Author August: Edward Cox – WHAT PAD?

To view all guest author posts so far and for a chance to win a £40 Foyles Giftcard visit the Author August Page.

A couple of years ago I was advised to open a Wattpad account. What is Wattpad? I asked. A new super cool social media thing, was the answer. So I got myself some, because who would want to miss out on that! And then I spent the next year staring at it, occasionally poking it with a stick, wondering when it was going to do something. Like so much else to do with the internet and computers, Wattpad bemused the life out of me.

Edward CoxFor those of you who don’t know, Wattpad is a place where authors can publishing their writing, and readers can find a whole world of stories to read for free. It’s a great environment, as I later discovered, for established authors to reach a wider audience for their work and for newer writers to receive some constructive feedback. But I didn’t understand it to begin with; at first glance, Wattpad doesn’t appear as community-based as Twitter or Facebook, and the users on the discussion threads generally seem most interested in sharing their love of writing and reading. Welcoming. Very little of the vitriol seen so often on other social media sites.

I published a couple of stories and after a year or so of watching them attract no readers whatsoever, I figured the penny was taking slightly longer to drop than usual in my pea-sized brain. So I decided to seek out some expert advice. I contacted Taran Matharu, the undisputed King of Wattpad, all round brilliant person, and author of the NYT bestselling Summoner series, which you should totally check out. Taran has found unique success on Wattpad, with his combined works boasting somewhere around eight million reads. Eight million! If anyone could decode the enigma for me, it was him. And he did.

The Watcher of Dead Time CoverOne of Taran’s Wattpad publications is From Wattpad to Published Author, which details how his success on the site led to attracting an agent and publisher, and, most importantly, how he did it. It’s free to read, so if you’re thinking of joining Wattpad, I’d recommend following Taran, reading his works, and taking his advice. I had the pleasure of talking to him in person over sushi, and he let me tap into his knowledge.

Brains!

Taran explained that simply publishing a story on Wattpad then standing back to see what it does will mostly result in it doing nothing. Regularly updating the work in 1000-1,500 word chunks is the key. This will not only give you more chance of being noticed by readers but also getting picked up by the algorithms (I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but I do know that algorithms = good). Most importantly, it’s about engaging with your readers, understanding the community aspect which seems so different from other social media sites.

Thanking readers when they read and vote for your work or add your story to their reading list doesn’t take much effort and often puts you in touch with people who are genuine appreciative of what you’re doing. As does taking the time to reply and discuss any comments that are made on your work and introducing yourself on the message boards and topic threads. Turns out, Wattpad is fairly straightforward when you have a little foreknowledge.

So, armed with Taran’s advice, I started again. After gaining permission from my publisher, I set out a plan to publish around a third of The Relic Guild (book 1 of The Relic Guild Trilogy) on Wattpad. Over the last few months, I’ve been updating regularly with small chunks of the book, and what do you know? Taran was right! I haven’t yet hit that heights of eight million reads, and I’m not sure that I ever will, but The Relic Guild is closing in on ten thousand and that number is going up daily. My work is reaching people across the world, in countries that it hadn’t reached before. And I have been in touch with so many wonderful people because of it.

A few of my author friends have recently asked me the same question that I was asking a year ago: What is Wattpad? It’s a community of writers and readers. It’s where established authors can promote their work. It’s where new authors can be read for the first time. It’s where the next Taran Matharu might be found. It’s where your favourite authors might be publishing obscure works that can’t be found elsewhere. It’s where readers can read samples of stories or full stories for free. It might not be for everyone, you might not like everything you find there, but with very little time and effort, Wattpad can help you get heard.

 

You can find me and The Relic Guild right here: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Edward_Cox

My personal thanks to Edward  for taking part in Author August!

To view all guest author posts so far and for a chance to win a £40 Foyles Giftcard visit the Author August Page.

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1 Comment

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