Ever wondered how the high fliers on Wattpad get those stratospheric reader numbers? Not 10k, not 100k, not 1m, but shed loads of millions? Want to know how they do it? So do I. (Got you there for a moment, didn’t I?) Toggle out of writing mode every now and then, so you’re working Wattpad like a pro. Here are some tips and tricks to help you along.
Set up – or a little preparation goes a long way
You need a good title
An attractive, witty or intriguing title can make or break a book. They really are that important. Think about titles like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, (Douglas Adams), Wool (Hugh Howey), The Fault in our Stars (John Green). Get the idea?
Write a compelling blurb
The intro to your story is what hooks your reader in. Make it a good ‘un.
Cover design is an art
Create a kick-ass cover! But discerning readers don’t judge a book by its cover, right? Wrong! We all do. Check out some of the fab covers in your genre. Use a Wattpad design, or find a custom designer. You’ll discover hordes of Wattpad users who love designing covers for writers.
Select your genre and tags
You may know (or have preconceptions about) your genre. E.g. my current project is “Werewolf”, but it is also Teen Fiction and/or Fantasy. Some genre folders, like Teen Fiction, are huuuuuuge, and your title could get lost in the multitudes. If you are an “undiscovered” author, add your book to a smaller-number genre if you can.
Check which tags are trending
In the orange Nav Bar on your user page, select “Discover”. Here you’ll find the list of genre categories. On the right is a list of hash tags. This list is dynamic and changes according to what’s trending. Keep an eye on it, and add suitable trending hash tags to your book’s metadata as you go along.
You’re all set. Now comes the hard part: the commitment to the writing.
It’s all about story – your story, as in one, two, three acts. Some writers dislike the set-up process (Act 1). Some dread the no-end-in-sight haul through the trenches (Act 2). Finally, exhaustion claims you, the plot fizzles, and you finish with a whimper not a bang (Act 3).
Development is hard work, whether it’s fleshing out characters, crafting a sub plot or a relationship, or conjuring events.
Now, here’s how Wattpad can help you keep the momentum going through the difficult bits.
Use the statistics
These are the triple vertical bars to the right of each title in your Works folder. They tell you how many readers you’ve had, how many have read a chapter to the end (engagement), age and gender, and the global distribution. This info helps you write for your audience.
Follow and be followed. Join the clubs (Community tab). Look for your ideal reader. They’re as rare and precious as your closest friends. When you find them, hang on to them.
Be a reader and a writer
You want readers, right? So do writers! Be nice, and support other writers by reading and commenting. Use the message channel in your Conversations tab to update your followers and post regular updates so people know you are active on the site. Tick the box below the message window where it says “Notify My Followers.”
Make life easy for your beta readers
If you have beta readers outside Wattpad, encourage them to become a user. It’s dead easy to do (as you know), and so much handier to read a developing work all in one place than have Word or Open Office files flying backwards and forwards. (I hate that.) Plus the Wattpad reading interface is so easy on the eye. Feedback is made easy because there’s the comment box at the end of the text.
Add a Follow Me button to your blog or site. You’ll find mine at the bottom of my right side bar.
Embed a feed to your book on your blog or site. Go to your Works and select the title of the book you want to add, bring up its page, then click on the </> icon in the social media icons to the right. Copy the html code and paste it into your site.
Resources for writers on Wattpad
There’s loads of advice on different aspects of working in Wattpad, such as:
- Formatting, chapter size and page length
- Finding followers and growing your readership
- Promoting your works and reaching your audience
Hash tag groups
These are examples. You can find more.
#writteninaction #fabulous etc.
You can apply to join these groups. Often they are genre specific, so check out which ones are right for you.
Invitation to review
Many users will offer to read and/or review your work. E.g. @JohnSwannack runs Flaming Free Fiction story reviews and also has a YouTube channel. You’ll find others.
Competitions & Promotions
- #WPMilestones (weekly) #thewattys (annual) #justwriteit (monthly)
- #WattpadBlockParty Big names attending!
Hook up with the people in the know
Wattpad has an extensive help section and publishes regular updates. Search on News and Updates. Make sure you follow the users @Wattpad and @Ambassadors to get official updates in your feed. You’ll find a wealth of user information on the @Wattpad page, including these guides:
- Wattpad Life
- How Wattpad Works
- News and Updates
Users publish their own guides to the site which are really handy and save you time. Here are a few. Check which ones are up to date, though. Wattpad is dynamic and ever changing.
- How to become successful on Wattpad: A beginners guide
- The Guide to Wattpad
Working Wattpad like a pro
Finally, it’s about being an all-rounder. Participate in the community and get the most out of it. Writing is a solitary activity. Even if you work in a partnership or team, there could be long lonely hours. Working Wattpad like a pro can bring you the support and companionship to help you through to the end.
Why a pic of a robot dog to illustrate this article? Usually, as you know, I make a connection between the words and the image, but in this case, I decided to use the dog because it’s a great pic and it hasn’t been out yet.
QuickTip: Most Wattpad authors update their stories on a Friday, and sometimes post extra updates too. To ensure you don’t miss out, get alerts by email of new chapters of your favorite authors. Here’s how. In the drop down menu under your user name, select Settings. Select the heading Notifications, and tick the boxes for the updates you want. Remember to Save Changes before you exit!
Note: Thank you Viktor Hanacek of Picjumbo for your library of great free pics! Most of my images are from Picjumbo, or my own, or supplied by friends or guest posters. The Picjumbo paid collections are even nicer, but until my blog is earning money, it can’t have the budget.