Industry News: What’s up, Wattpad

As any savvy writer knows, there is a world of self-promotion opportunities available to you in social media: you’re tweeting and re-tweeting, thumbs-upping, page managing, and Tumblring around. But the sea of social media is vast and unwieldy. It’s easy to feel as if you are painstakingly slipping notes into bottles and casting them into the unknown with a prayer: go now, missive, find the readers!

But what if there was a free social media platform set up with a huge, eager and excited whole network of readers and writers to interact with? Where people are there to share stories? Well my friends, welcome to Wattpad: the social media app for a community of readers and writers.

Wattpad has been around for a while and if you follow social media, you’ll remember the buzz when Margaret Atwood joined on, who states: “Wattpad opens the doors and enlarges the view in places where the doors are closed and the view is restricted.” More interactive than Goodreads, Wattpad allows readers to closely follow and comment on the work of writers as they upload it, whether as a serial work [chapter by chapter] or standalone works such as short stories.

What an alternative to those writers who struggle with the notion that writing must occur in isolation! Stories are meant to be shared, and it can be incredibly frustrating to produce a work and wait for response to trickle in.

Now, it’s true, Wattpad is not for everyone; one wonders at the success, or even presence, of poetry in such a medium, not to mention the same “problem” of getting visibility among so many users. What’s more, just like the other social media, the trending topics and books aren’t necessarily those with more literary content. However, there are opportunities to find that community on Wattpad, and again, to interact with already interested parties. To beat a metaphor to death: instead of casting bottles with no destination, you’re casting lines to an ocean full of fish!

With so much more opportunity for dialogue about all aspects of writing and reading – characters, scenes, plot lines, input from readers who follow your work, creative collaboration – Wattpad is certainly worth at least checking out. And it’s free! While Wattpad might make the traditionalist uncomfortable, it’s sort of like an online writing group – but with this group, there’s the opportunity to raise your readership, which might even end up in traditional publishing deals [like some users have had!]

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