Mystified

Today when I posted another installment of The Jaguar Key on Wattpad, I followed the same procedure as the last post with very different results.

The procedure:

  • post the installment on Wattpad
  • shorten the URL using goo.gl
  • announce the post on Twitter using the shortened URL

This time there was absolutely no movement in the number of reads. It stayed at a solid 547. Perhaps that’s because on Wattpad a large number of new stories are posted on Thursdays and Fridays. It will be interesting to see whether a pattern develops. If anyone can explain the difference, I’d like to hear from you.

Between Monday and today (Thursday) the book has fallen off the top 1000 list in Fantasy. Last week, I first noticed the book hit the rankings in the mid 800’s. By Monday it had dropped to 927. The following day, it managed to climb 10 points to 917. When I looked again today, it had fallen off the ranking list. I’m not sure how the metrics work. I can only assume that even though my book’s numbers have gone up significantly since last Monday, other books have outperformed it, pushing it down in the rankings.

I want to share with you one the most impressive things I’ve learned about Wattpad: The Community Tab.
This tab provides access to Clubs, Awards, and a Blog among other goodies. I’m amazed at how much information and entertainment is available in the Clubs. There are people on there giving lessons on creating HTML threads and providing creative writing classes. There are also games. For instance, there is thread where readers guess the storyline from the title and another thread where you describe you work in one word. There are links to cover designers and other creatives. In short, if you are a writer with a question, there is probably someone on Wattpad who can help.

Update:

Later that afternoon, the number of reads began to move up. By Friday evening, The Jaguar Key reached 800 reads and was ranked 923 in Fantasy.

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Surprise Reads

I’d really like to know what constitutes a read on Wattpad. Today’s stats before I posted the next installment were 384 reads, 20 votes, 24 comments. The Jaguar Key was #927 in fiction, down slightly from yesterday when it was in the 800s. (Boy, was I excited about that!)

After posting and Tweeting about the post, I saw an almost immediate jump to 420 reads. With over 40 million users, I suppose it’s possible that 36 of them peeked at my book in the few minutes after a new part was posted. Now I’m crossing my fingers hoping a few of them will stick around to read and comment on the new chapter.

Another development–a Wattpad reader whose book I am reading and enjoying very much was reading mine as well. I think that was the result of mutual follows but I don’t remember who found who first. Anyway, this reader sent me a message saying he may buy the book–he can’t stand the suspense waiting for the next installment. I have to say I’m thrilled that I was able to create that kind of interest in a reader, especially one as sophisticated as another fantasy author. Creating that pleasurable level of tension is my goal as a writer of something easily classified as a Fantasy Thriller. On the other hand, I’m really disappointed to see him go. I’ve enjoyed the conversation as he’s commented on each chapter. I will continue to read and comment on his story. (Easter egg for those interested: with a little sleuth work on my Wattpad site, you can find his story and see the conversations.)

Happy Reading!  –Kate

P.S. The same evening, Wattpad reads for The Jaguar Key broke 500. And I found this nifty widget that shows the current status:

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Wattpad Engagement

Even without being listed on the “What’s New” Wattpad feed, The Jaguar Key continues to get more reads. What’s even better is the positive comments that are beginning to trickle in. The best comment I received was from another Wattpad author who said it was “well-written and full of life” and promised to be back to read more.

I added a new installment this morning, #5, Bolivia, 1809. When I did, the story had 305 reads, 10 stars, and 6 comments. To help it along, I posted an announcement on Twitter that has been retweeted several times. So far the link is showing 5 clicks (in the first hour). Than’s probably all it will get. Since Twitter engagement runs pretty low, I’m happy with that.

I also spent a few minutes looking at the featured fantasy stories. It looks like they need about twenty stars before they get noticed. The Jaguar Key is half-way there!

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The Answer

The mystery I’ve been dealing with for the past week regards Wattpad’s “What’s New” feed. In this grand experiment to see if Wattpad’s style of publishing serial installments will help me make each chapter more engaging, a key component is reader engagement. On the Wattpad platform, I’m engaging with readers: commenting on other author’s stories and being active in the “Clubs” among other things. A major stumbling block to this effort is that my submissions are not appearing on the “What’s New” feed where readers go the find new authors.

When I first contacted Wattpad about the issue, they replied the following day saying that new stories and new sections of existing stories only show up under “What’s New.” Huh? I guess I wasn’t clear about my issue. The tech added that they’d manually reindexed, “which might help push it onto the new list.”

I submitted a couple more installments of The Jaguar Key and carefully tracked the feed to make sure that I wasn’t overlooking anything. A lot of stories are posted each day. It is possible that I overlooked mine as I scrolled through the lists. But even with careful tracking, the new chapters didn’t appear on the feed.

I contacted Wattpad again. This is the answer I received (two days later and signed by the same tech):

The Wattpad Team (Wattpad Help)

Feb 18, 10:17

My apologies, but due to the high volume of stories being uploaded not all stories may be displayed on our lists.

Best,

– Laith K

The Wattpad Team

Your Wattpad Support Team

 

Sounds like a brush off, doesn’t it? So far I’m underwhelmed with the Wattpad experience. I’m not giving up yet–I’ll post the next installment on Thursday. Thanks for reading!

