Writer and Wattpadder Esosa Suwa shares her top tricks for getting your book seen—and read—on Wattpad.
Your fingers twitch above the keyboard. You look at a full document of creatively
strung words in front of you, titled Chapter 1. You’ve poured all your time, energy,
creativity, and passion into the story. Despite wanting people to simply enjoy, you
toy with the fantasy of getting millions of reads and recognition for your book.
The thoughts make you swell with anticipation and so you eagerly hit the ‘Publish’
button and share your story out into the world.
Then you wait.
The hours turn into days, which turn into weeks, which turn into months. Your view
count stays stagnant and you wonder why your story isn’t picking up. Unfortunately, this is the scenario many Wattpad writers face when uploading stories onto the internet. Before publishing, it’s important that you make sure that your story is ready. Here are some tips to help.
1. Aim to Have 50-100 Followers
This might seem a little counterproductive, but having followers before you post a
story will help your book avoid being thrust into an echo chamber. When you upload,
your followers will be notified that you have a new chapter and might be inclined to
check. You might wonder, how might I get followers if I don’t have a story? Engaging
with other readers, commenting on their stories, or even taking part in follower
exchanges will be beneficial to gaining early followers. Consider uploading your story one you have at least 50 followers.
2. Have a Memorable Title
Alongside the cover, the title will be the first thing readers will notice of your book. It should have some semblance to the book. They should draw readers in with the promise of a premise. It will help readers to catch onto your story idea right away. Your title should be related to the theme, a character, or an element of the story. For example, the title Romeo & Juliet, refers to the two titular characters of the story. The Hunger Games, refers to the plot element that the story revolves around, which is a televised battle reminding people of their rebellion. A Court of Thorns and Roses doesn’t give away any plot of the story, but shows a theme of the duality of love and deception prominent in the book. Think about what you want your title to say about your book, and write it accordingly.
3. People Will Judge a Book By Its CoverText
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? That applies to everything but books. As humans, we are visual people and we are attracted to things aesthetically pleasing to us. That goes for books too. The cover gives us an idea of the emotion and concept of a book. That’s why it’s imperative not to skimp out on design. A poorly done and mismatched cover looks amateur and makes people not want to read your book.
You can make your own cover using software (like Picsart, Pixlr, Adobe Express, Canva, etc.) or you can request designs through “cover shops” on Wattpad.
[ Related Article: How to Design a Professional-Looking Cover for Wattpad and E-Book Sharing Sites ]
4. Pull Readers in With a Good Description
Imagine your favorite books and what they say on the back or in the folds. The job of a description is to explain the characters, plot, the world, and the conflict of your story, while making it sound captivating to readers. Always focus on the five W’s and how your story unfolds. Start with your setting, then your characters, what happens to them, why it happens, and how they are going to fix it. Avoid using vague language to try an entice readers, because it almost always falls flat. Saying things like “I suck at summaries so don’t read” will drive away potential readers.
5. Tags Are Your Best Friend
Tags should comprise genres, tropes, and elements that appear in your story. They should be a mix of popular tags and more niche tags, so you can get engagement from all sides. If your book is science fiction, but is also based in a futuristic world, put both science-fiction and futuristic as tags on the stories. If this story has elements of enemies-to-lovers and found family then it’s important to tag those too. It's important to tag any prominent element of the story. If you are writing fanfiction, put the type of characters and fanfiction tropes that it includes. If you’re writing a Thor fanfiction, you can tag Thor and God of Thunder both. Billionaire, bad boy, and werewolf are popular tags that get lots of visibility.
[ Related Article: How to Choose the Best Tags for your Wattpad Story ]
6. Upload Consistently
There’s nothing worse than enjoying a story only for it to say “Last Updated in 2019”. Since Wattpad is a serialized platform, it allows for readers to wait for chapters and therefore interact more with a story. It’s key to communicate your schedule to readers so they know what to expect. The best upload schedule would be at least once a week, but less than three times a week. If you are writing as you go, start by posting once a week, preferably on Fridays (since most people have more time to read on the weekends). You can have three days to write, two days to revise, two days to edit, and then you can upload. If you’ve written a significant portion or the entire story beforehand and can just hit ‘upload’, then try a higher frequency of 2 or 3 times a week.
When you make a schedule, make sure that you stick to it, or else fans will lose interest and you will lose momentum. If you can’t post on time, notify your readers so you aren’t just abandoning them.
7. The First Chapter is Key
Once readers have been hooked by your title, cover, and description, the next step is actually reading the book. It’s common for the first chapter to have the highest views out of stories, because that’s when most people read and then stop. This is why your first chapter is crucial—it's where readers are introduced to your character, the setting, and the beginning of the conflict.
Avoid starting with a "waking up in the morning" chapter, as that is cliché on Wattpad and boring. Start with an interesting predicament and how your character goes about dealing with it. This will introduce a the character and their internal conflict. The reader shouldn’t be confused or bored—or they won’t keep reading.
8. Grammar & Spelling Matter
Your story should be readable and have proper grammar for the language you’re writing in. Don’t write in script format or in modern internet slang. Make sure that the paragraphs of your story are short, since Wattpad readers don't want to consume one vast wall of text. There’s nothing more annoying than an interesting sounding story that has horrendous grammar. There’s nothing wrong with a couple of spelling and grammar mistakes, but when it detracts from the story, people won’t want to read. Software such as Grammarly, ProWritingAid, or even spellcheck on your device, can help with editing.
9. Engage With Readers
If someone comments on your story, reply to them. If someone adds it to their reading list or votes, then thank them for reading. Includes prompts or questions at the end of the chapters to start a dialogue in the comments and drive up engagement. Communication shows that you as the author care about your readers and appreciate them.
10. Promote on Social Media
If you have social media or access to another wide platform, promote your books there. Whenever you upload a new chapter, you can make it known on sites like Twitter or Tumblr. If you prefer a visual format, TikTok and YouTube are great options for promotion too. If you have a blog, an email list, or any other online platform, use those to promote your book. You can also share it with your friends and family too.
11. Post on Multiple Platforms
This is something I find underrated. If you want to gain popularity overall on the internet and get your story out there, consider posting on multiple story platforms aside from Wattpad. Royal Road, is good for fantasy and sci-fi writers. Other options include Quotev, Neovel, Inkitt, Writersky, Bellestristica, and Penana*.
*Disclaimer: Websites and apps listed in this article have not been vetted by Fanficable. We have no guarantees as to the safety or quality of these sites.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Esosa Zuwa is an aspiring author hailing from Canada, who writes fiction and poetry. Find more about Esosa here: https://esosazuwa.carrd.co/#
Do you have your own tips for gaining readers? Share them in the comments...