Adventures in Self-publishing – Part 1: Wattpad

Posted: May 3, 2013 in Mutterings

Let’s face it, you’re not a writer unless you’re an attention whore. Personally, I’m only in it for the warm fuzzies. Being a family pet means I have no idea about finance, I may have chewed a ten pound note once. What I’m getting at is that this is my passion and my hobby, not an alternative career, strictly amateur. I don’t do it for the money.

However, I do want desperately for people to read my stories and tell me how brilliant I am.  I like to publish my stories on various webzines; Every Daily Fiction, Quantum-Muse, Another Realm, Daily Science Fiction (one day they WILL accept one of my stories) and, my personal favourite, Aphelion. It’s not just the sense of community that surrounds these sites and makes them special, to get a story published at these sites means that it has met a certain quality, that its ‘good enough’ by someone else’s standards. That is also important to me.

But once I’ve published a story and the glow of seeing my name in print, up on the screen, has faded, what then?

There’s a lot of noise around the inter-tubes about the changes in the publishing industry. Certainly, its still the ultimate goal for a professional writer, to make it past the gatekeepers of the publishing industry and see their work in dead tree format. I won’t lie, my resolution this year is to get my name in a print magazine.

However, if you don’t want to run that gauntlet, or you’re tired of seeing form rejection letters, then self publishing is  an attractive option.  Or if you’re an attention whore who wants to reach a wider audience.

wattpad-iconMy first dabbling is with Wattpad. This site pimps itself as the ‘youtube’ for sharing electronic stories. The site itself has a very simple and intuitive  look and feel, even though it’s colour theme is orange.  It pushes the social angle hard with integration to Twitter and Facebook. On this site, you can follow other people and be followed. You can write on each others walls, etc…

Publishing stories is a doddle but it really emphasises the need to have a cracking good ‘book cover’ for your work.

I think I got very lucky. I did a google image search with the keywords ‘cybernetic’, ‘legs’,  ‘female’ and straight away hit on something I liked. I tracked down the site of the guy who had created it, Rafido Francavilla. Of course, you have to be very mindful of copyright but I was happy to see Rafido does book covers and so I emailed him, not sure what would happen next.  I don’t want to bore you with details, but long story short, Rafido made me a book cover – for free – as long as I properly attributed his work, the model and original photographer.

This is the result and IT IS TEH AWESOME!!!!LESS-OF-HER-240x340 So, armed with my book cover, I created an account, set up a profile and started to add a new story.

The process is straightforward but you can see straight away that it is geared towards allowing you to update your Work In Progress (WIP) a chapter at a time. You can even release it, only a chapter at a time. This probably works very well for long works but it confused the heck out of me. In the end, I chunked my story up into chapters, even though some of them are only a paragraph long. If I had to do it again, I don’t think I would bother, I’d just put the whole thing in one chunk. This is important for a reason I will get to later.

The site only really caters for reading ON the site. However, there are Wattpad apps for JesusiPhone and Android. I downloaded the Android app and it’s actually really very good. So the best thing about Wattpad for me is that people can access my story, easily and in a really accessible format on their Smart phone or tablet!  Come on, that’s pretty cool, right?

Once you’ve published your masterpiece this is the kind of status info you can get on it.

Less-of-her-wattpad

The read count is a little misleading. It aggregates the read count for each chapter/chunk/section. So, if you go and visit my story, you can see that (currently) 23 people have read the first chapter, ‘brass legs’, but only 7 people made it to the last chapter, ‘whole’ (and 12 people read the ‘Acknowledgements’ page – WTF?).  So really, only 7 people have read it all the way through, assuming nobody skipped a chapter or two.

If you look at the number of stories by genre on Wattpad it gives you an idea of the user demographic of the site. Romance ~3.5 million stories, Fan-fiction ~2.4 million and Teen fiction ~2.2 million. Science Fiction short stories come in at a paltry 4,363 (right now).  A site firmly catering to da youf of today.

Will I put other work here?

Yes, I think I will. Every little helps. In fact, I have a plan to publish my Flash fiction stories here. The model would work very well as I seem to do a Flash story about once or month. I can publish as I go, each Flash story will get it’s own chapter, and therefore its own read count, and I only need one book cover for it. So keep your eyes peeled for that.

In the meantime, go read my story at Wattpad, vote for it, coment on it and tell me how much you love me!

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Comments
  1. […] of routes to this. I've been playing with this and I've blogged about it if you're interested: – Part 1: Wattpad – Part 2: Smashwords – Part 3: Doggerel – more about publishing a Flash collection really, you can […]

  2. […] I was googwhacking my short story, Less Of Her, which I used in my adventures in self-publishing (Part 1 – Wattpad, Part 2 – Smashwords) and I got hits for the story on iTunes and WHSmiths (UK […]

  3. […] Adventures in Self-publishing – Part 1: Wattpad […]

  4. […] In part 1, I explored the trials and tribulations of publishing on Wattpad. […]

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