Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, and that’s Wattpad itself. If you are unfamiliar with what this term means, it is an online writing platform that hosts millions and millions of writers and readers, from every corner of the globe. It has had tremendous success in finding authors, even publishing some of their books and having a few produced into movies and TVs. It also has a bit of a reputation.
Wattpad once was only known for hosting a plethora of bad-boy, alpha, billionaire books and a ton of One Direction fan-fiction. The cheesier the novel, the more popular it was on the site. However, this is no longer 2014. Wattpad has grown and expanded and really developed a culture of amazing writers and brilliant novels. They focus more on promoting original content and in the last several years, the culture of Wattpad has definitely expanded to encompass everyone. Several famous authors are actually on the site, such as Margaret Atwood and Dan Brown!
I was on Wattpad back in the day, as a scrawny thirteen year old, but then I deleted my account and didn’t think about it for several years. In 2018, after an incredibly draining spring semester, all I wanted to do was kick back and write. I decided to use a fun idea for an adventure novel (one I just had sitting around in a notebook) and I started posting my book As the Crow Flies on June 30th, 2018.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I have had an incredibly positive experience with Wattpad. Being able to share As the Crow Flies gave me a sense of purpose and an even deeper sense of happiness. I met one of my dearest friends during my first days on Wattpad and she has been helping with my writing (and personal) journey ever since. I’ve met countless writers whom I’ve grown to adore, I’ve never felt more confident in my writing abilities, and opportunities have been opened to me.
You might be thinking, “So, what, Lev. You posted your book on Wattpad and had a good time. Who are you to try and tell us what Wattpad success looks like?”
Well, you’re partially right, but you are also partially wrong. I’m a Wattpad superstar, nor will I ever be, but I do consider myself mildly successful on the site. Here are some of my “credentials”:
As the Crow Flies won the 2019 Watty Award in Historical Fiction.
I am a part of the Wattpad Stars program.
As the Crow Flies has been added to the Hall of Wattpad Classics.
As the Crow Flies has been optioned to the Paid Writers program.
So I’m not the most successful person on Wattpad. I don’t have a book deal with them, I don’t have millions of reads, etc...but I do okay. And that’s fine by me. I’m really happy with what I have accomplished, because it has furthered me so much as a writer and a person. Also, it’s just a lot of fun to be part of the Wattpad community!
Anyway. I’m going to explain how much I had to hustle to get even that little list of accomplishments and what goes into breaking into Wattpad’s favor.
Be an Extrovert
This is coming from me, the biggest introvert there is. However, it helps when you are online and can be braver behind a screen. What I mean by this is you can’t just post your story and sit back, waiting for the reads to pour in. I suggest:
Doing read for reads. Message writers who seem like they are also newer to the platform, or who seem like nice people, and ask to do a read for read!
Join book clubs. This is a guaranteed way to get reads. There are hundreds of them on Wattpad.
Comment on other people’s stories, vote, message them saying you really like their story!
Enter contests. It draws attention to your book.
I don’t suggest being the kind of “pushy” friendly. That means do not ask people to read your stories by posting on their message boards or in their comment sections. That’s just rude. If you politely message people and actually start talking to them, you are going to get a much better response.
Get a Nice Cover
Your cover can make or break you. This is a shallow thing, but it’s really just true. If your cover is unappealing, then people are more unlikely to read your book. It’s the same thing if you went into a bookstore. Take some time to develop a cover that reflects the themes of the book and fits your genre.
For example, when I first posted As the Crow Flies, I had a cover that I made myself on Canva. I thought it was beautiful, but no one else seemed to think so. So I searched around Wattpad, found a brilliant cover shop, and had a gorgeous cover done, completely for me! I actually still go to her for covers. Her name on Wattpad is @Anonymousmlpfan, if anyone is interested in checking out her stuff.
A good cover is key!
Proofread, Edit, Polish
Now, I’ve seen some rough stories on Wattpad that have...questionable editing yet are very successful. That’s frustrating, but it might encourage you to be a little slack when it comes to proofreading and polishing. I’m not saying that your story has to be at its absolute best when you post it on Wattpad, but make it presentable. The more professional it looks, the more drawn people will be to your work.
At the end of the day, success is defined by you. Don’t measure your merit by how many reads, votes, or comments you have. If pursuing larger goals makes you happy, then by all means, take these tips. (With a grain of salt, of course.) If all you want to do is write for fun and just share your story, then that’s amazing as well. No matter what your Wattpad journey looks like, as long as you are having fun, it will be worth it.
This article was written by Lev Lyonne.