I need advice

Hey everyone!

I’ve always dreamt of becoming a writer and writing on here has somewhat helped me come closer to my goal, but I still have a while to go.

So, before I start telling you about my life, I need some advice.

I like to think that I have amassed quite a few reads and now I’m deciding what to do with my books. I can either self-publish them on Amazon, try querying or try out for programs such as Paid Stories here on WP.

What do you think?

I have also dreamed of becoming a famous writer on somewhere like Amazon books…

However, I have been told to try mine out on platflorms like Wattpad, Inkitt and other like this first to see if you have a chance of getting anywhere.

Dreams are always good to have, I have three books out at the moment but only one I’m truly focused on and I won’t stop until it is finished and people are enjoying it.

I’d publish on here first, see how it goes and then publish on a bigger platform like Amazon.

@imaginatorbxb and @Bunny1996x

I’m going to answer you both. I have not read your work, so I’m giving you the advice I give everyone.

Before you decide to self publish, be certain your work is ready and you are ready. Can it compete – realistically – with what is published by traditional publishers? Do you have enough money to put out a professional product that is indistinguishable from that published by traditional publishers? Are you ready to pursue it with the doggedness required to run a small business?

There are 5000 books published on Amazon Every. Single. Day.

Think about that.

Your book has to be amazing, AND you have to work, work, work to get it in front of its target readers. Otherwise it will sink into oblivion. Self publishing well is HARD.

Bunny, I know it seems logical: Build a fan base here, and then publish on Amazon. But in practice, it doesn’t work out like that. The fan base doesn’t transfer. Most people say less than 1% of their Wattpad followers become buyers.

I’m a huge proponent of “self publishing well.” However self publishing well takes a fair amount of money, excellent craft, and a LOT of business knowledge.

I strongly believe that writers should FIRST traditionally publish – for several reasons:

  1. Being accepted for traditional publishing gives you external validation that your writing is READY for publishing. (Hint: Professional editing does NOT ensure that!) This is HUGE for new writers who just aren’t able to tell if their book is ready.

  2. Traditional publishing gives you a wide fan base that you can leverage for self published books in the future.

  3. Traditional publishing will introduce you to the business side of publishing, and do so with a much easier learning curve than you’ll face if you self publish first.

  4. If you self publish first, you’ve blown your debut status. If you want to traditionally publish in the future, you have to show them that your published books have good sales. They don’t care if they were self published – low sales mean no one wants to read your books. (There are ways to mitigate the damage, namely using a pen name for future books – but you will have to be honest with agents and publishers upfront, and they may choose not to deal with the hassle.)

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That is what I plan to do first, I have a novel and novella out at the moment

I don’t want to put it anywhere else right now

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I took a quick look at your profile. Gay romance (or erotica?) is probably a hard sell to the Big Five, meaning the major trad publishers. You probably know that.

If you want to be part of the Paid program on Wattpad, as it stands right now, you need to be invited into the Stars program first.

That leaves small press publishers, or going indie (self-publishing).

This all depends on your goals. Do you want to make a quick buck? Or are you dead set on a lifelong career as an author?

If it’s the latter, then you’ve probably already done a ton of research, so you know that marketing and building an audience is important, and you probably will not achieve any sort of lasting traction with fewer than five books. You know it’s a difficult path.

If you’re looking to make a few quick bucks, then I think there’s no harm in querying small presses or self-publishing for a while. See what income you can bring in. You can always un-publish and try again under a different name, or whatnot.

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I’ll disagree a little bit with @XimeraGrey here. Even though success on Wattpad does not translate to success elsewhere (people can get a million reads on a Wattpad novel and still fail to sell it to the Big Five or gain traction on Amazon), I think places like Wattpad are an excellent testing ground for young and newbie authors, more so than the rough seas of Amazon.

If you drop your untested manuscript into the ocean of Amazon, it is likely to vanish into oblivion without a splash. If you drop your untested manuscript into the sea of Wattpad, you can at least check out your stats and demographics, and judge (by votes and comments) where engagement is dropping off or picking up. You also have the community. It’s just a kinder place.

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I plan to test my novels out on here and other platforms first. My novel is out with only 4 chapters at the moment.

I have a novella out too, it has only one chapter so far.

