Our cover girl Ashley Royer dishes on 7 things all authors should know about Wattpad! Ashley has been publishing her writing on Wattpad since she was thirteen years old, and she has over 30 million combined reads on her stories. Remember to Forget is her first published book (Harper Collins Blink YA, April 2016), based on fan fiction that started on Wattpad.
We always have our eyes on communities and platforms for writers. For those of you that aren’t familiar, Wattpad is a social on the go experience and more than 40 million people around the world have joined Wattpad. In a world of 7 second attention spans the Wattpad community collectively spends 13 billion minutes using Wattpad. Here’s an incredible Wattpad success story from Ashley, in case your wondering if Wattpad is right for you.
- Interaction. I believe that the most important part about being an author on Wattpad is interaction. By interacting with your readers, they turn into supporters and friends, which helps you gain new followers. Without interacting with your readers, you are just a person on the other side of a screen. There’s no depth to you, no personality, no connection. You want your readers to get to know you and feel like they can talk to you. By getting to know the author behind their favorite story, it adds a deeper, more personal meaning to everything you write. At the end of every chapter, I always say something personal whether it is wishing everyone a happy holiday or telling everyone something that may have happened during my week. My readers get to know me. Read every comment, message, and post, and respond to as many people as you can. Personally, if I didn’t have such faithful readers that engage constantly with me, I’m not sure I’d still be writing, or at least I would not have a book being published in April!
- Updating Frequently. When I first started writing on Wattpad, I thought I had to update every single day in order to keep my readers interested. That is not the case. Of course, if you have the time to do that, go right ahead! I have found that updating my stories once a week works best. That way, it gives my readers time to read the new chapter, while also giving me time to write the next chapter. Every week without updating, I find that I lose some readers because they’ve moved on to something new. Updating frequently keeps your story ranked high and keeps your story at the top of your readers’ libraries.
- Always Something New. Continuing with readers moving onto something new, there are always new stories being put on Wattpad. There are millions of stories in every genre possible, constantly being updated and new ones gaining popularity. Once someone is done with a story, they move onto something else. Your goal as a writer is to keep readers with you for as long as you can, because unlike a regular book you can buy in a store, a story on Wattpad can be deleted from a library with the click of a button. Also, with an actual book, it is in its full, completed state. On Wattpad, people may move on without ever getting to the end of your story, and that’s totally okay! You will have your faithful readers that will stick with you until the very end.
- Tags. Tags are very important on Wattpad. A tag is a descriptive keyword that may help a reader find your story by searching for the tags that you choose. If you do not put tags, it will be more difficult for people to discover your story. I always try to put tags that are relevant to my story as well as eye catching and popular. For me, I started off writing fanfiction on Wattpad, so the most popular tag for me would be the names of the celebrities I focused on.
- A Numbers Game. I used to be very obsessed with the “numbers.” This means the following count, the amount of reads, how many messages… I correlated large numbers with being more successful or popular. My advice to new authors would be to not get wrapped up in all the numbers. At one point, I would wake up and immediately check on Wattpad to see how much my following count and reads had increased over night. I would compare my numbers with others and wonder why I didn’t have as many followers as them. You can be an amazing writer and have 10 followers, or 10 thousand followers. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you enjoy what you’re writing and the people who are reading your stories, no matter how many, enjoy it too. The quantity of your following should not be the main focus of Wattpad or the reason you write.
- Engaging. I love seeing what my readers have to say about my stories. I read as many comments as possible since there are so many now, and I read all of my messages. People can comment on any sentence, paragraph, or the end of a chapter. Their input helps me determine if I’m headed in the right direction. I can see all of their emotions, like whether they are happy, sad, excited, or aggravated. With an actual book, you have no way of knowing if people like or dislike a certain part of the story while you’re writing. The comments and messages also make my very happy and thankful. Getting to see people say my story has helped them or they could connect to one of the characters is amazing. Since my book deals with common teenage struggles, like relationships, depression, and anxiety, my readers’ input is fantastic. I started writing in order to help people and open their eyes to things, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m constantly receiving messages from my readers about how my book helped them deal with a problem or they met their best friend because of my book. It truly is gratifying.
- Write What You Love. Write about something that interests you. If you like mystery, write about mystery. If you don’t like vampires, don’t write about vampires, no matter how popular that is! When you’re not interested, your readers will be able to tell. They will feel the disconnect and lose interest as well. We all have moments of writer’s block and doubt, but if you really enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll get back to it. You will be motivated to write constantly and the quality of your writing will be much, much better if you love the topic and plot of your story.