I’m so excited to be hosting my first ever guest blog post about how to get your story read on Wattpad! 😀
The following is a summary from a talented Wattpader with a growing fanbase, C.G. Laflamme.
Ms. Laflamme started posting her first story, The Catalyst, on Wattpad December 31, 2016. A few months later, seeing that the story wasn’t getting noticed, she began researching how to succeed on the site. She outlines thoroughly below what she found both in research and practice, which led her story to the following impressive statistics (as of this writing):
- Highest Rank in Fantasy of #148
- 67.2K story reads
- 8K story votes
Have to give a special thank you to C.G. Laflamme, again, for the contribution and helpful insight!
I’ll begin by stating the obvious. There are a lot of stories on Wattpad. If you’re just starting out, readers won’t find you. The competition is fierce up there at the top, and readers only ever see those top stories when they browse.
There’s a paradox in making it on this site. You’re going to want reads and votes, lots of them. But, in order for readers to find your story—and give it those precious reads and votes—you have to already have plenty of reads and votes. Kinda makes no sense.
But there are a few ways to still make it work, if you’re serious about it and willing to put in the work. Nobody said it was going to be easy.
The first obvious one is read-for-read/feedback-for-feedback partnership. Or, as some people call it, chapter swapping. This is the first method I tried. I figured, there must be many other authors like me out there, just craving reads to at least increase the story’s visibility a bit. And hey, you never know, you might actually end up enjoying each other’s work. That’s when Wattpad friendships are born, and those are important.
But be careful. I was naïve in the beginning. I thought everyone—or almost everyone—was well-intentioned and trustworthy. That, of course, is not the case. Some people will ask you to read their story and promise to do the same in return. So you read theirs, but then you never hear from them again. This happens a lot. You just need to learn to recognize the signs. Often those types won’t talk to you much, they won’t engage. They’ll just ask for favors.
My advice: give everyone a fair chance. Read one chapter. Leave a comment or two. Vote if you feel so inclined. If they never return the favor, just don’t visit their story again. Who cares? Their loss. The truth is their strategy doesn’t work in the long term anyway. Move on to other people who are more serious.
The problem with read for read though, is that it just doesn’t work that well. And honestly, that be expected. Being an aspiring author on Wattpad pays nothing, as we’re all painfully aware of. People have jobs, obligations, busy lives. It’s easy to forget about a read-for-read agreement you made with someone, even if you were earnest about wanting to do it at the time.
So you have book clubs. There are many book clubs on Wattpad. It’s all about finding the right one—or the right ones—for you. There are book clubs for specific genres, book clubs for people who have time to read many chapters a week, and others for people who can only read one or two. There are clubs that don’t accept mature stories, others that prefer those types of stories. This is only an example. There are so many different book clubs out there. Doing your research pays off here. If you join a book club that has other authors you love as its members, you’ll have a lot more fun. And don’t join one if you know you won’t be able to complete the assignments. It’s not fair to the other members.
I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. Once I joined a book club where you had to read four chapters a week. That’s a lot. But I knew I could do it, and I did. Except two out of the three weeks I was a member, none of my chapters got read. My partners hadn’t completed their assignment. I looked into it, read other people’s comments on the book club’s current page, and it seemed that the admins were in over their heads. The organization was poor and they couldn’t keep up. So I just wrote them a polite private message saying I was quitting the club. Don’t waste your time and effort on something that isn’t beneficial or fair.
My advice: book clubs are great for meeting like-minded authors. Some of my best friendships on Wattpad, I made thanks to those clubs. We sometimes decided to keep reading each other’s stories even though the assignment was over. And I haven’t even mentioned feedback, but of course if an honest opinion on your writing is what you’re looking for, book clubs are a great option. There are some amazing authors on Wattpad who are excellent at giving constructive criticism. Again, do your homework and find the book clubs best suited to this.
You’ll find all sorts of behaviors on Wattpad. Some people are very picky with their follows. And some people follow an extremely high number of authors, in the hopes that some of them will follow back. And some of them do. But I don’t believe this to be a good strategy on the long term, because you’re following people for the wrong reasons. And the ones following you back are doing it simply because they think it’s the polite thing to do. It doesn’t mean they have any real interest in you or your stories.
My Advice: when someone follows you, check out their profile. Read their bio, look at their stories, their reading lists. Just try to see if you could be a good fit. Try to always write them a thank you message for following you. Maybe read a few paragraphs of their story before following back. If you like what you see, you can not only follow back but offer to check out each other’s work. At least then you know you’re genuine about it.
When you become famous on Wattpad, it’s most likely impossible to keep doing this. It would be way too time consuming to study each new follower’s profile. But hey, if you’re already at that point, then you probably don’t need help anymore. The same goes for a famous Wattpad author you’ve decided to follow, by the way. Don’t ask them to read your story. Chances are they don’t have time and hate getting those kinds of requests.
This isn’t a big point, but I’m still mentioning it because I think it’s important. For each chapter you post, Wattpad allows you to dedicate that chapter to another user. This is another way to strengthen connections with your fellow users, especially those who show prior support.
