-Original post published in May of 2015-
Getting Started on Wattpad:
A beginner’s guide to Wattpad
So first of all, what is Wattpad? Wattpad is a free, international site on which writers can share their work and readers can read millions of stories based on their personal interest.
Wattpad is a great starting off point for new and emerging writers to develop a fan base and to find beta readers. All work is still copyright protected, and copying and pasting functions are disabled. Your work is safe on the site, which was a big concern of mine at first. The site allows opportunities to collaborate with graphic designers, and there are even stories of authors being discovered by agents through the site. If you’re worried about building your author platform, this is a great place to start.
The steps to getting started on Wattpad are simple.
Step One: Create a login. Mine is just @sarahperlmutter because I am using the site to build a fan base. I want my name to be recognized; however many people on the site are widely popular and famous even with pseudonyms, so it’s up to you what you decide to use for your username.
Step Two: Customize your profile. Let readers know about who you are, and what you’re all about. Readers on this site value human interactions and opportunities to connect with writers on a personal level, so be yourself and have fun with it.
If you have an author brand already, post a background photo that fits your brand. If you’re in need of copyright free (and also just plain free) images, check out Unsplash.com. It’s my favorite site for copyright free images, and it’s where I found the image I use in all of my branding. Find something that works with the mood of your works and tells readers a bit about what they might experience in your stories. You also want to use the same author photo across all your online profiles to establish consistency. This will help to develop your brand.
My author brand reflects the darkness and the fire found in apocalyptic situations, using the copyright free image of a fire that you can see in my header on this site. I use lots of dark blues and oranges in my color schemes, and when I can, I add in the image of a tiger lily to fit with a motif found in The Deathless Trilogy.
Step Three: Upload your first chapter of a piece of writing you’re working on. Don’t upload the whole piece at once unless it’s a short story or poem. Wattpad is an awesome site for serial fiction. You want to create a schedule for yourself, and stick to only posting updates on certain days. When I first began, I posted a new chapter every Saturday. For I Am Deathless and They Are Monsters (working titles for Wattpad that are changing for publication), I posted a new chapter twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
At first you’re not going to see many reads on your chapters, but give it time and the readers will come and they will wait for updates. It helps to give readers time to find you before you have a whole book up.
Also, when you create a new book, make sure to use plenty of hashtags to attract as many readers as possible. Look to see which hashtags are popular, and which among those would fit your story. If none of them fit your story, just do your best to use appealing hashtags.
Use copyright free images and image editing sites to create an appealing and eye-catching cover. Like I said earlier, I recommend unsplash.com and either pixlr.com or canva.com for editing and customizing.
Step Four: Find what I call Watt-friends. The best ways to find Watt-friends include:
- Reading stories that are the same genre as yours, commenting on chapters, voting on chapters, and reaching out to the author. You’re going to want to find an author who is around a similar or slightly higher read count/follower count as you are so that you can grow together. Writers who are followed by thousands of people and have hundreds of thousands of reads often don’t have time to invest in a new friendship (though I’ve found Watt-friends in many of my fans).
- Participating in the Wattpad Club forums for your genre. You can find them by clicking on “Community” and then “Clubs.” Toward the bottom right hand corner of the screen you will find categories of clubs with all the genres available when you create your story. Go to your forum and click on “Share Your Story.” Follow the rules and guidelines to embed your story into the forum discussion. This will attract more reads and more Watt-friends.
- Using the #wattpad or #wattpadlife hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram to find other Wattpadders out there. ‘Like’ Wattpad on Facebook and participate in discussions there. Get involved in the community of Wattpad even while you’re off the site. Wattpadders are passionate folks and they stick together, no matter the site.
And finally, step five: Follow proper Wattpad etiquette. There is nothing that will turn readers off more than a newbie Wattpadder not following the rules. In the forums, the rules will be clearly stated, but for regular use, I can sum up proper etiquette in two words: Be Respectful.
- Don’t make rude comments on stories, only constructive ones, and always make sure to compliment along with any criticism. It takes guts to post a story, so show respect.
- Don’t self-promote on pages other than the Share Your Story pages, and definitely don’t self-promote in the comments of other stories or on the page of another author. If they take read requests, you can, or I always prefer it when readers message me. It’s more private and therefore more personalized. And always say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’
- Understand that Wattpad is a positive community of millions. If you can’t handle that or you have a bad attitude, find a different site to troll. Either Wattpad kindly or not at all.