I received a request for a follow up to my December post on Wattpad’s Writer Partnership Program. I’m so glad that it was asked. I’ve heard GREAT news from two participants and very satisfied news from a third, who’s only had her book up a short time.
The first report is from Brittany Geragotelis, aka BrittTheBookSlayer:
Publishing my books on Wattpad has been a life-changing experience for me. Before I discovered the site, I was just an aspiring author, who’d experienced a few close-calls and about eight years of rejection from agents, editors and publishers. When I heard about Wattpad, I was wary of posting my stuff on there for free. I’d been told by published authors that you never give your stuff away for free. But when I really searched my soul, I realized that my love for writing wasn’t monetarily-driven (sure, it would be AMAZING to be able to be paid to write, but it wasn’t the reason I did it). The point of me writing was to get my stories out there and allow people to read them. And at that time, my books were collecting electronic dust on my desktop. So, I gave it a shot and wrote something entirely original just for Wattpad.
The reaction to my paranormal action book, Life’s a Witch, was amazing. From the start, I began to get positive feedback. I was posting one chapter a week, and publishing as I wrote. My fanbase built quickly and for the first time, I was seeing that people really connected with my writing. After just one year of being on the website, I had garnered over 18 million reads of my book, and at the request of my fans, I decided to self-publish the book through Amazon’s CreateSpace program.
Soon thereafter, I began to receive media attention from outlets like Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post and even The Wall Street Journal. Because of this, I was approached by agents (eventually signing with my literary agent, Kevan Lyon of The Marsall/Lyon Agency, a foreign rights agent and a movie/tv rights agent) and then was bombarded by mainstream publishers, which landed me in an auction for the rights to the book. I ended up going with Simon & Schuster in a 3-book, 6-figure deal. Now, the prequel/spin-off to Life’s a Witch, called What the Spell?, will be coming out in 3 e-book installments for .99/each, beginning in October (a first for S&S) and then in hardback on January 15, 2013. The new and improved Life’s a Witch will come out in hardback May 2013 and the sequel, The Witch is Back is set to hit bookstores January 2014. We also have producers interested in making the book into a movie, and hope to have some news on that in the next several months.
I don’t believe any of this would’ve happened, had I not published Life’s a Witch on Wattpad. Not in the way it did, at least. And now, Simon & Schuster and Wattpad are teaming up to see how we can expand upon the fanbase I’ve created there by releasing exclusive Life’s a Witch content to my Wattpad fans. We’ll even be unveiling the cover for What the Spell? on the site on May 29th! Because I was discovered as a result of my presence on Wattpad, I think that more and more mainstream publishers will be looking to the site for untapped talent. The site’s full of passionate readers and writers who want to see people achieve their dreams, and I hope they’ll rally around one of their own to show just how successful indie authors can become. I look forward to seeing where things go from here.
From Maree Anderson:
For me, Wattpad’s not a testing ground for unpublished works: it’s a platform for getting my name “out there”. And Wattpad has been brilliant for that. I’ve done a podcast for them, and a couple of blogs, and I’m getting new fans on a daily basis—and you’d better believe I thank every single one of them, and engage with them where possible, too. Wattpad staff have been incredibly supportive of me every step of the way, and I think what they’ve achieved with Wattpad is incredible. It truly is an international platform.
I’m of the firm belief that readers—i.e. my target market who ARE prepared to pay to read books—prefer a properly formatted eBook they can read on their chosen eReader device, rather than serialized chapters they have to read via a website or app. I’ve had requests for a print book, too, so I’m hoping that when I get around to making my YA available in print, Wattpad readers will want it for their keeper shelf. And at this stage I’m planning to upload an excerpt only after I publish the sequel, so I’m hoping that Wattpad readers who loved the first book will be inclined to buy the sequel in order to read it the whole thing. So I guess you could say I’m making the first book a loss leader and using Wattpad as a platform to do that.
Plus, you never know who is reading on Wattpad. It’s not just a bunch of teens. It’s their mums and dads, too. For example, a 40-something dad who emailed me afterward to let me know how much he, and both his kids, had loved my book. AND the occasional industry professional..such as a the Drama Development Executive of a Canadian production company who read my YA, Freaks of Greenfield High, on Wattpad, loved it, and thought it would make a great TV series. We signed off on the initial option offer last week, in fact. *VBG*
I am 100% positive Freaks of Greenfield High would never have come to the attention of this production company executive via the usual channels of making it available across Amazon, Smashwords, B&N etc.
There’s that whole “exposure” thing again—it’s all about getting your book noticed, right? So despite “reads” not necessarily translating into sales, my Wattpad experiment has most definitely been a success.
From Dale Mayer:
I struggled with the concept of Wattpad initially. My daughter is a huge fan of Wattpad and she’s an even bigger fan of my YA books. I’m enjoying minor success in the indie published world with my books, but as a prolific writer in nonfiction, adult and YA books in multiple genres, it’s my YA books that haven’t found the readership I’d hoped to find.
Most of my YA books are available in print and ebook format. When I first spoke with Wattpad, we chose Vampire in Denial as being the best choice for the site. As this is a serial novel (and finishes with a cliffhanger ending) I knew I was taking a chance of upsetting the readers. Most readers like closure. In truth, this book is only 1 of several. And I figured if the readers liked book 1 then they’d be happy to wait for book 2. Maybe even buy others in the series.
At the time of writing this, my book has been up only a few weeks and I’ve had over 415,000 readers. The comments have been very positive and have given me the much needed confirmation that I am writing books perfect for my intended audience. The second book in the series, Vampire in Distress, is written and is currently in the editing process. I will upload that book slowly, scene by scene as well as publish it on Amazon and make it available in print.
Joining Wattpad, allowed me to connect with my target readers. I hoped to have my writing resonate with them. To my great delight, they love my book and are screaming for book 2. There is no better sound than the cries of ‘more’ to a writer’s ears.
I couldn’t have wished for a better experience. Where it will lead to, I can’t say. But I’m enjoying the journey.
Dale added that she knows she’s made sales of her other YA books, in print and digital, because of her exposure on Wattpad.
If you’re interested in joining Wattpad’s Writer Partnership Program, you can find the information in my December article.