More Adventures on Wattpad

editingIf I’d hoped to discover a whole new set of fans on Wattpad frothing for my every update, I was sadly mistaken…

Ah well! My experiences on the online storytelling community site were interesting nonetheless. My few readers – we’re talking single figures here – appear to be loyal. You can look at engagement on Wattpad, seeing how much of a chapter gets read. Those dear readers of mine read all my chapters in the main so at least I’m doing something right

I uploaded other stories and they still read on. They read everything quickly too.

As an experiment and because vampire stuff is popular on Wattpad, I thought I’d do a vampire story, Unnatural Appetites. I’m uploading it live, so to speak. I post up chapters when I do them. To do that, I needed to write a detailed synopsis first plotting out the first, second and third act. That was a useful exercise. I’ve done synopsis (synopsii?) before, but not this way. I change it as I go along. Most writers are familiar with a situation or character that seemingly pops up from nowhere when you are writing.

What am I doing wrong? I haven’t bothered following anyone else, apart from the people who follow me. Actively going after followers would help increase my readers. It’s the universal law of social media politeness. You follow me, I follow you back.

[Unless I’m on Twitter and you’re one of those self-publishing marketing companies. Or my nutter radar starts vibrating.]

One person did contact me to tell me she loved my writing and couldn’t believe I had so few followers. Some years ago, a writer friend of mine (Gordon Lawrie: Four Old Geezers and a Valkyrie) you really cherish those comments and it’s gratifying when people make an effort to tell you they enjoy what you write. Too true!

It’s early days. I have the patience of a vampire starved of blood for five days let loose in a shopping mall the day before Christmas. (Thought I’d better use a vampire metaphor there to tie in with Unnatural Appetites.) I need to stop myself logging onto Wattpad more than once a day to see what my figures are. Yes, I know. Lame.

Anyway, who knows what might happen? The Wattpad community might discover a liking for plus-size vampire X-certified romance – I went deep niche – or they might start commenting on my other stuff, helping put it up the Wattpad ranking system.

As others have commented here, I might look at Write On instead. Writers have found this more useful, as the feedback can be thoughtful and constructive. I’ll keep you updated.

 

 

Things I Learned from My Beta Readers

beta readersFour years ago, I’d never heard of beta readers. These days, I’m desperate for their services.

A beta reader is basically someone who reads your unpublished book for you and tells you what they think. Their role is to be critical, and therefore family members and good friends aren’t always the best choice for the role.

Other writers are a good choice – mainly because they can do the job as a quid pro quo. A job done well takes a lot of time. The beta reader has to read the book. The book may not necessarily be their genre of choice. Then they have to give feedback in a useful and constructive way.

Delivering useful, constructive feedback is a skill in itself. I’ve done it a few times and it will make you a better reader and writer.

Apart from other writers, you also need people who are your target audience. If you’ve written young adult fiction, you need teenage readers and if you’ve written crime fiction, you need fans of Mark Billingham, Christopher Brookmyre, Denise Mina et al.

On a personal level, my beta readers have told me about my writing mistakes. I’m repetitive, my sentences are too long and I use far too many parentheses. The beta reader I used who has an editing background pointed out I’m stingy with commas and I’m too liberal with passive voice use.

[The shame!]

Lesson number 1: if you want beta readers, be prepared to do the job yourself.

Lesson number 2: prepare for the feedback to hurt.

Lesson number 3: ask as many people as possible.

Lesson number 4: prepare to be disabused of your brilliance. I have borrowed this neat turn of phrase from an acquaintance of mine, Eric. J Smith, who used the wording to describe what happened when he used beta readers.

Lesson number 5: know you will need to re-write your book.

Lesson number 6: be grateful. Thanks to two of my beta readers, I’m paying far more attention to my word choice and my sentence construction. This can only mean my writing will improve.