Wither Wattpad

I was thinking of putting Pay Me, Bug! up on Wattpad as a way to introduce more people to that story, but I'm not really sure. I sort of have the impression that Wattpad is mostly a YA genre site and PMB! is definitely not that.

Have any of you used it? Thoughts/impressions?

I've been thinking of putting a section of Legion of Nothing up there too. Haven't tried it yet.

If you do, I'll be curious to hear the results.

i'm not familiar with wattpad, do you have a link?


It seems...interesting. Though I don't get the impression that it's mostly YA.

A month back it looked like it was 98% YA. It does seem markedly different today.

My first problem: when you post content you are allowed to link to an external site yay! I can link to the TOC I set up for Pay Me Bug on unexploredhorizons. Well... no, I can't, because I have SSL enabled on my site so you can only reach there using https:// -- and the external link field won't accept "https://", only "http://"...

... which means that even if this experiment resulted in me getting a decent audience over there... it wouldn't translate to visitors on my own site. Le sigh.

This is interesting. It's only for completed works, though, I'm gathering?

No, it looks like they have serial fiction up there. They also have a fan fiction category.

Well I put up Chapter 1. I'll add a chapter a day and let you all know if anything interesting happens.

I put a 6-part story up there a while ago. I'm going to go check how many views it's received with no external marketing by me.



Looks like nothing changed in the past month or so. About 20 people read through it, no feedback, no comments, and I didn't get even a single clickthrough to my site. But like I said, I didn't promote it at all, I didn't fiddle too much with moving it around into different categories, and that wasn't the first place I put the story, so... YMMV, I guess.

So one of the things I thought was interesting about Wattpad was that it was originally setup for reading via phone -- it has now expanded to include a bunch of different mobile devices, tablets, and the web, but originally it was for mobile phone reading.

"Cool," I thought. "That's potentially an entirely different audience. And if that's how Wattpad started I bet their phone & tablet support is excellent."

So I have the Wattpad app installed on both my Atrix 2 and my ASUS eee Pad (smartphone and tablet respectively) and... I'm nonplussed.

When I uploaded my first five chapters to the web account that manages your stories, I was impressed. It preserved most, though not all, of my formatting. The bolded words were bolded, the italics were italicized, there was even spacing between lines and slightly more spacing between paragraphs. When I published chapter 1 and viewed it from the web, it looked pretty good. Pretty readable.

It's... horrible on the phone and tablet. There's no bolded text, no italicized text, and it looks like every paragraph is separated with not one, but two blank lines. I find it intensely distracting and very hard to read.

I thought I had done something wrong, so I opened up a few other stories to see.

No, that's the way it is for all of them.

The good news is that if that's the way it works on Wattpad, the Wattpad audience probably isn't put off by it. And according to Alexa they have a ridiculously low page rank (lower is better on Alexa) so there is a massive potential audience to tap into, so it's not "wrong," but it was very startling.

I have been using Wattpad for several months now for "Tales of the Big Bad Wolf." At first I was sort of posting chapters as they completed, but then expanded to posting usually every other week (compiling two weekly posts or approximately five pages of content per Wattpad's formatting style).

The one real issue with Wattpad is getting noticed, but I benefited from a bump via facebook. I'm not quite sure how they found the story -- but I interact actively with staff on various outlets including FB, Tumblr, and Twitter.

That one facebook bump took up the first installment to 1000 reads. However, the retention declined after that. In reality what I have at this point is about 60 active readers. Most do not comment or vote, but I have a sense of who at least is reading as people "subscribe" or "add the story to the library" such that they get alerts whenever I update.

The one thing I have to say about Wattpad is it's all about immediate gratification. I usually see Wattpadders read stories that have updated one or two days after posting. Their behavior is very different than folks who have to be coached to read off the web. I think this has a lot to do with the community aspect of Wattpad as well as the convenience.

I do plan to keep updating on Wattpad and have been mulling whether to put other stuff up there, including fanfiction or short stories. I'm also considering doing a Wattpad exclusive story whereby I post there first and then my website second... the community there is far more forgiving of "works in progress" and it might allow me to write two serials at once if I have a more forgiving playbox to play in.

Regarding genres: The most popular one right now seems to be paranormal romance and straight out romance. However Wattpad trends likely will change over time. Dystopian should be next ... zombies... that sort of thing if one looks at the current fictino trends.

