Tag Archives: Scott Westerfeld

Why I Wattpad – Part IV

Why I Wattpad is a continuing series of blogposts about my first year on Wattpad. Here are Part I, Part II, Part III.

WP-A Cool Number-almost
Almost 123,456 reads on Chapter 1 – Part I

Success breeds success.  When Wattpad agreed to Feature ALL IS SILENCE it quickly became established as a ‘good/successful’ book. Because it was featured the statistics rose incredibly. [If you don’t wish to read the statistics skip ahead two paragraphs.] It hit to high-points of 12000+ reads one day, 633 votes on a different day.

Hitting 100,000 reads had been cool, but then reads really started racking up. While on vacation this summer I hit a 1,000,000 reads near the end of June and 50,000 votes not long after, then 4000 comments. ALL IS SILENCE passed Scott Westerfield on the Completed Science Fiction chart! 132,000 people have started it, 5145 have finished it. It spent 57 [non-consecutive] days at #1 on the HOT Science Fiction chart.

Wattpad #19-#20

Now it has an average of 175 reads a day, votes meander from a literal handful [4] to a few hundred, though hundreds is now less than half. It’s slowed down. I can now answer all the comments on all three of my uploads: ALL IS SILENCE [complete], TOILS AND SNARES [Excerpt. 6 of 15 chapters uploaded] and STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS [Excerpt. 12 of 35 chapters uploaded]. They’re all three in the SF Hot 300, though T&S doesn’t stay there. [More about that in the advice below.]

Is there still a benefit? Yes. Now, I have a small army of 3500 followers/fans. True, they are an army of cats so getting them organized and going in the same direction is practically impossible, but also unimportant. If I post a request for Beta Readers, I get a bunch of people who already like my stuff. If I offer a free download on another story, there is a bump. I was hoping for a significant bump for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS that I can attribute to WATTPAD, but I haven’t figured out how to measure that yet.  I know that putting out a request for reviews on ALL IS SILENCE has worked. I would credit my Wattpad followers with about half of the last 30 reviews. That alone may be worth it.

But the real question is this… If I give away a book for free on Wattpad will the benefits out-way the costs? Many authors are concerned that they’ll lose money. Probably not. Most wattpadders are not part of the work-force and not likely to buy an ebook from Amazon. Yes, ALL IS SILENCE is available for sale on Amazon, too. It’s still doing fine there.

The primary benefit of Wattpad is building a fan-base. To do that you have to post regularly and interact with your fans, but it is very successful in this regard. The feedback from readers is nearly universally positive. I have only had about 3 interactions that I would consider negative and one of those was due to giving another author unwanted advice on how to request that an author read their book. I suggested that just sending the link was crass. [Still is. This might segue into the advice section. Yup.] I told him he should send a short 30 word blurb along with polite salutations and then the person he wants to read his book can take it or leave it.

ADVICE SECTION: First three came directly from my editor, Amanda June Hagarty. Glad she convinced me to give Wattpad a try.

  1. Upload smaller pieces two or three pages [I aim for about 1000-1200 words] at a time.
  2. Upload two or three times a week. Make the times consistent, put it in your calendar and then don’t miss it. If you’re writing as your posting this gives you a motivating deadline.
  3. Communicate with your fans. You don’t have to respond to every post/comment, but try to get a comment to each of the people who are sending you a comment stream. Those comments boost your story’s ranking.
  4. If a comment offends you, you can report it. I called out jerkish behavior on my books, but Wattpad will do it for you.
  5. Track your data. I used GoogleDocs. It can give you insight into changes you make and how they effect the outcome.
  6. Upload longer works. If you have a first book in a series, I heartily recommend uploading it in its entirety to Wattpad.
  7. As new chapters are uploaded the author should dedicate each section as they are uploaded. Dedicate it to another Wattpadder who has commented a lot recently. If you try to go back and do it later, like some authors have, it is an overwhelming job, but if you do it as part of the set-up when you’re adding the live link to your website, it is a very small amount of work.
  8. The sweet-spot for me, when I was uploading three times a week seemed to be about 9 pm P.S.T. I think it’s because the Wattpad counts may reset at midnight E.S.T., but I’m not certain. This was one of the last hunches I had and don’t have hard evidence.
  9. Once your story is complete, you can still get some boost, by editing your description and chapters. It will pop back into the system as ‘newer’ if not ‘new.
  10. Don’t send too many “To all my followers” posts. I try to send one every 2-3 weeks now, and try, try, try to not send more than a couple a week! People will get sick of you and start ignoring you. When you do send these posts, try to make them fun and offer the readers something like: “Sign up for my newsletter this week and read my new story for #FREE!”
  11. Have fun. Write on.

Did I miss anything? Is any of my advice skewed or no longer valid? I’ve been treading water for the most part, though this last two weeks I’ve been trying to get Straight Into Darkness up the SF charts. Highest ranking so far is #9! Let me know. ~ Rob

 

Coming to the end of 2014! Thanks and more…

Looking forward to 2015 as we wrap up 2014!

