Shining a Light on Wattpad!

Wattpad is an online writing community and social media platform.  It has over 75 million stories, and 35 million users – many of whom are teens.  It is a global writing group for writers of all levels to share and chat about their work. Users are encouraged to comment and vote on each other’s stories. The right feedback can improve your work.  Great, well written stories generate a lot of votes and become more visible due to Wattpad’s ranking scale. It can be an excellent way to develop a fan base and it’s fun. 

This is Part Two of my interview with Hannah M. King, author of: The Dorston Fall.  

Here Hannah gives us her tips for using Wattpad

How long have you been using Wattpad? 
About two years now.

How have you found Wattpad to be helpful? 
Wattpad has helped me overcome my fears of sharing my stories. The idea of thousands of people reading them, and potentially hating them, has always terrified me. But that’s not the case anymore. Over the past two years, I have found people who actually read and love my stories, people who encourage me, who ask me for quick updates, because they are impatient to know what happens next. It is because of them that I have the confidence and the motivation to keep writing.

Are there any drawbacks? 
A drawback I have found is that you often don’t get the feedback you need. Most writers on Wattpad read for entertainment, as well you should, but sometimes it would be nice to receive actual criticism and advice on a chapter or a post. But that’s just me!

What suggestions can you give authors who are starting out on Wattpad for the first time? 
The first thing is don’t worry about your follower or following counter. Don’t even look at it! It may be low when you start, it may be low after two years of posting, but that does not mean you are a bad writer. People just haven’t found you yet, so give them reason to. Promote your stories on the club pages. Ask for feedback. Give feedback on other stories. Make yourself known!

Just write as much and as often as you can. Readers like authors who make frequent updates, but it is entertaining reading their tormented pleas following a cliff hanger. Ha ha! Read as much as you can. If you want to be a successful writer, you need to open yourself up to new writing styles, new genres, and new ideas. So read!

Wattpad is a wonderland, waiting to be discovered, so have fun. Don’t be so focused on getting noticed and getting published, that you forget to interact with your readers, and with other writers.

Is a great cover essential for Wattpad? 
Growing up with an artistic mother, brother and sister, I’ve come to appreciate good graphics – both hand drawn and computerised. Until I read the blurb at least, I do judge a book by its cover, and on Wattpad it is the difference between a read and a pass over. It is all about impression and presentation, and it is easy to see which authors care and those who don’t. Every story is a labour of love, so surely it deserves a great cover. Doesn’t it? It’s not essential, many stories have been successful without flashy, well made covers, but I would recommend it, if only to attract more readers.

How can they best engage the community? 

Click here to read The Dorston Rise
Images:Deviantart – Faestock, Jessica Truscott

The club forums are a very good place to start. Not only are you able to advertise your own work there, but when you join or subscribe, you get regular alerts to new posts and new stories on your feed. This will also build your reading lists and subscriptions. The ambassadors clear the boards every week, so there is always new to read. Go out your comfort zone and read genres and stories different to your own. Comment and vote wherever you can – authors want criticism, but with some positive reinforcement. Votes make people smile.

Have you found that to utilise it properly takes a huge amount of time? 
I guess it depends on how much time you have on your hands. I go on Wattpad at least three times a day, sometimes more, to see if any of the stories I am reading have been updated, or to see who is voting and commenting on my own stories. I imagine a lot of people spend more time on the site, and I don’t blame them. As I said before, Wattpad is a wonderland and there is always something new to read and to do.
Writing is a solitary endeavour and many writers are often beset by self-doubt. 
How do you deal with this?  Does Wattpad reduce some of this isolation?  Does the feedback from Wattpad help with those moments of self-doubt? 
Doubt is a natural thing when you purse a writing career, but that doesn’t mind you have to embrace it. You can choose to wallow in self-pity, convinced your writing sucks and that you will never be published, or you can pick yourself up and keep writing until something amazing happens.
I face this dilemma every day, but I find myself constantly inspired and motivated by the incredible support system around me: my family, my friends, my Wattpad readers and followers, even the fantastic books on my shelf and the music on my player. Since I joined the community, Wattpad has played an important role in the way I write and why I write. It’s a great feeling, waking up to find vote after vote, comment after comment, on stories you have created and poured your heart, soul and time into. It’s truly a wonderful feeling and is the perfect way to keep the doubt at bay. (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it haha.)

Photo: Damian Gadal, ©2012

Has feedback from Wattpad users altered your writing?
It has, and I have never been more grateful. In the beginning, I had a nasty habit of switching points of view without proper breaks. I thought I needed to show a scene/event from every aspect, so not to miss anything out. I was about halfway through The Dorston Fall, when a fellow Wattpadder and friend gave me advice on this and helped me change my approach. Dorston Fall definitely benefited from this change, as have my other works.

Would you recommend Wattpad to new authors? 
One word: Yes!

You can find Hannah on:

Twitter @HannahMKing6