As indie authors have struggled for discovery in a sea of openly published titles, more and more tools have cropped up to help authors put their content in front of relevant readers. At the same time, various platforms are offering something for readers as well, helping them uncover content with which to engage.
Wattpad has made a name for itself through its mobile reading application, its connection between authors, readers, and publishers, and its record 24 million registered users. But many authors are still unsure of what it is that Wattpad is supposed to do for them.
“Wattpad is really great at helping authors build an audience and create fans. Obscurity is the biggest probelm that indie authors face,” explained Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Content, Publishing at Wattpad, in an interview with Good e-Reader.
But for many authors, that equates to simply placing a story or novel excerpt on Wattpad and sitting back to wait for the readers to come. Gardner explained why that will prove ineffective for the majority of authors, comparing that tactic to sending out hundreds of tweets per day on Twitter but not having any followers to read them.
“the problem is they just post content, then sit back and expect people to come and find it. They really need to control this and treat it as a strategy. If you find similiar writers on the site and comment on their work, and make an authentic conncetion, that’s a great way to start interacting. The more people comment, the more people will see it.”
While Gardner admitted that there is a high percentage of young adults who read on Wattpad–largely due to the popularity of their mobile reading app–she explained that a significant number of users are actually of a wider variety of ages, and that communities are built around almost every conceivable genre.
“As authors, you need to go native on Wattpad. You need to follow other people and see how they’re using the platform.”
Mercy Pilkington is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of a hybrid publishing and consulting company.