Wattpad – Advice for Writers

wattpadDo any of you use Wattpad? Wattpad, if you’re not familiar with it, is an online storytelling community where people post stories, articles, fan fiction and more.

You create an account and upload stories via the website or the app. Wattpad has 16.9 million unique visitors every month and an average of 30 minutes spent reading. It’s an interesting experience for an author because Wattpad breaks down the information for you. The site will tell you how many reads you get and, crucially, the percentage of a chapter that is read.

Bracing stuff!

Wattpad success stories include Lily Carmine, whose book The Lost Boys clocked up an impressive 33 million reads. She eventually landed a deal with Random House UK thanks to an editor who’d read her book on Wattpad.

Standoutbooks offers the following advice for authors wanting to publish on Wattpad:

Upload a whole book, not a half-written one. If you get engagement, it’s best to make the most of it. You can’t upload chapters regularly if they’re not yet written.

Be prepared to give your book away for free. If there are only one or two chapters uploaded, this will irritate readers.

Remember it’s social media. Respond to comments. Follow other people. Use the comments to send messages to your readers, telling them of other books to come and suchlike.

Be aware of the audience. Most Wattpad users are teenagers and 20-somethings. The genres that do best on Wattpad are science fiction, young adult and fantasy.

I began to upload a story recently, uploading a chapter or two a day. My readership is very small, but it’s loyal. Unknown American readers are reading the book. They read every chapter, which is gratifying. I feel duty-bound to keep posting because they’ve done so. I plan to upload a YA/fantasy novel next, seeing as those genres seem to be the most successful.

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Self-Published Author on His Way to Making Millions

This week’s Luton Today newspaper featured a story about a self-published author who is on his way to making his first million pounds through self-publishing.

When you’re a self-published author yourself, stories such as these are always inspiring to read. The author in question – 29-year-old Adam Croft – is currently making £500,000 from his self-published crime stories, keeping up to 80 percent of his royalities.

The newspaper quotes him as saying that he needed a “technical brain” for self-publishing, which I took to mean as needing to be able to use social media to create buzz round his books. He told the newspaper that his market was mostly middle-aged women and that he targeted them through Facebook.

Half a million pounds a year… to be honest, I’d settle for a lot less than that. Profit would be nice for a start. And then perhaps enough money to keep me in expensive cat food (now required to help manage my too heavy moggie’s weight. Boy that stuff is expensive).

Like all stories you read about self-published success, the tale in question does ram home the importance of marketing and savvy social media use. You don’t need to spend a huge amount of money on it, but working out a strategy and spending time on targeting people is crucial.

Time I learned that lesson, hmm?

Killing Them With Kindness

TrollsThere’s an individual who has gained a certain amount of notoriety of late – I won’t mention his name or his website as that merely adds fuel to the publicity fire he seeks, but let’s just call him Randy.

In truth, I thought I shouldn’t write about him at all. There are a few people who choose to live their lives (and make money) through provocative behaviour. Commenting on them justifies their actions.

But I justified writing this blog to myself by reasoning that as I write an obscure blog, read and seen by very few (and by the way, I do treasure those of you who do read and follow my work) I am not adding fuel to Randy’s publicity fire and I haven’t mentioned him by name.

(According to one news source I read, his website experienced 82,000 unique visits this week. Hmm.)

Negativity, trolling and deliberately provocative remarks and behaviour online are often thought of as something that is too easy. Being face to face with someone requires rather more courage to say to them, “you are S*** and so is everything you write and everything you say”. (And that is probably one of the milder comments you can get on YouTube or Twitter.)

But actually, what is really easy is being nice. It leaves you with this warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Don’t believe me? Spend the next hour or so going through other people’s blogs. Comment on them all – hey, nice pics, or wow, thought-provoking article, I like what you have described or isn’t your cat so cute?

Feel better now? Feel like a nice human being? Mmm, me too.

You can, if you want, seek out Randy and bombard him with nice comments. I don’t mean faux nice comments (Hi Randy, I can tell you’re unhappy. Never managed to get a girlfriend hmm?) but proper ones: Hi Randy, have a lovely day! Or Hi Randy, hope you are taking very good care of yourself – which neatly steer away from any endorsement of his actual views.

And in the meantime, here’s a little bit of cheeky Friday flash fiction.

Notice Me

With a snigger that smacked of Beavis and Butthead, Randy clicked ‘Send’ and sat back, launching his latest hate-filled 140-character rocket into the ether.

