Using Wattpad to Find New Readers

Happy Tuesday, all! Here in London the air is rife with the scent of gunpowder after a night of endless fireworks to celebrate Bonfire Night.

A few months ago, I was approached by Wattpad to become one of their featured authors. I’d been on Wattpad since December 2011, but not really delving into it. Truthfully, I didn’t get it; it was just one more thing in the cacophony of social media. However, this email prompted me to do a little more research.

A Canadian company (yay!) started in 2006, Wattpad shares free content with its now over a million members. With 1.7 billion views a month, it’s quickly becoming a valuable promotional tool. Some of its authors have gone on to become traditionally published, too. In last summer’s Guardian, Margaret Atwood – one of Wattpad’s biggest proponents  - wrote an article on its virtues.

Last Friday, Wattpad highlighted me and my novella Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts on their site. Since then, my story has had over 10,000 reads. Yes, it’s free, but with an additional teaser at the end linking to a paid novel, it’s also a promotional tool, as well.  Like most social media, linking exposure to sales is never easy. In my mind, though, anything that helps you reach new readers is valuable.

As with Twitter, Facebook and the like, Wattpad is highly interactive. The more people you fan, message, read, etc, the greater your results. Completing your profile with links to paid content is also helpful, as is consistently posting new stories and chapters to drive readers to your list of works.

Are you on Wattpad? Got any tips or tricks to share?

(In completely unrelated news, my Christmas novella Mistletoe in Manhattan is now out for 99 cents. Just in case, you know, you were in the mood for a Christmassy read!)

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  1. Hi,

    I don’t know if others feel like me, but my writing life feels more and more akin to a media merry-go-round and that my scarf is caught up in the winding mechanism and throttling the very life out of what I love most: writing raunchy historical romances and reading books! I’m so fed up with chasing this outlet and that outlet I’ve gone exclusively Kindle, because in Europe Kindle wins hands down. Kobo are already struggling!! Other e-reader devices are on a losing wicket before they even get to bat. Why B&N are stepping across to Europe I have no idea: who over here has heard of them bar for authors? I’ve also sacked my US publisher, who published my contemporary romances. I just want an easy life of writing my books, reader other authors books and promoting said authors by way of reviews. ;)

    • Talli Roland says:

      Hi Francine! I couldn’t agree more. Sigh! I’m very lucky that I have time (although it’s rapidly diminishing!) to spend interacting on different social media sites, but I’ve cut down, too. In the end, the most important thing is writing the stories to the best of our abilities and reaching the readers through a means that works for us.

  2. Darn it: there’s no bloody edit facility on here.

    last line: reading, not reader.

    Slaps hand: go back to bed and start the day over might be a good idea. Got my bear hat on!

  3. Francine – I know exactly how you feel! There is more an more pressure for authors to venture into social media and it really does zap the time, doesn’t it?

    Like Talli, I try a little bit of everything and feel that certain things work better than others. I’m a huge fan of Facebook and that’s the one that I engage with most and feel I’ve made some genuine friends on.

    I guess you get out of it what you put in – as Talli said. But the writing HAS to take priority and, sometimes, you just have to shut everything else out!

    • Talli Roland says:

      So true, Victoria! Without writing, there’s nothing to promote, is there? That needs to be first and foremost. I’m a huge FB fan, too. It’s a great way to reach readers!

  4. Tamara Ward says:

    Thanks for the post, Talli. I really need to check out Wattpad. Social media is overwhelming, and if I’m not careful, it can totally zap my time and energy. But if I keep it in its place and cut off my internet connection when I’m supposed to, it works! Thanks again for highlighting Wattpad and congrats with your success on the site.

    • Talli Roland says:

      Hi Tamara! I hear you – I need to be careful not to let it overwhelm my life or my energy. It’s a black hole! The key, I think, is finding what works for you.

  5. LM Preston says:

    If you are your own publisher, you have to find the venues that are working best for you. Learning about others leaves the opportunity to explore but not a necessity. It’s your business so focus on the markets you prefer. As current Vice President of Mid Atlantic Book Publishers I have members that have published their book and only sell direct to museums or local stores – they never went ebook or even desire to since they’ve been happy with the market they’ve established. I know another publisher that published only kids holiday books and she only sells through holiday craft festivals and her website and she does really well that way. So, this self publishing/indie publishing or small press gig has been around a long time. We just talk more about the ebook markets but there are others (just because you publish yourself doesn’t mean you are not a publisher – because you are. Take the ‘self’ off the word and brand your publishing business).

    • Talli Roland says:

      ‘If you are your own publisher, you have to find the venues that are working best for you. Learning about others leaves the opportunity to explore but not a necessity.’

      Very, very true, LM! You need to be educated on what’s out there and see if it fits into your own framework. Branding yourself is so important.

  6. Angela Brown says:

    I’ve perused Wattpad before but hadn’t delved into it. I’ve got some research to do because I’ve got some interest in utilizing it but not without better understanding how best to use it. It’s bad enough I’m not maximizing Twitter and FB lol!!

  7. Sibel Hodge says:

    Congrats on the downloads and the new release! I did have a look at this before, and it’s still something I’d consider to put up a freebie, but I really don’t have enough time to interact on yet another website. I’ve had to cut down my time this year, not increase it! Ommmmmmmmm :)

  8. Interesting post – I’ve had my eye on Wattpad for a while and was recently contacted by them. My concern is that it might not actually turn into sales. Have you seen a measurable rise in sales since being featured?

