I was fairly new to Wattpad but my first novel, Golden Bonds, was a lesson in marketing and followers. Here is a list of tips I’ve learned that gain readers and votes as well as things I wish I would have done differently.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for votes. Many readers get so caught up in the story they just scroll to the next chapter without marking that little star. At the end of each entry, I put in bold print. “DON’T FORGET TO VOTE.” It helped remind readers to hit the star before moving on to the next chapter.
2. Leave little notes behind. I’ve noticed on chapters that I finish with a short message to my readers, whether it’s a simple thank you or a clue into what’s going to happen next, there’s an increase in comments and votes. Asking questions about the story gets them involved, creating a direct conversation with your readers and builds relationships. Don’t forget, every time someone comments on your book it shows up in their followers’ news feed. The more they see your cover as they browse the more attention it gets.
3. Always comment back. This is a very important part of marketing your book. Creating a lasting impression and connecting with your readers on a personal level will increase your reads. I have a large number of readers who I talk to on a regular basis, this not only builds my comment count but it increases the number of times my book ends up on the browser feed. If you have a positive relationship with your readers they’re more likely to share your story and keep new readers coming. It forms a community around your story and those readers are going to come back for rereads or to check out your other work, sometimes just to say hi. A consistent return to your book also gets it further up the list in your genre. I noticed that even if my read count has slowed down if I keep returning to answer comments or respond to a conversation my book gets closer to #1.
4. There is an ongoing discussion over word count per chapter. I made a huge mistake by making my chapters too long. It affected the number of reads, votes, and comments I was able to get. Golden Bonds only has 36 parts compared to a lot of books that have twice that even though the final edition has over 80,000 words in the entire book. However, posting chapters that have too few can have the opposite effect, especially if you are building readers while the book is unfinished. A lot of readers get annoyed when the chapters are too small and will wait for the book to be completed before reading. Which isn’t always a good thing, a lot of times your book ends up in their library and forgotten about. Not what you want either because this will affect your publicity. If a completed book has low numbers a lot of times it gets overlooked. The best way to do this is to build a decent sized chapter but not too large. I’ve noticed that any chapter under 2,000 words is too small, it doesn’t give the reader enough to keep them interested and hooked. However, chapters over 3,500 words are too large. Yes, the fans love longer chapters but it will cost you votes and reads. Reads are based on each chapter, not overall new readers. So Golden Bonds only gets 36 reads and votes per new reader if that individual votes for every chapter. Whereas books with the same total word count but more chapters get more votes and more reads for each new reader. I cost myself a lot of votes and reads by posting chapters that were upwards of 4,000 even 5,000 words. That could have been two parts instead of one and I could have gotten twice the votes and reads. Basically, I only get 36 counts for each reader when I could have gotten 50 with the same book.
5. Go ahead and use cliffhangers but be careful with abusing them. If there are too many cliffhangers many readers will stop reading until the book is completed. Which, again, is not what you want. It diminishes your reads and votes which means your book isn’t getting shared on the Wattpad feed and your book drops lower down the list in your genre. When readers stop to wait until they can read the whole thing, your book ends up in the library and forgotten about. Not what you want at all.
6. Follow your voters. I follow every single person who votes on my book. It not only builds relationships but a lot of them will follow you back. Then when you see their feed and comment on their comments it keeps you in the back of their mind. They’re going to remember you and return to your work even while their reading other books. Keep up with the relationships your building, that way when you write new novels everyone already in love with your work will immediately return to your page.
7. Support your readers, read their work, vote on their chapters and share their stories. Quid Pro Que is a major aspect of marketing. Even if it might feel a little manipulative, it’s a key strategy in sales. Do something for them and they will feel the need to return the favor. The greatest part of Wattpad is the community you can build around your story but if they get the impression you don’t care about them, they won’t care about you.
8. Spelling and Grammar. OMG OMG OMG. I can not tell you how many times I’ve started a good book and stopped because of all the mistakes. Which means, once again your book goes into the library to be forgotten about. Something to take into account; a lot of awards and reviews will see this. It’s far more distracting than you think. If your goal is to get published also remember that a lot of publishing companies looking at Wattpad for the next big thing have a limited number of books they’re going to offer contracts too. If it comes between your book and someone else’s and their book has little to no errors while yours is full of them they’re going to go with the better edited one. It saves the publishers time and money they don’t have to spend editing your story. And going back later to fix mistakes won’t affect your read count or votes unless you completely delete the chapter and rewrite. If anything it brings attention back to your book if the edits show up on the news feed even if it’s just to fix your to you’re.
9. Regular updates. I know peoples schedules are crazy but keeping a consistent update schedule will ensure your readers return every time. A trick I learned was when I could I made the chapters ahead of time but didn’t publish them. You can write your entire book on Wattpad but only publish one chapter at a time. That way if your time gets tight and you don’t have time to publish a new chapter you already have them set up in your queue ready to go and can just hit publish.
11. Indulge yourself and enter any and all awards you come across. Even if you don’t win the judges will have to read your book and that increases reads which increases views on the news feed. Other authors in your category will see your book on the list of nominations. Get your book title and cover out there as much and as often as possible.
12. Be a judge. A lot of the awards require nominees to follow the judges in their category, and even if they don’t the author will likely follow you just to boost their own publicity. You gain expert points and increase your credibility as a good author if you’re a judge for a lot of nominations. Not only do you get more followers and attention towards your page but you get a really good excuse to read more!! Why not, you’re likely to read these books anyway, might as well boost your status at the same time.
Hopefully, this helps new Wattpad users, those thinking of using Wattpad and authors struggling to get reads and votes. Basically, when everything is summed up the best advice I have is Be Active. Even if it’s not posting new chapters keep in contact with the Wattpad community. Stay involved with your readers so when you do post they’re already invested.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think or if you have other tips. I’m not a Wattpad Guru by any means and could use the tips as well. Every little bit helps.
OH, and just FYI all three of my books on Wattpad are nominated for a #wattys2017 award.
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