I just finished uploading my last book, and the book I wanted to come after it isnt finished yet. I do have a book finished, but it’s one that I wanted to find a real publisher instead of putting it online. What are the chances that a publisher will be interested if I’ve put it on Wattpad?
Some agents say they care. Some agents say they don’t care. Publishing on Wattpad will probably narrow the number of potential agents who would take on your book, so I suppose it might make it slightly harder to find representation.
Agents and publishers are increasingly recognising WP as something to take a little bit more serious. I had no issues whatsoever, my WP version is very different from the final product. I’m hesitating to put out my recent novel though, I spent a lot of time on it and am currently querying. O the other hand, it might just be a case of taking it down.
So, since you already had it on, it might limit your chances but I would still click the “no” button when they ask you if it was published.
Unless it was a Paid Story. THAT counts.
If it’s finished, don’t put it here. I wouldn’t put anything that wasn’t a rough draft here.
The chances are very slim, honestly. While many agents and or publishers are finding Wattpad books that they like and publishing them (or, if they’re an agent—representing them), it’s not typically done unless you work with Wattpad Books in some kind of way (Paid story program, Wattpad Stars, etc.)
Otherwise, if you send your manuscript out to agents and that story is posted on Wattpad, most agents will turn it down. This is because they consider Wattpad as a self-publishing website, whether or not you’re making money off it, and therefore, they aren’t going to publish already published content. Especially if it’s on a free website. One of their main thoughts are: “Why would we publish this and sell it when people can read it for free?”
So, the only way for an agent to represent your book is if you unpublished it from Wattpad and query them with it.
But as a reference, they’re okay with you having an account and stories on Wattpad, but they just don’t want you to query them with already posted content. In other words, you can post content A and B and not send A and B to agents, but you can write content C and instead of posting C on Wattpad, you send C to agents.
Curious about this thread and want to know more. So, if you wrote the fought draft on Wattpad first, and the final product is very different from the version you wrote on Wattpad, then you should be fine? Or it shouldn’t affect you as much when querying? I just want to get an idea based on what you two said. @XimeraGrey @lhansenauthor
If you have been writing a story here, releasing it serially along the way, don’t stress about it being here. That isn’t the situation for the OP, though. The OP said that he has a FINISHED book he’s ready to query. I wouldn’t put that here. That isn’t a rough draft.
If you have a draft here, it will probably be fine while you’re querying. Your agent will tell you whether you should take it down. Some will, some won’t. Some will want only a sample.
Are there agents/publishers who won’t want your work here at all? Sure. But most should be fine with an early version.
Don’t mention the book being here when you’re querying unless you have a million reads (literally) or have won a Watty. If your book doesn’t have many reads, when you do tell them it’s on Wattpad, say that you put it up here for some feedback and that you didn’t advertise it. The last thing you want is for them to think no one wanted to read the book when it was free!!
So… that would be helpful to mention?
Ahh, that makes more sense. Thank you!
Agree. I wouldn’t worry about a book you’re serializing here, but if you have a finished book that you plan to send to agents, don’t bother with Wattpad. Get some good beta reader feedback / have it workshopped / whatever if you need feedback. Wattpad is not the place for that, really, and you’re only closing off the few agents for whom Wattpad is a deal breaker.
Each agent / publisher seems to hold different attitudes towards republishing Wattpad / self published work. Some (smartly) don’t care. Some are still wallowing in the Jurassic era tar pit mentality of publishing. Any agent who worries that a writer has ‘exhausted’ their readership by having it on Wattpad, or lost ‘first rights’ doesn’t have the slightest clue about publishing or Wattpad.
What DOES matter is audio rights. I’ve seen many self-published books get picked up by a trad publisher (Orbit / Gollancz seems particularly forward thinking) but in every case the self published book had retained their audio rights. Usually, when a self published book does well audio producers (either independents or big companies like Podium) approach the author and make a bid for the rights. Audio is lucrative, so many authors jump (I did). But once you let those rights go, trad pub won’t want your book. They want all the rights for the various formats. Ironically, this means that it’s the second tier popular indie books which are often republished by trad, as the really popular ones sell their audio quickly. So if you’re hoping that your self-published book gets snagged by a publisher hold onto those audio rights.
Most publishers rightly don’t care if a book has been published on Wattpad or your website or through Amazon KDP.