Sure enough, within seconds the rocket exploded and his phone pinged once, twice… and more. The responses were coming in thick and fast.

“Randy, you in there?”

“Mooooommmm,” he whined as his mother came in, bearing sandwiches.

“Whaddya doin’ son?” She was an understanding kind of mom.

“Tryin’ to get this woman’s attention, Ma. She’s an amazin’ feminist and I dunno what else to do to get her to notice me. Wish I could date her!”

 

©Emma Baird 2016

Writing About Teenagers – Can You Keep Up?

teenagersLast year, I finished a book about teenagers – specifically a teenager with mental health issues. I enjoyed writing the story and I felt reasonably proud of it once I had finished, but I knew work needed to be done on it. It needed re-writing in places and it needed some re-ordering of the plot half-way through.

[I find beginnings easy to write and endings fairly straightforward, but the middle of the novel – the rising arc seems to give me issues.]

I started the re-writing and then ground to a halt, beginning another novel instead and letting that take up my time. One of my issues with the book about teenagers is my feeling that I can’t possibly keep up. When I started book number two, I felt reasonably confident that I knew how teenagers lived and existed day-to-day, but as time went on I lost that confidence.

How do teenagers live these days? Do they talk to each other at all? Or are they too busy, heads bent, hands curled round a mobile phone awaiting updates on whatever social media platforms they belong to? And what social media platforms are they on? Is Twitter now passe? Have young people grown bored of Instagram yet? Have they moved onto Periscope? And how exactly does Snapchat work?

Modernity feels as if it’s difficult to accurately reflect these days because it moves so very, very quickly. I’m sure anyone writing about children and teenagers 40 or 50 years ago could confidently feel that their book would be as relevant at the end of a decade as it had been at the beginning of one, but I don’t feel that way about teenagers living in 2010, compared to teenagers living in 2016.

The answer to this dilemma? Who knows… Writing about teenage vampires or teenagers living in a futuristic world where they need to take part in games to stay alive? Maybe that’s the answer.

Oh. That’s been done already. Oh well.

 

The Muse, London Marathon et al

We seek her here, we seek her there – we seek that damned muse everywhere…

Blasted muse wasn’t here either, despite lovely setting!

Nope, writing inspiration is still in short supply (oh the horrors of the blank white page). I thought about blogging a steak pie recipe – bear with me here, oh dear few and loyal readers – in that I  genuinely made up the recipe, it did look delicious and it is a pretty easy way to fill your home with delicious aromas and contented men.

[Yup, you make this and all of a sudden, open your front door and there are queues of handsome, eligible gentlemen ready to eat your wares, compliment your cookery skills and sigh in satisfaction. It’s all gone a bit Stepford Wives.]

My excuse is that I’ve been blogging for Social Media Week Glasgow this week – attending events and writing up reports afterwards. All great fun and plenty of learning. I include links to my reviews of the events I attended – mindfulness & social media and NHS collaboration through social media.

Still searching for writing topics here though… An email popped into my inbox this week. Way back in the beginnings of 2011, I thought running a marathon might be… well, not fun, but perhaps a achievement to aim for so I said, ‘yes, put my name in for the 2013 London marathon‘.

Easy to make these promises when the future looks miles away, hmm? And lo, I get an email this week from the charity I work for saying, hey, we’ve got two places for you and friend for the 2013 London marathon.

Eeks. My first thought – ‘oh ho, training for the marathon may well guarantee wedding dress size smaller thing, hmm?’ Second thought – ‘lordy, I will have material to blog about forever more. I can talk about training, I can share my pain, I can post about the miles I’m clocking up each week, I can talk about what you eat for running long distances and generally become a complete running bore’. Happy days!

Then a friend made a valid point. Running the London marathon for charity three weeks before I get married has a few risks. Time, for example. Possible injury which rules me out of walking down the aisle as another. And also, it would mean that I’d be approaching the same people for sponsorship who would be attending my wedding meaning that they would inevitably lose patience splashing out on moi.

So, the marathon is a no-no (feel free to approach me if you would like to run on behalf of Carers Trust, though). And the ease of thinking up blog topics forever more ruled out too, bah.

Finally, I’d like to direct your attention to Patrick – now he is a gent imbibed with mucho talent. He takes great pics, he and his friends go for great adventures and then he writes it all up in a cool way and he is ARTISTIC, blast him!