My Advice: when someone takes the time to read, vote, and comment on your story, consider dedicating a chapter to them. It’s easy to do and they’ll get a notification. It’s a small gesture that is often appreciated, and the person might feel more inclined to continue reading, knowing you appreciate what they’re doing. I would advise against dedicating a chapter to someone who hasn’t read your story yet. It might just make them feel uncomfortable. Unless they did something for you or the story, like graphics or a book cover, then it’s completely appropriate.
Share Your Story
In the Community/Clubs section of Wattpad, you’ll find a list of all the genres. For each genre, you have the Share your story thread. This is the only place where you get to just plainly advertise your story. They give you the link to post your book cover’s image. You can include a brief text about your story, like the blurb or anything else you’d like to say. If you’re in the market for read for reads, you can tell people about that too.
My Advice: to be honest, I don’t think it’s that useful to share your story on there. I still do it from time to time, because it’s easy and quick, and I figure, who knows? Maybe someone will stumble upon it and I’ll get a new reader or meet a new author. But I just don’t think it happens that often. I think only authors actually go there. To post their story. Then they leave. So we’re all just doing the same thing, and hoping for that same other thing. But, oh well.
A lot of people on Wattpad create their very own review book (or critique book), where they talk about stories they liked or didn’t like. Usually, when they’re open for business, they’ll have a form you can fill out. If they accept you, they’ll start reading your story, or place you on their waiting list. These people usually get a lot of requests. If there’s an author you admire opening a brand-new review book, don’t wait. Apply right away. Otherwise their waiting list gets ridiculously long, and they might never get to you.
There’s usually a payment. They’ll ask for a follow, or they’ll ask you to read a few chapters of their story, leaving a comment and a vote if you liked it. If they actually read your entire story and take the time to write a thorough review on it, then that payment is the least you can do. You should definitely honor it.
My Advice: here, too, it’s important to do your homework. If you have more than five, or more than ten chapters up, and you want a reviewer who’ll read the whole thing, that might be harder to find. Most of them only read a few chapters. And if you can, go and read a few of the reviews they’ve already written. Some reviewers are harsh and blunt, while others go easy on people. If you like their style and the way they do things, then apply. If you don’t, save yourselves both the trouble.
There are so many different awards and contests on Wattpad. In the beginning, I was enthusiastic and entered a lot of them. Now I’m rather picky. But it’s okay to experiment.
Awards will offer prizes for the winners, of course. Take a look at those; if all they offer is a sticker and you don’t care about stickers, don’t bother. Sometimes they’ll offer interesting prizes, like a follow from each admin as well as honest reads and feedback on the winning stories. It’s worth looking into and reading the awards’ description page carefully.
My Advice: I would advise being wary of contests that ask you for ridiculous things, like following the admins and all their Wattpad friends. When you discover more Wattpad awards, you’ll realize that sometimes they don’t ask you for anything at all.
Look for judge-based awards. The more judges, the better. And if the admins ask the potential judges to pass a test before accepting them, even better. Look for experienced admins. Maybe it’s their second or third time organizing an award on the site. You’ll have a better chance of your story getting read and judged fairly.
The Hot List
Each genre has a hot list. One day you might wake up and see that your story is ranking on the hot list for the first time, and you’ll get all excited. Maybe your story is #800 on the hot list. Then the next day, it’s gone. Three days later, it’s #625 and you’re excited all over again.
What I’ve noticed is the amount of votes your story gets on a given day is a factor. I think in general the activity your story is getting plays a part in its ranking too. On top of votes, maybe reads and comments matter too. I honestly can’t say for sure.
My Advice: some book clubs are helpful in getting a higher ranking on that list, because they have a rotating system. Each week, a few members’ books get read by all the other members. So if it’s your story’s turn, you get a lot of votes and reads, all at once. The ranking climbs higher. If you reach the top 200, chances are a few readers browsing the genre will stumble upon your story.
That’s how I started getting a few readers who are only readers. It’s a happy moment when that happens, because let’s face it, that’s what authors truly want. But there’s a lot of work involved in being visible to those readers. Your story won’t just magically appear on the hot list’s top 200 on its own.
So yeah, being featured is one of the best things that can happen to a Wattpad author. Your story gets advertised everywhere on the site and you’re at the top of that awesome Featured List in the Browsing section. Readers are finding you, a lot of them.
My Advice: the sad thing is, there’s nothing you can do. You can only wait and hope that someone from the staff notices your story and decides it deserves to be featured. I guess if you’re already doing all that other stuff, and being active on the website generally, you have a higher chance of your story getting discovered.
If it does happen, then that’s great. It never happened to me, but it happened to some of my Wattpad friends and I can tell you that their amount of reads and followers skyrocketed. In two weeks, one of them went from 2K to 20K reads, and from around 100 followers to over 800.
So there you have it, that was my little piece of knowledge. I’m sure other people have different strategies, but since these have been working out for me so far, I thought I’d share them with you.
More than anything—and I can’t stress this enough—write what you’re passionate about. And if you haven’t found what that is yet, ask yourself this: What kind of story do you wish was out there? What would you want to read that doesn’t exist right now?
That should be a good place to start and once you write it, the above strategies will hopefully help you connect with others who want the story you have to offer!
~By: C.G. Laflamme