Wattpad – Reflections as reader and writer

I think a lot of webfiction authors currently think that “publishing on the web on a Blogspot or WordPress blog” is sufficient to find readers.  And that might be true for those who are social network butterflies (or have passionate readers who are in their stead).  However, I suspect that the vast majority of webfiction on the web is largely overlooked.

One of the challenges of finding readers is making decisions about how to seek them out.  My position is that if your goal is to find readers, you should be looking to find those sites with readers. (See last week’s post. )

More or less, I’ve already talked the basics about Wattpad at Tuesday Serial.

I’m not sure how many people who write online novels or other fiction currently are even aware of the site itself. In particular, I think those targeting female readers need to pay particular attention to the platform just as the investors have.  

What Wattpad has done is impressive in both the development of clients as well as capturing of investment capital (see: http://gigaom.com/2012/06/06/wattpad-raises-17-million-to-become-the-youtube-of-writing/). While I don’t think the social engagement is as robust as it could be as the clubs are imbalanced with readers vs. writers (unlike Goodreads), there is still a tantalizing ability to reach into the mobile phone market.

I’m a consumer of Wattpad stories. Admittedly my digital genre grazing habits reflect what I don’t like being caught  buying  in the store (ahem historical romance) and so my ebook consumption tends to be decidedly non-literary. I consider it entertainment and research (after all, romance is the most lucrative of genres in digital and possibly print book market).

Wattpad’s app doesn’t feature easy access to the social aspects like the club forums. Rather it focuses solely on delivering Wattpad stories to your portable experience.  The interface is similar to Wattpad’s Nook and Amazon counterparts, featuring thumbnails of books you’re currently “subscribed to”, and queuing up updates for you when you launch the app. It allows you to discover and add books to your reader list from within the app (although it is buggy across the platforms in that sometimes the web and device versions get out of synch.)  What it does very well is alert you via native alert systems on your technology of choice that an update has come in.   The Wattpad apps seem to try to remember where you left off reading something, which is enormously helpful compared to the alternative of stories posted via blog format.

Initially I was a bit leery about Wattpad because simply put, I had never heard of it. (But TE Waters told me to look, and since I respect her mad internet skills, I did.)  I put up a few chapters slowly and waited to see what would happen. As it turns out, my initial lukewarm response to Wattpad had  to be readjusted as I started to see the Wattpad version begin to rack up consistent reads every week and gradually increase readership over time.

Starting this month, I’m going to be paying more attention to the short and long-term impacts of posting on Wattpad in terms of readers stats. I had started posting some of this info up at Webfiction Guide at http://forums.webfictionguide.com/topic/wither-wattpad#post-7704 :

Seven months ago I started to shift from posting complete chapters (or biweekly frequency) to posting the same day as my website.What I wish I had paid a little more attention to was the middle part of this curve and tracking it with more frequency and consistency. As I alluded to, with a long serial work like mine (with a length that is an outlier to the far right of the bell curve of story length on Wattpad), there’s a probability that the middle of that curve might flatten.  Such an observation could show  people have given up on the story or are still working on catching up.

Being the data geek that I am, I have a theory that I’m actually doing it all wrong by posting with such a “long tail,” but I’m hoping that hitting completion might remedy that problem.

 

Overall Reads
First Chapter
Chapter 15 Pt A&B
Third from Last
Second from Last
Current Last  
April 2012
14,466
2376
137
71  
June 2012
24,008
2853
150
124
51  
Sept 2012
217
163
115  
Nov 3 2012
47,192
3559
1104
152
122
81  

Anyways, I’ll be tracking these stats as I continue to post new works and wind down old ones. If any of you are doing the same I’d love to hear from you!

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