Two months ago, I wrote about using Wattpad to market your books. I’ve been on Wattpad since then, posting two chapters a week from two books.
Right from the start, my scifi romance Galaxy Girls has hit a few Hot Lists. It’s cool to be on Hot lists. And it’s cool to get comments with every upload. But though praise is wonderful, I don’t write for instant gratification. I write for money. I can tell you that before Wattpad, days would go by when I wouldn’t sell any copies of Galaxy Girls. Ever since I’ve put it on Wattpad, I’ve sold copies almost every day.
It could be that people are just slowly discovering it. (Too slowly!) But I believe quite a few of the sales are coming from Wattpad users. That my sample chapters are selling the book.
Wattpad is starting to do even more for their published authors. Wattpad’s Community Engagement Manager, Maria Cootauco, is working with featured writers to help them build a fan base, and with professional writers participating in the Writer Marketing Partnership Program. This is what Maria originally posted on Wattpad:
If you’re interested in partnering with Wattpad by sharing your story with millions of users, here’s what we can do for you:
1. We’ll feature your book across all mobile and tablet apps and on Wattpad.com.
2. We’ll promote your stories across our social media channels. Our @Wattpad Twitter feed has more than than 10,000 followers and our Facebook fan page has more than 65,000 fans. Every month, we get more than 7 million unique monthly web and mobile visitors. The opportunities for exposure are endless.
What we’ll need from you:
1. You’ll share your complete story on Wattpad (for at least 6 months).
2. You’ll be as interactive with the Wattpad community as possible by responding to reader comments and updating your profile page regularly.
3. You’ll spread the word across your own communities on and offline that your story is on Wattpad.
I’ve contacted Maria, and she sent me more. It was too long to share here, but if you’re interested, you can contact her at Maria@wattpad.com. She did give me the names of three feature writers who have built a loyal fan base:
I noticed that two of these authors write YA books. The third has books that would appeal to YA. One reason I’ve paid attention to this is because Galaxy Girls has a lot of teen fans. I asked Maria about Wattpad’s demographic. Here’s her reply:
…you’re right – the writers who’ve been successful on Wattpad and have been able to translate that into success outside of the community have been younger (between 20 to 35 years old) and I think the reason for that is that generation tends to be the most tech-savvy, and open to interacting with fans and building a rapport that helped make them so popular. It didn’t hurt either, that they were around the same age as their fan base. That said, I do believe you can find success on Wattpad too because it would expose your work to the demographic you’ve already found has been so receptive. Our audience breakdown is as follows:
– 7M monthly unique web and mobile visitors
– 70% female, 70% between the ages of 15-30
– 80% of Wattpad users are readers
I asked a few authors who’ve been featured on Wattpad if it helped their sales. This is from Amanda Havard:
I think it has definitely helped. Visibility helps everything since the challenge in this marketplace is discoverability—especially for a small press author like me. In that way, it means something in concept and in sales that more people have heard of the story or have had a chance to fall for it.
Maree Anderson, whose ebook Freaks of Greenfield High is featured, didn’t notice an increase of sales but is positive about the program. She said “What have I got to lose?” and “I’m treating this book as a bit of a loss-leader—using it to get my name out there more than anything else.”
(On a personal note, I bought Freaks of Greenfield High after I read the first excerpt Maree posted on Wattpad, and I loved it! This proves that some Wattpad users do buy books.)
From Jolyn Palliata, who is helping spread the word about Wattpad to other indie authors:
I haven’t seen a difference in sales. On the other hand though, I didn’t really expect to straight off.
One thing to keep in mind with me is this…the book I currently have featured is not the book I just published. It’s a backlist book (in need of revisions and editing) that I ponied up for free. Now, would I have put up my published book for free if they were interested, yes…I would have. And here’s why: To my line of thinking, 6 months for free is a drop in the pan compared to the life expectancy of a book. I’m just starting off on my Indie publishing journey – I need to connect with my readers and get my name out there. Wattpad provides the perfect forum for this.
Now, given…there’s now way for me to know for sure how this is going to affect future sales, but I’m hopeful. I’ll be able to speak to that fully in the summer when I publish Twisted. That’ll be the first book that I didn’t post on Wattpad as I wrote it, therefore it will be “fresh blood” in my reader’s eyes. I’m hoping by then my fanbase will have grown through the Partnership program, and I’ll have a greater fanbase to launch it from.
