to write The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home, a novella about how a grandmother and granddaughter weathered a zombie apocalypse with the help of some rhubarb and mini-wieners. Each writer would write one chapter, leaving off on a cliffhanger that the other writer would have to write herself out of. For writers who don’t have a lot of time to invest in a new writing project, this is a good way to double up efforts with a fellow writer who is also looking to build some buzz around their brand.
Maria Cootauco is an Engagement Manager at Wattpad.