I want to test them and get them up to standard before going to Amazon or any further publishing process

It’s not erotica. The title is a reference to a humorous scene inside the book.

I agree with you! I think, if you write a genre that is popular with this demographic – like teen romance – then Wattpad is an amazing place to TEST concepts with the target audience. I consider testing with the target audience to be something completely different from building a following that will crossover from free to paid.

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I just published my book on Amazon two days ago. I had the cover professionally made, and I am running a free promotion. After two days, I’ve made 20 sales and 50+ free downloads! Building an existing fanbase is crucial before you publish a book. And you have to edit! A lot! Make sure you have a good blurb, a good cover, and nice interior to boost.

If you have any questions, feel free to message me on my Wattpad profile :smile: or just reply to my message here :smile:

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Fair enough! But a couple of questions: Do you think it is possible to build a following that crosses over from free to paid–aka a grassroots audience? And if Wattpad is not a viable place to do that, then what is?

I have seen successful indie authors who built their initial fanbase through free online serialization. The most recent example I can think of is Drew Hayes. Past examples include Andy Weir and Scott Sigler. Do you know of other career authors who began with a grassroots audience via free serialization? I think there are a few who did that through Wattpad, in the early days. Maybe not recently?

@DanielNgo5 I would love to hear your insights on building a grassroots fanbase.

I 100% agree with you, that it’s vital to build up some fanbase before launching a series on Amazon, due to the current glut of material out there. That is exactly the approach I am taking. And I’m doing pretty well on Wattpad, but yes, I am wondering if I ought to be exploring other paths. I’ve considered relaunching my series on my own website, and linking it to various hubs that cater to serialization readers, such as r/hfy.

I would love to hear what avenues you’ve explored, and the results.

Great that you want to know more! So I’m aware that an advantage I have that some don’t is that I am bilingual. I have a Facebook blog in Vietnamese that’s been active for 5+ years, with a decent number of followers. Thing is that I never tried to sell my books or anything, and the blog is mostly for entertainment (because that’s what gain engagement) and infrequent plugs about my writing projects. The idea of book publishing only came up recently.

I made my book free for a day and made a post on the blog and some Facebook groups I’m in where people know me and are potentially interested, and that garnered me 111 downloads in one day. If you sell on Kindle and are enrolled in KDP Select, some of the free downloads will earn you stuff because of Kindle Unlimited, so don’t be afraid that you’ll get 0 profit.

I’m not sure about Wattpad because Wattpad readers only contributed to a small portion of my readers, but Reddit has been big help. Subs like r/selfpublish help you find beta readers (who will download your book if it’s on free after you’ve developed a relationship, or if they really liked the book, they will buy one). There are subreddits to advertise your free book too, but you can only do it when your book’s free. Be active on those communities help a bit. I joined the writers’ club in Uni too, and some of them helped me by recommending the works they like to friends. Word-of-mouth can be powerful.

I’m taking others advice and set up English Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under my pen name, even my own newsletter too. You need a way to tell your readers about upcoming releases and projects. What I’d do here if you’re launching a series on Amazon is just launch it without advertising or anything, and spend that time on building your fanbase. Then you just need to advertise one book, and can the other books will benefit from read-thru.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

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Yes, it’s possible. Just not easy. @Blayde made novel sales based off a mailing list for short stories. From Wattpad, Anna Todd made it big. 50 Shades of Grey was fanfic that was picked up by a small publisher (then a large one), and its free audience drove it to the stratosphere.

Honestly, I think it’s most likely to happen when you write a book that, essentially, goes viral. It’s SO popular that when it becomes paid, your fans are excited and give that all-important word of mouth advertising. Those books, however, are unicorns.

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Congratulations on completing a successful book. That is a big step most writers don’t accomplish though the next step will be just as much work. You’ll need to develop your log line, a summary, and an elevator pitch that explains why your story has that unique hook that separates it from the rest of the books in your genre.
You may consider querying and applying to Paid stories at the same time. Either one may accept you or give you valuable feedback that you can use to improve your story when/if you choose to self-publish. If you self-publish first, then more than likely you remove the option of traditional publishing unless your story is that one in a million (The Martian, Wool). Paid may still be an option if you self-pub, but you’d have to take it down since Paid requires exclusivity.
Good luck!