I think everyone is going to have a different opinion about all this when it comes down to it. It all depends on what you’re willing to risk for the greater good. And it is just that…a risk. But before you decide what’s best for you, you should have all the facts. The thing is, Wattpad just got 3.5 million dollars in funding from the same venture capitalists that backed Twitter and Tumblr. I, for one, am curious to see where they go with it. Again, it’s all conjecture as to what it will mean, but I do know for certain that attracting Indie writers is part of their bigger picture. If I wasn’t a part of the Partnership program before, I sure would be now – if for no other reason than it would be just my luck to be left in the dust.
(Another personal note: Jolyn’s paranormal novella, Connected, which was previously on Wattpad, is on my Kindle. I plan to read it as soon as my life gets less crazy.)
My thoughts: If you have a YA book, I would definitely give it a go. For others… It’s up to you. It’s visibility and that’s good for all writers.
What are your thoughts?[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/EdieColumn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Edie Ramer is funnier on the page than in real life. A multiple award-winning writer, she writes paranormal romance about cats, dead people, dragons and aliens with attitude. CATTITUDE, DEAD PEOPLE, DRAGON BLUES, GALAXY GIRLS and her short story THE SEVENTH DIMENSION are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.[/author_info] [/author]
Great article, Edie! I’ve been loath to publicize to my writing community that I’ve independently published 3 books — mainly because here, there’s often the attitude of “they can’t have been good enough” (i.e. for New York) around self-publishing your own works. And letting them know I’ve put an entire book up on Wattpad? Where anyone can read it for free? I’m sure they think I’m doubly crazy. But for me, getting messages from Wattpad-ers telling me how much they’re enjoying reading my book is a huge boost at a time when I’m changing direction and unsure of the future.
I was once told I didn’t have a YA “voice”. And it was a bit of a worry to me that the reviews I’d had on Freaks of Greenfield High were from adults. Maybe I didn’t have a YA voice after all? But through my interaction with fans on Wattpad, I realize I do have something to offer this target market i.e. young adults. So along with my beloved adult paranormals, I *can* keep writing YA–something that I love doing–because there is a readership base out there for my YA books. It’s the best feeling! And I have the Wattpad community to thank for that.
Maree, I thought the way you caught the YA voice on Freaks was awesome!
I’m having the opposite experience than you with the writing community. I feel very supported by the writers whose opinion I respect. Only a few have obliquely let me know they think less of self-published writers, but I’m sure you caught “the writers whose opinion I respect.”
If someone in the writing community doesn’t know there have been huge changes and makes snap judgments on my writing because I’m self-published, I don’t think well of him or her.
This is a great post, Edie, and I hope it helps other writers to know what Wattpad is all about. I’ve been a member of the site for over two years, and it truly is like a second home to me. I know the stigma of Indie published writers out there, and I (like Maree) was afraid of what my peers would think of me posting my book(s) for free. But then I shook myself loose and stayed true to my path: I write to be read. There’s nothing more important to me than that. Do I want sales? You bet your as…er, butt I do!! But the experience of posting my stories and interacting with my fans is priceless to me. That is so much more rewarding than just the almighty dollar alone. Sales will come in time – no matter if I publish on Wattpad or not. And, yeah…they may come slower because of it. But I can guarantee you this: I’m sure gonna have a heckofalot more fun this way!! And, if anything else, writing should be fun!! 🙂
Jolyn, Zoe Winters is a friend and I could see how well she was doing before I decided to self-publish. Plus I was reading Konrath’s posts. By the time I made my decision, I knew it was the right one. I never worried that some people might feel there was a stigma. To me, it was logical and right.
You’re right too, about writing being fun. Except when it’s work, like writing a blurb. Which I’ll be doing tonight. 🙂
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Hi Edie, people talk a lot about YA stories. How would you describe them? As written for that age group, or a state of mind.
Given that Buffy was my inspiration, and I wanted to write film, but books and novellas give me the chance to get my work seen, and hopefully have control over promotion, I seem to be writing for that demographic.
My heroines are early twenties, but have found themselves thrust centre stage and having to take control. I’ve not deliberately aimed for that market, but hope that they will resonate with this audience
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i would like to join