One thing I've noticed 7 days in that I don't like much: its not registering in their search pages.

When I am logged in and I type "pay me bug" in the search field I get a message reporting 0 results, but it *does* link to the ebook version on Amazon. When I'm logged out, I get no results at all, just a message reporting the search engine couldn't find anything.

But if you search for "ubersoft," you get my account and you see PMB! listed there.

I guess they get so much traffic it's not practical for them to update their search database every night? It's possible but given how often new content gets added there it makes the search engine not terribly useful.

It takes a while to register in searches, but it does show up eventually. However it doesn't show up near the top (page 2) if I search by story title name, and below my Facebook page.

But if I vary the search by character names and such, it does pop up on page 1, but again below my website ... but at least above tumblr (where I post art).

At least that's one good sign -- and that it's actually indexing content ...

So I said I would report once I'd finished posting the whole thing on Wattpad, and today Chapter 42 went up, so...

... One chapter a day M-F (mostly), 42 updates. I have had about 500 reads for chapter 1, and it drops off markedly after that. I did three followers, one like, and one email from someone saying that based on what they'd read so far they actually bought the eBook and thought it was fantastic. So, hey -- that's a good thing.

However, I don't think I can reliably report on how well Wattpad works because it wasn't until today that I learned that they have an entire set of discussion forums, one of which is set aside for people to post about their new works. I know -- I'm an idiot. But looking at their site it looked to me like the only discussion areas they had were for individual stories, and nobody was posting in mine. I found the forums by accident.

So... since I didn't actually engage with the Wattpad community during this experiment, I can't reliably report on the experience. Sorry...

If it's helpful to know - since the last post, here's where I stand

* Now updating weekly alongside website

* Overall reads (sum total of all installment reads): 14466 reads [Not sure if this includes reads for a deleted preamble]

* First chapter read: 2376

* Second to last installment: 137 reads

* Last installment (updated Monday at 12amish): 71 reads

Yeah 71/2376 is kind of a sucky percentage, but actually I take it with a grain of salt. I've been watching Google analytics on my website too and have a good sense that you lose a lot of people after the first few installments.

Wattpad is still better in the sense that I can also figure out if some people are simply saving the "books for later reading" or not. It's not a high percentage of folks that do, but they do exist.

Anyways, the important part for me is the reads on the latest updates. At one point I was going to either stop or just slow up the updates, but I kept experimenting with posting. Actually by updating more frequently and then wandering in and out of the forums, I found a few more readers. At least it appears I've managed to double what I had a few months ago, and I hope to keep doubling ...

OVerall, I like Wattpad. They are highly aggressive at marketing. Compared to all the other aggregation sites I see -- all the webserial sites I've looked at attempting to launch, they're the most savvy and have the most capital to do this.

I've been posting installments of Haventon on Wattpad for the past three Sundays and here's what I've found.

When I spend a portion of my free time on interacting with the community I get reads and even occassional fans. When I don't nothing happens. From this I assume that until you gain enough popularity to become visible (I think this means top 100) you have to spend time on it.

Today I had a bit of luck. I found a reasonable vampire/paranormal on there. It wasn't perfect by a long shot, a developmental editor would likely tear it apart but in spite of its manifest flaws it was an enjoyable read, so I left a comment and fanned the author to keep up with the sequel. The author gave me a reciprocal read, left me a raving comment (any comment that contains "There are no errors to report. Perfect is a word I hesitate to use on any story but this one!" qualifies as raving, I think.), fanned me and broadcast a rec to her 150+ fans. Hopefully that will give me a bit of a boost.


I appreciate y'all doing the hard work on this. It's good to know that if you don't reach the top 100, you're invisible. That's disappointing. It seems that most communities pimp the poop out of the "top" people, whomever they are, and everyone else gets jack.

I may be biased, as I'm doing rather well on Webfictionguide (I think 3rd most popular when you click on popular, then 'full list'?), but isn't that the objective of a site like Wattpad or Webfictionguide, to direct people to content worth checking out?

Webfictionguide, at least, seems to have members/editors dedicated to reviewing newer entries. I think this can do a lot for those who get off to a good start, but if you miss that initial wave, it might be hard to get attention thereafter.

Consistent good writing, though, IMPO, will eventually get anyone recognized.

Good writing + networking/self-promotion + luck...