Wattpad is a social storytelling platform that can be used as a great tool for sharing your stories, gaining reader feedback, building an online platform, and even making money from your works.
With over 80 million users logging in each month, the potential for building an audience is HUGE. But there are also a LOT of other stories on the platform - which means it's very easy for your stories to get lost within the hundreds of thousands of other free works on the site.
Here are 8 of my top tips for getting more 'reads' on Wattpad.
1. SEE WATTPAD AS A FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT IN ITS OWN RIGHT!
Wattpad sits somewhere between books, entertainment, and social apps. It's serial. It's mobile. It's interactive. Millions of readers are logging in to consume this unique form of storytelling.
And readers want to be entertained. They're not there to help you sell your book. So understand the Wattpad environment. The rules that apply to writing a book in a traditional format don't all apply here. There are new rules! Which leads me to tip 2. . .
2. UPDATE FREQUENTLY!
Like any social media, you build a following by consistently posting content. Serialize, and update at least once a week!
It gives you a boost in the algorithm that helps make your story more discoverable.
It stops readers forgetting about you.
Even if you only have 1 reader to start - THEY ARE IMPORTANT. You build your following 1 reader at a time. Maybe they add you to a reading list. Maybe their followers see they've voted on your chapter. Keep posting! More will come! But if you abandon them they will abandon you!
3. CREATE A GOOD COVER!
Good covers attract readers! I highly recommend www.Canva.com for making covers. It's free, easy to use, and has a Wattpad book template already set up. For free images to add to your covers check out http://thestocks.im/
4. BE HOOKY!
There's so much free content on Wattpad and so little time to grab attention. Don't be boring! Minimize the effort it costs your reader to get a flavor of your book:
Make the story description hooky! (look at popular authors in your genre to see what works).
I start with a tagline. It gives the reader an instant flavor of the story and costs them nothing to read. Some authors include quotes/accolades/comp titles. Think about your USP. What are the things that will entice your ideal reader? Communicate these things asap!
Start your story in an exciting place!
What sets your story in motion? Start as close to that moment as possible. Your 1st paragraphs are a promise to your reader of what is to come. If they're bored, they'll leave. Keep it hooky!
Consider a high concept title.
There's a reason that titles like 'the badboy werewolf is my mate' work. When readers see it they know what to expect. You don't have to be so brazen, it'll depend on your genre, but think about what you want to instantly communicate about your book through your title.
e.g. 'Death is my bff', 'The Cell Phone Swap', 'I'm a Gay Wizard', 'The Kissing Booth' - all great high concept Wattpad titles that catch my eye and instantly give me an idea of what the stories are going to be about.
5. ENGAGE WITH OTHER WRITERS!
Other writers will most likely be your first readers. Find stories like yours and engage with their authors!
Contests are great, too, not just because you might win and get a shout-out from a bigger profile. But because writers often check out the other stories being entered and it's a great way to meet people.
6. USE ALL YOUR TAGS!
You can add up to 25 tags to your story. Use them all! They make your book more visible - through recommendations to readers, hotlists, general searching, and to Wattpad HQ. Keep them relevant and not too obscure. I recommend using a mixture of popular tags, and more niche ones based on your story.
7. PLAY THE WATTPAD GAME!
Think about the environment you're writing in and use it to your advantage. Readers read on mobile so shorter paragraphs look nicer. Short chapters enable you to update faster and are less intimidating. Serial is good. More chapters = more reads.
Use multimedia. Add graphics/character aesthetics/music. Ask readers questions. Use cliffhangers. Adapt to trends and reactions. We're not bound to paper here! Experiment! See what other authors are doing. Discover what works for you! Which leads me to my final tip. . .
8. WRITE AN AWESOME STORY AND DON'T STRESS ABOUT READS!
Unless your goal is to get millions of reads on Wattpad and/or to publish a book aimed at a specific section of the teen market that will compete with big social influencers -your read count doesn't really matter!
If you're writing a dark YA Fantasy, or a gritty teen thriller, or an adult horror etc. you can build an audience on Wattpad but you may never get the same level of reads as that badboy billionaire book. That's okay! There are less of your target audience here.
A million reads on Wattpad doesn't mean publishing success. Less than a million reads doesn't mean publishing failure. The most important thing to do is to write a great story!
I hope you find these tips useful! Do you have any you would add?
LAUREN PALPHREYMAN is a writer based in London. She is best known for her supernatural teen romance series, Cupid's Match, which has accumulated over 50 million hits online and was published by Wattpad Books / Penguin Random House, October 2019. Her urban fantasy Devils Inc. is out now. Find her on Instagram @LaurenPalphreyman, Twitter @LEPalphreyman, and Wattpad @LEPalphreyman
Get your copy of Cupid's Match here!
Get your copy of Devils Inc. here!