Today, I’m very excited to have a guest blogger, Ali Jordahl. Ali’s an incredibly talented high school writer from New England. I asked her to talk about Wattpad a bit, because she’s been using it for a while, and a lot of writers I’ve spoken with aren’t quite sure how it works. So if you’re curious about Wattpad, I think you’ll find this post very helpful.
Thank you so much, Ali for taking the time to share your insight with other writers!!!
Writing is something I’ve always loved to do! I love creating stories, and I’m constantly thinking up new plot ideas, new characters, and new stories. As a teenager, I find that my entire focus point is on schoolwork for the majority of the year (even now, I am reading, writing, and studying for my classes in the fall).
I did, however, find a website that changed the way I saw writing. A few years ago a friend of mine recommended I look at Wattpad.com. Wattpad is an e-book community in which users can post stories for other users to read. Each chapter can be voted for and commented on by other users. This gave me endless opportunities for my writing! I wasted no time in starting my first Wattpad story.
Wattpad is its own little community – except this community is huge! There are users who are famous because of extremely popular stories they have written with millions of views, comments, and votes. Recently, Sourcebooks has begun recruiting those popular writers who already have millions of followers (followers are notified whenever the person they’re following posts a new chapter) and publishing their work. These writers have written these popular stories in as short as a month.
My experience on Wattpad has not led me to have hundreds of thousands of followers. I do, however, have 163 followers to date. I have three teen fiction books in progress on Wattpad, plus a poetry book. I update chapters when I can, although it’s sometimes hard to find time to write. The more regularly you update, the more readers you get.
That was the catch! The motivation was there, but suddenly I had readers waiting, putting pressure on me. I loved the feedback I was receiving, but it was an entirely different world than that of an author. I was posting my story chapter by chapter. It wasn’t possible for me to edit out a plot point, change someone’s name, etc. without messing up the story for my readers.
There are pros and cons when I use Wattpad. For instance, Wattpad has helped me to majorly develop my writing. I know I’m not the best writer in the world, but adding to those same stories I started three years ago has allowed me to see how much my writing has changed. I’ve learned what my target audience for my stories likes and dislikes. Wattpad even gave me the idea to start my own blog in which I can exercise my writing skills weekly with blog posts.
Wattpad also, however, becomes too much at times. I am writing my three stories simultaneously on Wattpad, plus a fantasy story that I’m working on that is not published on Wattpad. The story off of Wattpad is actually the longest, coming in at around 130 pages written so far. I get bored easily with one story, so having more than one to work on is advantageous, but having four to manage and add on to can be hard.
Wattpad most certainly isn’t for everyone, but it is an amazing way to get noticed and establish a fan base for an author. Many of my favorite authors have accounts in which they connect with readers and post the beginning chapters of their books, telling fans to buy their book to read the rest of the story. I recently posted on Gennifer Albin’s message board (the author of Crewel), telling her how much I loved her book. She actually replied the next day, thanking me for my support! That simple connection inspired me to look to see if she had published a sequel to Crewel. I will now be buying the next two books as soon as I can. Through a simple connection, she inspired two book sales – without having to spend a dime on promotion! This type of instant publicity is great for authors like her who have a teen audience – the vast majority of Wattpad users are teens and young adults. I recommend it for any author trying to establish a fan base with teens.
The one thing I can tell you about my experience with Wattpad is that my work is being read and enjoyed. I don’t have a book published (yet), but I do have my writing on the internet, being read by people every day. I have developed more as a result of exposure to other writers my age and readers interested in the type of book I am writing. That exposure has brought me so much more confidence with my writing, and has helped me (and is still helping me) to become a better writer!
In addition to writing, Ali likes to act, sing, dance, play the piano, and, of course, read. You can find her work on Wattpad under the username “writeforfun”. Ali also has a blog, Once Upon a Time, that she updates with posts centered around reading and writing. Take a look at Ali’s blog at onceuponatimeblog.weebly.com