Watt up, Wattpad?
Look, I’m going to level with you: I only just found out about Wattpad. I don’t know where I’ve been for the past couple of years, but there you have it. Somehow I missed the perfect social media site for authors. [Insert slow clap.] But I’ve found it now! Sure, I’m a little late to the party, but that has its advantages – everyone else has already tried it and found out what works. Even better, they’ve written about it. I don’t have to rely on trial and error, because I can just steal their ideas.
If you’re wondering what exactly I’m talking about, Wattpad is a social media site for readers and writers (with up to 90% readers, according to some sites). Basically, you post your work there and other people find it and read it, and maybe give it a gold star if they liked it. (Just like primary school!) As a big fan of sticker charts, writing and social media, this sounds like the perfect site for me. Plus it has a great feature where readers can highlight and comment on specific parts of your stories – so cool!
But where to start? With so many works on the site, how do you attract attention?
Never fear. I have done the research for you, and I’ve compiled that information here, with actual, concrete actions that authors (including me) can take in order to find more readers on Wattpad.
- Find your people. Look for similar authors and follow them. Trawl the comments on the authors’ work and follow their readers. You know these readers are interested in your genre and have engaged with another author’s work, so they’re the kind of people you want to attract to your page. To find these people, do a keyword search. This might take a little time, but it’s worth it to find these active readers.
- Upload polished work. Due to the nature of Wattpad, many stories up there are raw first drafts – typos, continuity errors and all. This means you can get away with first-drafty material, but if you upload something of higher quality, you will stand out.
- Post regularly and reply to comments. Also read and comment on other people’s works. Participate in clubs/forums. (You know how it is – classic social media rules apply.)
- Have a good cover + blurb. You already know this, but people love that shiz.
- Pick good keywords! Don’t just choose publishing jargon – think about what people will actually type into the search bar to find books like yours (e.g.: ‘funny’ rather than ‘humorous’).
- Post small chunks regularly (once a week), but don’t make them so short that your readers will get frustrated. Aim for a chapter or so, preferably with a cliffhanger at the end. (If you’re uploading a book you’ve previously published, you should already have done that at the end of each chapter.) There are rumours that each time you post a chapter your book gets bumped up the Wattpad charts, making it easier for readers to find you.
- Include an author’s note and call to action at the end of each chapter. Ask for feedback on the chanpters, and at the end advertise the next book. Remind readers that if they can’t wait until you post the next instalment, they can buy the book now (and include links).
- Remember to make it personal! This is a social media site. Loosen up. Be yourself. Stop talking like a motivational poster. Wait, what? Oh, that’s just me. Right.
- Be patient. Obviously this is the hardest step. Bring your audience over from other platforms if you can. Like any networking site, it can take time. Don’t panic.
- Use the free book on Wattpad as a funnel. Use your free Wattpad book the same way you use free Kindle/Kobo/iBooks: as a way to funnel people to your website and onto your mailing list. And of course, include calls to action. Everywhere.
Using these steps I plan to do a trial over the next few months – I’ll let you know how it goes.
You can read the first few chapters of ‘Losing Your Head’ on Wattpad now. Head over, check it out, give me a gold star!
Did you find this list helpful? What are your suggestions for ways to gain traction on Wattpad? Let me know in the comments!