My two cents on the topic. I’m a little late & I’m not trying to steer the pot.
Personally, I think most of the advice given on how to increase reads (i.e. SYS threads, book clubs, critiques, being active on threads, etc) attracts mostly other author-readers rather than the regular readers that only use this site for reading (which is the largest demographic on WP & I imagine what most people want to attract). Think about it, only other writers check out the SYS threads and even the cafe & threads/forums were also mostly frequented by other writers. How many of wattpad non-writer users are even aware that we have the threads? And even for joining the book clubs & contests (save for wattys) idk how much regular readers even check them out. Sure doing a critique & having someone not only read but also comment on your story may turn the wheels forward and begin the momentum (and this is what WP’s algorithm prefers) – so to me it’s more like a cheatsheet people use to “game the system” and give that initial nudge before you acquire proper readers & a following. Personally, I feel like getting writer-reads is a lot easier than from the non-writer readers. On one hand I do only post poetry works on my acc & I haven’t publicly shared any of my other works; and poetry is a genre that doesn’t attract many readers. However, I believe that if should I decide to post a novel (in genres Teen fic & Y/A romance), I’d naturally get readers much quicker & easier since more people are interested in novels than poetry books & because the teen fic romance genre is so popular. I personally don’t believe in begging for readers & views & even reading other people’s works naturally led to writer-reads without even doing any critiques or joining book clubs. Sometimes with receiving votes & comments from other writers I wonder if they’re genuinely interested in my work or if this is a technique they’re using to promote their own work. Spam votes on a book with non-existent time intervals is what I’m most suspicious of lol.
I agree with a lot of your sentiments – that if your book is good & interesting people will naturally give you a lot of views; for starters, readers that check out your first chapter are more inclined to continue reading the book instead of dropping it 2 chapters in – and more chapters read = more reads/views. That being said, we have to remember that Wattpad is a lot more saturated than it was before. Before a book seemed to be doing well if it received 10k views and now you have books that amass a million views. So we’re all competing with numbers (i.e. A game of probability) which seems the case in many over-saturated industries. You bet becoming a singer or actor ain’t easy either when all the famous ones hog the spotlight. I do think the way Analytics favors those that are already getting traction seems a little unfair (seeing as it’s those with little views are those that need exposure the most) but maybe it’s wattpad’s way of sifting through quality books and promoting those that are deemed good (“if users are reading & voting then it must be good” ). Of course wattpad benefits most from those books that receive the most traffic since they’re the ones that bring in the traffic (& ad revenue) to the site. The one advice & technique I do believe in, is making sure to get a good use out of the tag system & including all the relevant tags (though unfortunately the way tags work have recently changed for the worse )
With all of that being said, what’s more relevant to you, @S_A_Lusher, is that you’re seeking out to become a professional writer & to make a living out of this rather than becoming wattpad famous. I agree with what one of the commentators said; this may not be a platform for you. Everyone knows watpatt’s largest & main demographic is teenage girls and the most common genres are Teen Fic, Romance, & fan fiction followed by sub genres werewolf & vampire (or w/e the trends currently are)… Other genres here are definitely harder to break into and with that said, even if you do make it the readership would still be smaller if you’re comparing to WP mainstream novels (if that’s your expectation). Just because you didn’t make it on Wattpad doesn’t mean you failed as a writer. Wattpad is just one the platforms that exists. Do venture out onto other (writing) platforms. Seeing as you’re seeking out to get published & not just promoting a WP book then you definitely need to try out promoting yourself on social media sites. Maybe check out youtubers that are into literature (esp in your genre) and see how they find new books to read & if they interact with any social media in relation to books. Try tumblr or better yet reading blogs.
Turning free readers into paying readers is hard – I heard about it. We live at a time when so much content is easily accessible & for free, so people are even more reluctant to pay for content esp if they already read it for free. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people only trust/invest in writers that are already established & known. But don’t give up buddy. If people are showing interest in books like Twilight, The Hungers Games, The Divergent Series, and etc.then it’s a good sign too; that means the demographic in your genre are increasing, esp within teenagers! Good news since teenagers are b̶i̶g̶ ̶s̶p̶e̶n̶d̶e̶r̶s̶ less stingy with their money & have less expenses. So cheer up, friend, and stay hopeful & don’t give up. Keep up at it and broaden out of Wattpad. If you haven’t already then check out sub-threads like industry insiders cause I’m sure they’ll be more helpful than the general ones. And last but not least, reach out to writers that are already published or achieved moderate success within their genre or niche and ask for any tips and advice. Networking with published writers may work in your favor - but then again it may be less important if you’re going the self-publishing route. Anyways, best of luck and don’t give up!! Know that professional writers had to go through a lot of failure and years of hard work before they made it.