Platform Focus: Wattpad

When I began my first serial Victorian Mistress it was on one WordPress then I branched out onto Wattpad which is very different but has some good features. For a start it has an option to clearly copyright a story, there’s also a mature content setting for adult fiction. However, there are disadvantages, in the case the Victorian Mistress which bends genres I found the genre categories limiting, although there are tags to compensate for this, the mature content setting also prevents a ‘mature’ book from appearing on a search done by users who don’t have an over 18 age set on their account and entering your age is not a requirement so many people don’t.

I’m still working on figuring out Wattpad but so far one of my favourite features is the comment feature which allows readers to comment at the end or in line. An in line comment means they can actually highlight sections they particularly enjoyed and say they enjoyed it and why. The comments also allow episode by episode feedback and it’s always nice to hear if a reader particularly enjoyed an episode or what they thought of a cliff-hanger.

Another handy feature Wattpad has is that we can see chapter by chapter how many views we’ve had or the overall number and while it’s great to see X number of views of chapter one it can feel like a real achievement when you see 100, 1,000 or more views overall. This does have the disadvantage of showing slow periods where the number of views remains static or doesn’t rise at all. This can be particularly frustrating if we manage to pass 1,000 where views only appear to increase every ten views (1.11k, 1.12k etc). These periods are perfectly normal and I also found that when we begin our first story views increase very slowly because it takes readers awhile to find it, possibly not helped by Victorian Mistress having a mature setting because of rude humour and violence.

There are some problems though. The easiest place to edit on Wattpad is the browser version, however this doesn’t show paragraph indents that sometimes appear when a document is cut and pasted into it and retains the formatting. Luckily they’re only very tiny, about one space so it doesn’t stand out too much. In the past I’ve also had some trouble with my drafts appearing to disappear on the browser version when I opened them to publish, and if there’s a ‘publish all button’ for multiple chapters I haven’t found it. Despite this I have found the ability to make quotation graphics quickly and simply useful, may favourite sort have the cover in the background. And there’s also something very satisfying about the way books on Wattpad look like standard e-books with a cover, blurb and chapter numbers/titles.

Yes, I’m afraid on Wattpad a blurb is required to entice a reader, just like any other e-book. On a side note I also discovered when I started publishing on Wattpad a blurb helps on just about any publishing platform. I found this great practice though and noticed a vast improvement in anything I wrote trying to describe my book after testing various blurbs for Wattpad. I’m not going to claim my blurbs are amazing but the practice really does help. Perhaps because the fiction on Wattpad is free to read people are also a little more likely to forgive us stumbling a little as we try to figure out the best way to present our work to them

While I’m still learning I have noticed that beginning my second serial on Wattpad the first did help. Partly because I had more idea what I was doing but largely because I’d already had time to build up my readership so my views on Nine Shillings increased more quickly than Victorian Mistress had. It’s important to remember that trying to establish yourself on any platform takes time but it will begin to show benefits eventually, even if sometimes it looks like it won’t.

For more writing advice see my Advice Page. For my previous articles on writing a weekly serial see Finding Your Toolbox. For more on my weekly serials see the Weekly Serial page.

NOTE: Each article series comes in five parts published between Monday and Friday. Today is the last part.

Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this, Jesse. I use Wattpad, obviously, but this was a nice rundown of the features. You surely have more experience with this than I, as I tend to post and then ignore it completely.

    If only… time, time….

    Liked by 1 person

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