In late December I started uploading chapters of Little Sister Song to Wattpad. That story is now complete on the site, and I’ve almost finished uploading Out of Tune (book 2) as well. I thought I’d talk a bit about my reasons for using Wattpad to distribute these books, and my experience so far.
When I started writing the Wynter Wild series a few years ago, I was messing around with several different ideas, smooshing them together, writing scenes and part-scenes out of order as they came to me, just having fun with it. My agent called it “an exploratory work” (that she had no confidence she could sell) and she was right, although I’ve since reworked the early books into a slightly more traditional structure.
“Slightly” being the operative word. The series doesn’t fall neatly into a genre, and we all know how much agents, editors, publishers, and booksellers need their neat genres (preferably with high drama) before they’ll take a chance on a book.
Additionally, the structure within the books slots only loosely into the revered Hero’s Journey or Three-Act Structure (etc.). Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate those structures and I did use them retro-actively to work on the rising and falling drama. But to put it bluntly, my books individually and as a whole aren’t particularly conventional.
There is nothing experimental or exploratory about the writing style, incidently. It’s all pretty straightforward, which is how I write — although, the male POV was a fairly new thing for me.
Wattpad is a free-to-use platform that allows me to upload books in parts. Readers can vote (“like”) and comment as they go, even commenting on individual phrases within a part, and I can reply to them in real time. Because my books are already complete, I’ve been able to update daily, a few parts at a time after finishing final edits.
So far, it’s been quite an adventure and I’m thrilled that readers are finding my books. Wattpad displays the number of “reads” and votes for each book (across all chapters) and as of today Little Sister Song has 26.3K reads, which means 26.3K individual decisions by readers to read a chapter through and click to the next one. Out of Tune (90% complete) has 13.7K reads in the 3 weeks it’s been up. (Over all, this translates to a couple of hundred loyal readers, with new readers coming in all the time at the start.)
Wattpad is also a great way for me to find stories to read, of course. I stalk my followers by looking at what they’re reading, to see what might interest me.
In my next post I’ll talk about how the episodic format and the reader interaction differ from my traditional publishing experience a few years ago, as well as my plans for the remaining books in the series. Now I have to go check my notifications because that little red dot next to my name in the screendump means I have new ones!
Meanwhile — have you tried Wattpad as a reader or writer? What are your thoughts?