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A Mystery

Part Four, “A Conversation with a Witch,” is live on Wattpad. Each time an author posts a new part of their story, the story is supposed to show up in the “What’s New” feed on Wattpad.  Each time I’ve posted, I’ve looked for my story to show up.  I haven’t been able to find it. There are many new stories, so I thought maybe I overlooked it. I’ve tried filtering on Fantasy, still without seeing Rosamond Eternal: The Jaguar Key listed. A quick email to the company didn’t help. I’d really like my book to show up in this feed because until it gets a whole lot of attention as a new story, it won’t get picked up to be featured in the other feeds on the site.

I’m going to contact Wattpad again today to see if they can explain what is preventing my book from showing up. Stay tuned. I’ll let you know what’s going on.

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President’s Day Update

My Great Wattpad Experiment

I’m about to post the fourth installment on Rosamond Eternal: The Jaguar Key on Wattpad. The slightly different title reflects that I may make tweaks in the story to fit the episodic nature of series installments.

So far, I haven’t had to make changes except that I posted the second and third scenes in reverse order. I felt that having two scenes with Rosamond and Logger would help the reader get into the story  more thoroughly before jumping over to a scene featuring a different set of characters. If I were writing this book for Wattpad as a serial, I would probably stick to one viewpoint character.

For those of you interested in statistics, today before posting the next installment, the story has 3 parts, 236 views, 6 votes (three of them from me. Like in elementary school class elections, if I don’t vote for myself, how could I expect others to?) This breaks down by part to Part One–196 views, Part Two–11 views, and Part Three–29 views.  I have no idea why Part Two has fewer views than Part Three. I posted announcements to Twitter and Facebook for parts 1-2, but not for Part Three. Go figure. If you have any ideas about that, let me know.

 

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Wattpad Launch News

Early Results:

Last Thursday, I posted the first scene from my fantasy novel The Jaguar Key on Wattpad. The immediate results were very encouraging: 173 views the first day. However, a day later when the statistics were posted on the site, the report showed only one unique reader. For all I know, that may have been me. My guess is all those views probably came from search engines discovering the post. I’m not a computer person, but I had a similar experience recently with a web page.

I couldn’t wait to see what would happen with the second installment, so I posted it Tuesday. The next day my views were up to 185. That broke down to 182 views for the first “chapter” and three for the second.

To promote the Wattpad version of my novel, I’ve posted to my Twitter feed (about 3,500 followers) and it had several retweets from the wonderful Fantasy and Science Fiction folks at FSFNet. I also posted it on my Facebook, but my reach there is minimal.

Since Wattpad is a social media, I’ve spent some time joining its clubs and chatting with people on the site. I’ve followed several writers and readers who seemed interesting. I also posted the book on the Fantasy club in a discussion where authors are encouraged to post their works. I’ve added a few books the “My Library” and made a couple new lists for shapeshifter books and dragon books. All that took a few hours of my time Tuesday afternoon. The takeaway is that the community seems supportive and enthusiastic. It’s a place I could see myself hanging out online.

Chances are using Wattpad will change the way I read books. It will be a lot easier to scan genres and find new releases. Because the books are free, it’s easy to pick up a new story or author for a try. It’s an intuitive and friendly environment for the reader. I discovered several well-written books and read the first installment of each before adding them to my library so I could read them when I’m not working.

Too my surprise, an author I converse with on Twitter and Facebook sent me a message on Wattpad after the first post. I had the pleasure of reading the first chapter teaser for his novel right there on Wattpad, something not possible on other social media.

Because, as on Amazon, books that are popular are the ones that are promoted, it may take some time for a new book to gain traction. I’ve done what I can to help in get noticed so far. I’ll publish the next installment on Thursday and repeat the above announcements and social media contacts. I’ll let you know as things progress.

Questions:

I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with Wattpad. Have you had any success? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

Links:

Read The Jaguar Key on Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/32211884-rosamond-eternal-the-jaguar-key

 

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Will Wattpad Help me Write Better?

Revolutionizing the Writing Process

I’ve been inspired to try a new way to share my work. A video by Joanna Penn featuring Wattpad’s Head of Content, Ashleigh Gardner, highlighted how Wattpad is so interactive with readers. Wattpad encourages writers to serialize stories and post chapter by chapter. It’s a social media, so readers can comment, in fact are encouraged to comment. The idea of posting a chapter and hearing back from readers almost immediately really intrigued me. If my plan works, it will be like having a sea of beta readers–an author’s dream.

The challenge is to write each chapter to be engaging enough that someone will want to pick up the story a week later. How can I help but make my writing engaging when the stakes at the end of each serial submission are so high?

My plan is to post a chapter (or scene) of my fantasy novel The Jaguar Key every Thursday. The story will be essentially the same as the version I originally published, but revised to better fit into the serial style of Wattpad. I imagine the tweaks will make the book even stronger (and my editor even happier). If it works with The Jaguar Key, I’ll apply the technique to my works in progress.

I’ll also post here weekly or whenever something significant happens to let you know how the experiment goes. I’d appreciate your comments on Wattpad.

Questions:

Have you read novel-length fiction on Wattpad? What was your experience? Do you think serialization will make the story stronger?

Links:

Read The Jaguar Key on Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/32211884-rosamond-eternal-the-jaguar-key

Follow me on Wattpad:

Watch Book Marketing: How To Use Wattpad As An Author With Ashleigh Gardner:

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