Interesting - they don’t care about self-pub via KDP for $? Are you saying the publishers’ are more pragmatic than the agents or that agents also wouldn’t care? I thought most agents and publishers differentiated between a workshopping site like free Wattpad (“unpublished”) and “self-published” (KDP), and would look dubiously at self-pubbed books unless quite successful.
I’ve seen and spoken to many published authors who had their work posted on Wattpad. Many of those gained valuable exposure and some were even contacted by agents to represent their work. I don’t consider sharing your work on wattpad to be “self-published” as when you self publish through Amazon, Lulu, createspace, etc. it assigns you an ISBN number.
Publishers don’t seem to care. What matters is the quality of the story and its sales history. I’ve seen many self-published books go on to be published by major trad houses (this is fantasy, btw) - Rage of Dragons, Blood Song, Shadow of What Was Lost, Wolf of Oren-Yaro, Ride the Storm, Senlin Ascends, Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids, Gray Bastards, etc - some of them are some of the biggest trad fantasy releases of the past few years (Shadow / Rage / Senlin). Some of these books killed it sales-wise (Blood Song, Shadow, Rage) and attracted interest that way. Others did NOT sell well, but somehow a copy ended up in the hands of an agent / publisher and they decided that they could market it better than the author had been doing (Wolf / Ride the Storm) Fantasy publishers don’t care if the book has appeared elsewhere - they just want to sell books, and a book with either a sales track record or critical acclaim is what they’re looking for. The idea that they don’t want self-published books is a myth - they don’t want self published books that haven’t sold well, haven’t garnered critical praise, or have already sold off their audio rights.
Just highlighting this.
If you approach an agent and say, “I self published my YA Fantasy in 2019, and so far I’ve sold 30,000 copies and won ‘Blah, blah great award,’ but I’d like to see it go wider” you will likely get some interest.
If you approach an agent and say, “I published my book on Amazon and I’ve only gotten 50 sales. Can you help?” they’ll delete your query.
Sadly, the vast, vast, vast majority of self published titles fall into the latter category, not the former, which is why the advice is to forget about the self published book and focus on querying a new manuscript.
And what if I say “I have it online as a free-to-read webserial but I want to expand my audience by taking it down and finding an official publisher for it”?
Do you have numbers of readers? They’re going to ask. If you say there aren’t many, then they will infer no one wants to read it when it’s FREE, and they’re not going to publish it.
If you have a million reads, GREAT. Tell them about it in your query. If not, don’t mention it in your query at all. When you have a phone conversation, tell them you put it up FOR FEEDBACK. Emphasize that you didn’t market it or try to build an audience for it.
Hm. Should probably keep it down then.
To sum it up: If what you have is close to your final version and it doesn’t have a lot of reads, then you better keep quiet about it. Trouble is, WP is not ideal for all genre. My cozies are okay-ish but mysteries are big sellers off WP and i did get a trad pubbing contract for one.
Here, they sort of languish in limbo. Well, it’s not that bad, but the audience is simply not here.
All my books on here are also self published as paperbacks and ebooks. Problem is I suck at marketing and promoting them. Even when they’re free i can barely get anyone to look at them. I’ll talk about them on the forums and people will go “That sounds so cool!” but nobody actually goes and reads them, much less buy them. That’s why I want to quit the webserial and self publication market and just find myself a real publisher.
Not wanting to do the marketing is a good reason.
If by “forum” you mean wattpadwriters.com, I wouldn’t read too much into that. A number of published authors posting in ‘Industry Insider’ have made the point that there is little cross-over between WP (or WPwriters) and the world of paying readers. You could have a million enthusiastic free readers here, and maybe 0.1% would pay 2.99 for the same book away from WP. They just don’t spend money to read. Other people do.
To market you books to paying readers, you’d have to reach them where paying readers hang out. Some recommend Twitter. Some recommend Goodreads. Some have advocated advertising on Amazon and Facebook.
WP might be a good place to practice marketing, but it isn’t a good place to market, unless your goal is to find free readers.
Re. “nobody goes and reads them” - well, that’s WP too, in my experience. The WP forums are all writers. Writers should read a lot and most do, but would they limit themselves to WP?
Personally, if I’m going to read for myself, I’d rather read books that have passed a lot of quality checks. Books that are ‘publication quality’, with almost no SPaG issues, tight plotting, inspiring writing, etc. That being said, I do read on WP - but only because I happened to find a few works that are trad publishing quality or close, and because I like the interaction with other writers.