Why would an author (especially one who is or hopes to one day be a published author) share their work FOR FREE?
Excellent question class and here is my list of reasons why I love sharing my work with the world (for free) and why you might consider it as well.
To build community.
Writing can be a very lonely and isolating endeavor. You spend hours immersed in a world of your own making, being intimate with characters that you love. Full-time, professional writers could go days without leaving the house when deadlines begin to loom on the horizon. Social writing sites like Wattpad force us wallflowers and shut-ins to connect with people through the one thing we know we love the most…writing. It’s the best of both worlds. You not only find and connect with fans but other writers who are similarly shut in with a notebook full of scribbles and a dog named Mut. You find your tribe and you figure out how to do what you do better. You also get a chance to encourage somebody else. Its almost like you’re making friends without ever having to put on pants that zip up.
Hone your craft.
One of the things that all successful people have in common is a period in life where they got paid little or nothing for the work they did. They were honing their craft, building an audience, expanding the brand and creating name recognition. If making money is your primary motivation you are in the wrong business. But a person who already has hundreds or thousands of readers is more likely to be able to make money one day than a person who never took the time to build a platform or a following. Wattpad is a great place to get an idea of what works and doesn’t work in your genre. Don’t miss out on the chance to get your name in front of readers just because it’s free.
To stay motivated.
The best thing that ever came out of my Wattpad experience was a Facebook message asking if I was okay. It was from one of my followers who was enjoying my story and became concerned when, all of a sudden, I disappeared for several weeks. Needless to say, I got right back to work as soon as I could. Knowing that people are waiting in anticipation of the next chapter is often enough motivation to get you writing consistently. Even if it’s only a few readers, they matter to me and I am always excited when I see the chapter views and votes increase.
It’s a rough draft, stupid!
Publishing to Wattpad isn’t like getting a tattoo. When you’ve finished editing your book and decide to sell it, you can always unpublish it from your Wattpad account. You might even want to leave it up, swapping the old chapters from a few chapters from the new, edited version and include a link where readers can buy the rest of the book. Remember, on Wattpad people come to find stories. Its a great incubator for storylines, but bringing a complete novel to market means lots of edits and rewrites. By the tie you’re done with the second phase your story may be very different than the way it appears on Wattpad.
Every dreamer needs a fan.
You aren’t going to hit the New York Times Bestseller list by leaving all of your work of Wattpad, but you will win a few fans. Fans who might be willing to write reviews for you when you finally publish your book. Fans who might be willing to share links to your sample chapters with friends. Fans who might be willing to act as beta readers to help you improve your work. And most importantly, at least one fan who will send you a message late at night saying “I found your book and spent all night reading it. I’m hooked” and that will be enough to help you push past your fatigue or writer’s block and finish another chapter.
You should all know by now that I am serializing my next novel on Wattpad during NaNoWriMo. Even at this late stage int he game, I am still nailing down the details about what I am going to write and how I want to write it. I am super excited about it and the opportunity to build a community with you that celebrates diversity in writing and reclaims narratives that often go underrepresented.
If you are on Wattpad as well, drop me a line and let me know. I’d love to follow you. As always, like, comment and subscribe for more updates and THANK YOU for following along with my journey.