What’s to come? 2014 was amazing for me as an author. It was everything I hoped for, if not everything I dreamed of. Where is that contract for the foreign rights, and the option on the screenplay? 😉

indiereadernextpicsSeriously, I hit some top ten lists, got reviewed by Don Sakers for Analog magazine, won an award, rubbed elbows literarily with Veronica Roth and Scott Westerfield and literally with Hugh Howey, who complimented my pagination! In addition to Hugh, I met Matt de la Pena, Corinne Duyvis and Mark Leslie. I sold more than half of my first printing, plus a whole lot more e-copies. I’ve exchanged e-mails with Mindy McGinnis and been retweeted by Neil Gaiman himself!

I wrote more than 100,000 words of new Dystopian-compactfiction by the 1st of December, setting a new record. I am sending out a newsletter tomorrow with information on how to get beta-reader copies of my Deserted Lands novella, TOILS AND SNARES. I’m filling in the gaps in the ALL IS SILENCE sequel STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.

WattPadWorldMap-AiS
Readers of ALL IS SILENCE on Wattpad. Darker blue is more reads! No one is reading me in Mongolia. Neither upper nor lower.

As of tonight ALL IS SILENCE has had 91,000 reads on WattPad–over 1000 folks have read the first 12 chapters. AiS averages about 150 unique readers each day, 27% of which are in the Phillipines! It hit #2 behind Scott Westerfield’s UGLIES back when Wattpad allowed each work to be listed in two categories. Now that it’s only listed in Science Fiction it has gotten as high as #13. Maybe tomorrow it will break into the top 10! Thanks to Amanda Hagarty for all the advice and support. And to everyone else who has been so amazing this year:

  • The readers. The readers. The readers.
  • My beta readers, my family, my students, my friends… [many of you fit more than one of these categories.]
  • Brendan, Sam, Christina, Paul, Rachel and everyone else at Village Books
  • Don Sakers and Analog
  • Kiffer Brown and Chanticleer Reviews
  • Bellingham Writer’s Group and Cozy Corner Coffee and Books for hosting it and selling my book, too!
  • The Hoquiam Timberland Regional Library
  • Harbor Drug in my hometown.
  • Mark Leslie and the crew at Kobo Writing Life
  • Whatcom Community Library System
  • Bellingham Public Libraries
  • My editors, proofreaders
  • Upstart Crows and the Whatcom Writers & Publishers
  • Pintado for an amazing cover
  • Damian Vines for amazing author photos
  • The Heinlein Forum on Facebook
  • All the writers who inspired and inspire me
  • And everyone else I forgot!

THANKS FOR THE AMAZING YEAR. See you in 2015!

Why I WattPad – Part I

Why I Wattpad is a continuing series of blogposts about my first year on Wattpad. Here are Part II, Part III, and Part IV

Have to shout out to my editor/writing friend/marketing maven, Amanda June Hagarty! She convinced me to give Wattpad a try. Check out her Middle-grade Speculative story, Little Lacey, she’s got 34 chapters ready to read.

As of this evening, All Is Silence had 32,222 reads, ranked #2 behind Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies in SF/Teen category, #50 in SF, #583 in Teen, Averaging 9%+ read-through rate from the first part of the story to the second. I also have 2 verified sales due to WattPad and probably a few more. The most exciting thing is, for every chapter I upload, another 100 people read through. At this rate I may hit 100,000 reads by the end of November, 200K by New Years and a million by May! Thousands of readers will have completed All Is Silence when my next book comes out. And I get some great feedback and fun comments directly from the readers.

WattPad may not bring everyone success, but I’m onboard. I’m also reading some really great authors: Margaret Atwood–Oryx & CrakeMark Leslie–the Kobo Writing Author Service’s guy and a smashing writer, and Scott Westerfeld. It’s a great platform to build an audience, most especially if you are writing anything that appeals to teen readers. Come check it out. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Doldrums, Rising Tide and Banned Books

The last month has been a hard one in terms of writing. Though I wrote 55,000 words this summer, probably more than I have ever written, it was not the 75,000 and the finished rough drafts of a novel and a novella. Instead, I have unfinished drafts of two novels and a novella. I also hit some walls in terms of writing everyday, one of the biggest was my day job as a teacher coming back into 45+ hours a week focus.

My sales also fell, despite being involved in two sales for e-books. My book is no longer new and no longer getting lots of attention. Now is the time to be gearing up for the next book, but the state of the next book is not where I want it to be which is also somewhat crippling.

I’ve had a steady increase of readers and reviews on GoodReads, followers and readers on WattPad and followers on Facebook. Twitter has stabilized at about 1000 followers and my e-mail list at about 130. I feel like I am in a good place, but the doubts of the doldrums decimate my desires. [Can you tell I’m teaching poetry and literary devices?]Hot#3WP

On the other hand, the good news is really good. On WattPad the number of people who read the first section and go has been trending steadily upward from approximately 3% to 4% and now over 5.64%. It’s broken the top hundred in Science Fiction and hit #3 on the SF/Teen Fiction list! At this rate I’ll hit 100,000 reads in April as I release book two, Straight Into Darkness.

This weekend I got to hang out with readers and writers at The Chanticleer Conference, Awards Banquet and Books By the Bay festival. I sold more books than in the previous month and got to network with some awesome authors.

I’ll be starting my PubSlush campaign October 17th to crowd-fund higher payments for cover art and editing on book two so that it is an even stronger book than All Is Silence was. Glad you’re along for the ride!

Oh, check out my Banned Books reading from Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. “I grok humans, Jill.”