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:


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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:

Follow me on Wattpad:

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

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The Writer’s Nest

The Value of Conferences

Writers seeking professional development often turn to conferences as a way to learn about the craft, meet other writers, and pitch their work to agents and publishers. But the biggest and most publicized conferences can be expensive, even more so when you factor in travel and hotel expenses.  There is another option: the local conference.  These are often hosted by state or regional writing groups or the local chapters of national groups and offer great value.

I recently attended a mini conference held by the Central Florida chapter of the Florida Writer’s Association. The sad thing was that I almost didn’t go. With just over a hundred participants, The Writer’s Nest was intimate, “cozy” in real-estate terms. When a friend invited me, my response was, “It’s not big enough to attract agents with the clout to sell my book. And who is going to lead the sessions? The same people I know from critique groups?”

Despite what they say about a cluttered desk,  when mine looks like this it means I'm focused  on a project to the exclusion of everything else.  Right now it's getting Rosamond Eternal out the door.

Despite what they say about a cluttered desk,
when mine looks like this it means I’m focused
on a project to the exclusion of everything else.
Right now it’s getting Rosamond Eternal out the door.

Thank goodness I checked out the program before saying no. I almost didn’t; I’ve been busy as evidenced by the state of my desk.

At this conference small were several agents who flew in from as far away as Los Angeles just to spend the day with a group of 100 plus writers. What an opportunity for these writers to not only pitch their work to agents actively building their lists, but to talk with these people who have a window on the other side of the publishing business. Several of the agents conducted sessions in which they shared their understanding of the publishing business and welcomed questions from the writers. One session had less than twenty participants and two literary agents from a well-respected Boston agency.

Then there was lunch, a healthy and delicious lunch at which the presenters (agents, publishers, social media experts, editors, and so on) mingled and dined with the participants. Talk about intimate.

As for the local talent, that’s Talent with a capital T. Sitting across the table from someone once or twice a month in critique groups is not the same as listening to their professional presentation at a conference. Some of these folks travel to national conferences to present the same material. Some are amazingly skilled writers with insight into the craft and the willingness and ability to share that with others. I humbly admit that I learned a great from the hometown prophets in Central Florida.

But I should have known. Thinking back on the first conference I ever attended, it was much the same. Held by the Space Coast Writer’s Guild, it offered only sessions, no agents, no booths, just sessions on skill building, publication, and promotion. Looking back, the presenters at that simple conference gave me the vision of my future career that I’m still using as guidance.

True, the national and international conferences draw big names. But they draw big numbers and big price tags as well. My advice–don’t discount the value of local conferences on whatever topic. There is no substitute for intimacy.

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