So I recently decided to check out Wattpad. If you’re not familiar with WP, it’s an online app (you can also access it on your computer) for readers and writers. Writers can share their books, one chapter at a time, and readers can then follow that author, and you know, read. It sounded good. Like a good place to share my writing and generate interest and build my “brand,” as in “sell my books.”
Okay, but here’s the thing. (You did know there’d be a “thing,” right?) WP is free. Completely. Free to read, free to write. As in, you make zero. Now there is such a thing as “paid” stories, where if you have enough followers, you can get paid with “coins,” which basically is pretend money you earn by watching ads. These “coins” then let you unlock the “paid” stories.
On WP writers gain “fame” by garnering tons of followers, which looks really impressive on their accounts, and then entering contests (which are judged by other readers, writers) and then winning “badges” they can then put on their own page to impress people. You gain your following by offering to read other writer’s “works” and giving feedback and “voting” on each chapter. Then they, in turn, do the same for you. Most of the writers on WP are young, still in high school, and the majority of the reads over there are fan fiction, fantasy, etc.
So how does this help an already published, serious writer sell books? It doesn’t. In fact, it can hurt a serious writer in more ways than one. First, even though WP says your work is copyrighted, there is absolutely NOTHING to keep someone from copying your work and then republishing it elsewhere under their own name. Not one damn thing.
Second, you are competing (and yes, let’s be honest, you are competing!) with other writers who want the same thing you do – to be recognized, published, successful. You are not going to get honest feedback from people who simply want you to say good things back about their own books. They don’t care if you succeed. They only care about raising their own numbers and votes. And to do that, they have to kiss your literary ass, just like you have to kiss theirs. Sad but true.
Third, you’re giving your work away for free. How long did you spend creating your book? How much did you sweat over it? Cry over it? Rejoice over it? Swear at it? Obviously, it’s worth something. Or you should at least feel that it is; otherwise, you might want to rethink your current journey. So why, on earth, would you just GIVE it away??? You might be thinking, well, I’ll just post it on WP for a bit, then I’ll move it to Amazon (this was my initial idea). But think about it. You’ve had it on WP for however many months, tons of people have read it for free. So why the hell, would the same people, your “followers,” turn around and pay money for it now? They won’t. Plain and simple.
**Also – don’t make the mistake of thinking you can have your work, even samples, on WP AND Amazon at the same time. You cannot, by Amazon’s rules. And if you do, and they find out, you risk losing your Amazon account! So don’t do that!
You might think you could just post a sample of your work on WP and get leads that way. Yeah, not so much. Posting a sample does this – opens your work up to be stolen, might get reads just to garner a vote, and then, it will be forgotten. No one on WP wants to read a sample of your romance or thriller. They want a complete book on a Korean boy band or Harry Potter. And they want it for free.
So is WP good for ANYTHING? Well, it depends. If you’re looking for friendship, support, advice on writing, etc., then the forums on WP can help you there. But the same could be said for the many other writing message boards, forums, and sites like Twitter. If you’re young, still in high school, or a recent graduate, or if writing is just a fantasy world for you and you have no desire to make any money from your work, then yes, WP will probably work great for you.
But if you’re serious about this writing stuff, if you want something back for your efforts other than votes and fake money, then my advice is to not waste your time. Because remember, the key to success on WP is voting, commenting, and reading other people’s works. And all of that is time you could spend writing. Your time is so valuable, why waste it in a fantasy world full of pretend success?
Don’t undervalue yourself or your writing. You are worth more than Wattpad.