Written by Chantelle Atkins June 23rd, 2015

Wattpad: A Source of Support for Young Writers

I joined Wattpad two years ago. When my first novel was recently released, I was looking for more ways to promote it and get my name out there. I knew nothing about Wattpad until I read an article by a young adult author who credited this site with an increase in her following. It made an interesting and inspiring read, and I added Wattpad to my list of sites to check out.

Notably, the writer was not claiming that Wattpad had helped increase her sales initially. She was explaining that Wattpad was where she found and grew the fanbase who would enjoy her books. In other words, it provided her with an army of readers already hooked on her books as she posted there bit by bit. It was exciting to read how she found an audience, got them involved in the process her books were going through, and eventually had them buy her books when they were published and available.

I signed up, posted a few chapters of my novel The Mess Of Me, followed a few people and waited for something to happen. Inevitably, nothing did.

However, my daughter signed up at the same time as me and had a very different result. She was thrilled, as I am sure many young writers are, to have a simple, easy to use platform on which to write and share her stories. She was quickly hooked; totally addicted to writing stories and reading the stories of others.

She found it very exciting to be able to connect with other young writers she admired, and she soon grew a fan-base of her very own. Generally, she followed people, read their work and made comments and suggestions, and they did the same in return for her.

She had great fun picking book titles and creating her own covers. Undoubtedly being a member of Wattpad improved her writing skills and gave her the confidence and drive to keep at it. She received regular feedback and support from her followers, and was able to follow and befriend those whose work she admired.

For her it was, and still is, a community of like-minded book enthusiasts. She can easily access books from her phone, or tap her stories into it when the mood takes her. She has never encountered any negativity or bullying on the site. It does seem to be a very genuine and friendly site for blossoming young writers.

In short my daughter and her friends showed me what I was doing wrong. Encouraged by her, I uploaded some chapters of a very new book I was working on, and she kindly asked her followers to check it out. A number of them immediately did and before long I had hundreds of reads and numerous comments. One kind member even designed me an awesome front cover.

It seemed I had it cracked. A young adult audience, ready and waiting for me to update the story I was writing for their age group.

However, I must admit, that as with so many things, I soon found I was devoting less and less time to it. Getting on with writing the book rather than remembering to upload it. Where once I was reading other Wattpad stories on a daily basis, I soon drifted away, as I just did not have the time.

If you want Wattpad to work for you, you need to invest the time and effort in order to see results. You need to be regularly reading and commenting on other writer’s work in order for them to feel inclined to do the same to you.

If you use it correctly, and if you understand it for what it is, essentially a community of mostly young writers sharing their work, then you can certainly gain a lot from Wattpad. If you are kind enough to follow and comment on other people’s stories, then some of them will do the same back.

If your title and cover are eye-catching and you have tagged the right categories for your story, then there is no reason why your following there will not build and build. But I believe you have to be present there, just like you do on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

It is a brilliant site and I wish something like it had existed when I was a kid! It seems to be a very friendly and safe place for young writers. I think for young adult authors, if you play your cards right, you will certainly find a loyal and enthusiastic following there. If you put the work in and engage appropriately, then hopefully these readers will become your fans and go on to buy your book when it is available to buy. This has certainly happened to many authors, and there have been some notable Wattpad success stories.

Will I use it again? I certainly will. My current plan is to wait for my YA novel to come back from my first beta readers, and then upload the newest version in its entirety to Wattpad. I will do this prior to it being published and encourage my young followers there to read it and comment on it. Hopefully if it is well received again, I will have some ‘fans’ ready and waiting to support it when it is released!

Bio: Chantelle Atkins is the author of four novels including The Mess Of Me and recently released This Is Nowhere. She lives in Dorset, England with her husband and four children. Atkins work is often described as gritty and character driven, and she writes within both the adult and young adult genres. Connect with her on Facebook.


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