Wattpad Frustration

Wattpad seems to be experiencing issues.

I’d like to be able to report that all is well with Wattpad, and a couple days ago I would have said just that. The number of reads for each new posting were higher than the previous posting. That seemed counterintuitive to me, but somehow people were finding more story. No complaints.

All that ended on Thursday. The story I posted on Thursday received 20 something reads compared to 140 for the previous installment, and that despite more retweets of the Twitter announcement than any other installment so far.

I let it sit for a couple days, feeling that Wattpad would eventually sort itself out.

Other anomalies have occurred while I’ve been Wattpad. For instance, about a week ago, all the most popular books dropped off the Fantasy genre hot list for several hours to be replaced by books with much less popularity. The same happened for some other genres. At that time, my book moved into the 300s in the rankings. Once things were restored to order, my book landed back at #807 where it had been before and where it remains.

Today there still hadn’t been much of an improvement in the number of reads. It made no sense that the story just stopped garnering reads.

Then I noticed that all the tags had been removed from my story. While that may not seem like a significant problem, many of the search functions in Wattpad rely on tags. Without them, there was little chance that the story would be seen by anyone other my followers. The silver lining in all this is that I now understand a little better how readers find my story on Wattpad.

The user interface on Wattpad also received a reworking in the past few days. Maybe that has something to do with all the flukiness I’ve seen recently. I can’t imagine how that could cause the missing tags. However, if you are an author on Wattpad, you should check to make sure your story still has any tags you set up.

The biggest frustration has been finding announcements from Wattpad of any problems on the site. I’ve checked the clubs, the help pages on the website, the blog, the Wattpad Twitter feed, and Facebook. It seems that Wattpad very rarely communicates with its users about problems. A notice saying that they are resolving issues would have gone a long way to allay my concerns. Absent that, a forum where interface and server issues are discussed could help. If you know of such a place that I overlooked, please let me know in the comments.

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How to Get your Book Noticed on Wattpad, and How Not To

Today’s post is taken mainly from a conversation I had with a writer/friend I met on Wattpad. He wanted to know how my book was doing so well, so quickly.

First, it was news to me that my book was doing well in comparison to another author’s book, one which I am truly enjoying reading and consider to be well written and entertaining.

How is it that a story with such strong hooks, interesting characters, compelling ideas, and plenty of action could languish unnoticed on Wattpad for the better part of a year?

This made me think a little more deeply on the matter. I wish I knew the answer to his question, which at it’s root was “what I had done differently?” As I’ve said here before, I announce each update on Twitter and sometimes on Facebook, but I don’t get many people clicking through from there (if any).

At first I thought linking to the story from this website, FB, and Twitter might have contributed to the read count. Then, the one time I had the most reads, I forgot to tweet about the update for several hours and still had a jump in reads. Another time, I tweeted and had almost no reads.

The very first part of my story published received over a hundred reads within the first few hours. I don’t know why. I’ve seen stories that have been on much longer with fewer than 50 reads.

My best guess is most reads come from inside Wattpad. I’ve been exploring the site and commenting in the forums. I followed a few people other writers whose books interested me. I read the first chapters and commented and voted if I enjoyed the reading. That’s about it.

The biggest contribution to the number of reads probably came from posting the story/cover on the Fantasy forum’s self-promotion board, followed closely by just being helpful when people ask questions I can answer.

In the process, I’ve also caught a glimpse of the dark underbelly of Wattpad: someone asked me to do a vote for a vote program. The requester called it her “help a wattpadian campaign.” In essence, I should vote for her story installments and she would vote for mine. Gaming the system like that is wrong and I’m pretty sure it’s against the terms of service. I personally wouldn’t vote for or comment on works that I don’t like anyway; votes and comments are personal endorsements. I didn’t respond to the request.

If personal integrity isn’t enough to keep authors honest on Wattpad, here’s another thought:

By not gaming the system, when our stories get reads and votes, we know it’s because they appealed to a reader, not because someone wanted something from us.

To me, that is very important. Wattpad is a personal challenge: “How can I write that will engage readers?”

I want to be able to see how readers respond to each installment that I post. The bottom line questions are, “was the last installment compelling enough for readers to come back?” and, “was the current installment engaging enough to garner a few comments and votes?” Vote trading would undermine the utility of Wattpad in answering those questions and devalue the amazing metrics Wattpad provides.

If you post a story on Wattpad, my best recommendation is to become active in the Wattpad community. Read other works and vote and comment if you like something. Take part in the clubs. Not only will readers be more likely to notice your work but you may become friends with other Wattpad authors and readers, people who will enrich your experience and your life.

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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.


– 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.


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


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.


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


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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