    • Talli Roland says:

      Hi Karen, that was my concern, too. I spoke with a few other featured authors before hand, and they couldn’t give me any quantifiable figures. However, I do have my novella up paid on other sites (Amazon, B&N, etc — although it was free until recently) and having it free on Wattpad hasn’t stopped people buying it there, not that it was ever a bestseller to begin with. It’s still too early to see if there’s a difference in my sales, I think, but I haven’t seen any change so far.

  9. JamieSalisbury (@JamieRSalisbury) says:

    As I am a self published ebook author I am constantly looking for ways to attract more readers. I had heard of Wattpad, but now I am going to check it out instead of mentally filing it away. Great post. Thanks.

  10. Bill Beaman says:

    Thanks for another excellent post! I currently have over three hundred such posts that I’ve saved to use as resources for marketing my books. Many of them come from this site and they’re all excellent. What I want for Christmas is a partner on this Indie journey who understands the “ins and outs” of all these tools and for a set fee, will carry on a promotion campaign for me while I write other books. I know, this seems to fly in the face of all that is good about being independent. I’ve sold thousands of paperback copies of my books through vendors throughout the midwest. I give all my partners a generous cut of the proceeds and this makes for a winning marketing strategy. I feel I need to develop similar partners in the ebook world. There is one great truth in this business- If the reader doesn’t know about your books, they’re not going to buy them.

    • Talli Roland says:

      Thanks, Bill – glad you find the site helpful. Congrats on all your paperback success! That’s wonderful. And yes, great point: if the readers have never heard of you, chance are they won’t be buying your book!

  11. I haven’t heard of Wattpad, but I’ll give it a look see. It’s great to see Canadian sites growing. Thanks, Talli.

  12. Julie Day says:

    I have heard of them after someone else put up a post either here or RG2E, and was interested. But not got round to investigating it properly. Maybe next year.

  13. Talli, thanks for highlighting Wattpad. The big difference between it and other social venues is that, besides serious writers, it has thousands of READERS who dabble in writing. I first heard about it from a post by David Gauphran (Let’s Get Digital) and so joined a year ago, but it wasn’t until Wattpad invited me to be one of their featured authors, that I really spent time with it. Since uploading my novel “Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest” to Wattpad on Sept 26, 2013, I have had 173,000 reads. Yes, these are FREE reads, and each chapter counts as a single read, but that is way better exposure than I ever got on my KDP free days. And the complimentary comments that I have received from readers! Most are anxious to get Book Two, for which, when I publish this month, I will upload a few teaser chapters and a buy link. I only wish the compliments could somehow be displayed on my Amazon site…

    BTW, I am so relieved to hear from the commenters on this post that we all are suffering from social media exhaustion. I thought it was just me being incapable of keeping up.

    • Talli Roland says:

      ‘The big difference between it and other social venues is that, besides serious writers, it has thousands of READERS who dabble in writing.’

      Yes, that’s very true – thanks for pointing that out. And wow – 173,000 reads! I’m in awe! I spoke to David about his experiences on Wattpad too, and he was very positive about it. That kind of exposure is really invaluable.

    • Just was reading replies and noticed a typo in mine – David GAUGHRAN (apologies to David). A momentary disconnect between brain and typing fingers…

  14. Thanks for sharing your experiences with Wattpad–interesting information and post!

  15. Michael Harvey says:

    Talli, I’ve been thinking of using Wattpad to “test fire” my memoirs of service during the Viet Nam war from 1962 – 1975. Start with one chapter at a time to judge responses. Most authors on WG2E seem to be romance or mystery so not sure how my stories will be received. Any hints as to what I should be trying?

  16. I never heard of Wattpad — it sounds interesting. I’m a big fan of Facebook also and just joined Twitter, which to me is much different.

    Thanks for the post!

  17. deniz says:

    Neat! I found out about the site through you!

  18. D.D. Scott says:

    I’ve got your new Christmas Book on my Kindle, Talli, and can’t wait to read it!!! :-)

    And thanks bunches for the scoop on Wattpad…that could be a terrific spot to post Serial Novels…what do you think? And of course any FREE Ebooks, like any of us using my “First One is On Me” Strategy.

  19. Hmm…I’ve never heard of Wattpad. I’ll need to check it out. Thanks for sharing and congrats on being a featured author!

  20. Christina says:

    I’ve heard of Wattpad but haven’t gotten involved in it. From what I’ve heard, the predominant users are teenagers and I don’t know how my style of romance novel would be received. I know I could leave out some scenes or rewrite them, but I don’t want to do that. I may put up a free read or two there eventually to point toward paid books, but teenagers aren’t my market, so I don’t know if it would be worth it at this point.

  21. I too was contacted by Wattpad and invited to join the Writer Program and have my mystery/thriller BADWATER featured (it’s book one in a series). I haven’t yet decided because I’m considering keeping the book in Select.

    But I can say that the Wattpad rep was quick and professional in answering all my questions, and I’ve been quite impressed.

    Christina, one of my questions was the one you raised, about the demographics. I wondered if BADWATER would appeal to a teen/YA audience. The rep said their audience is ‘maturing’ and they’re featuring many more books geared to an adult readership.