Update on Wattpad

June 30, 2014 Publishing/marketing 0

It’s coming up for two months since I started posting chapters of ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ on Wattpad (previous posts here and here), so this seems like a good time for an update. First, some stats.

Chapters posted: 27

Followers: 27

Reads: 543 (each person reading one chapter counts as one read)

Votes: 102

Comments: 97

I post one new chapter a week, usually on a Friday morning. At the current rate of progress, I should reach the last chapter at the end of January. A few comments:

  • There are way more reads, votes and comments on Chapter 1 than on anything else: 150 reads, compared with 38 for Chapter 2 and steadily declining numbers thereafter.
  • Each new upload triggers a little flurry of reads: yay, I have fans!
  • Most readers don’t leave comments or vote. They’re just there for the story.
  • Every once in a while, there’s a noticeable jump in the number of reads, when someone reads straight through the whole thing. That’s very satisfying.
  • I no longer sweat the networking thing; occasionally I post an ad for the book on the approved thread, or answer a forum post, or comment on something I’m reading, but that’s all.
  • Nevertheless, I’m now getting new followers appearing out of the woodwork, not just people I’ve contacted in some way. I have no idea where they come from, or how they find out about me.
  • It doesn’t do to compare numbers with other people. There’s always someone who generates thousands of reads in their first week. Usually, it’s because they brought a trail of Facebook followers with them, or did some heavy-duty networking.
  • The standard of writing on the site is quite low, and not much effort made to improve. However, there are some awesome writers, too, who make me feel totally inadequate as a writer.

It still seems counter-intuitive to give away a book that I also intend to sell on Amazon. However, Wattpad is aimed at a completely different market, those who will only read free books and wouldn’t necessarily buy one. That’s what I tell myself, anyway. There’s no way to tell whether the strategy will affect sales one way or the other, but since I don’t expect to sell many copies of Kallanash, I’m not too bothered.

For those who enjoy the whole social media thing, Wattpad is a cool way to increase awareness of your books, to connect with readers (and authors too) and generally interact. However, the readers are mostly invisible, and the authors are mostly amateurs enjoying themselves, with only a few serious writers mixed in there. I don’t find it a particularly useful environment for improving my writing or for exchanging practical information with fellow writers. It’s best regarded as a fun way to increase your author presence online, not as a marketing tool.

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