Before I get into this, just so no-one spends ages typing out a big detailed answer about something just to the side of the question, I’m only talking about a really specific scenario here. I’m not looking for general information or suggestions about writing, publishing, different self-publishing platforms and their requirements, or Wattpad. I’m aware that Paid Stories exist and I’m not talking about those either. It’s just this one very specific scenario. Right, onwards!
So. Unless something dramatically changes, I’m not interested in pursuing traditional publishing and am pretty much set on self-publishing the trilogy I’m currently working on, and hopefully other books after. This has been my plan for quite a while, since I decided to Do The Writing Thing for real instead of just talking about it for another couple of decades.
Then I met Wattpad. And I’m falling in love. I had a passing thought about how awesome it would be to self-publish these books (as in, for sale) through other platforms and also put them on Wattpad in their entirety. It seemed crazy and pointless. Kind of. And I almost dismissed it. But.
Wattpad is sort of a…closed environment? I don’t know how to describe it properly, but people on Wattpad read things on Wattpad. They’re on Wattpad first, then they look for things to read. I could be totally wrong about this, but I assume lots of people don’t sign up to Wattpad specifically because there’s this one book they want to read on here and they don’t want to pay a few ££ for it on Amazon or wherever. I know there are probably people who will always take the free option no matter what, whether it’s because they can’t afford to pay for things or simply because a free option exists, but I’m curious.
How much would having the books in their entirety on Wattpad actually affect sales on other platforms? Are they generally completely different markets? Would the people who might read my books for free on Wattpad even buy them from Amazon (or Google Play, or wherever else) anyway? Would I be losing potential paying customers (not ideal) or would I simply be embracing the opportunity to share those stories with more people who wouldn’t have been paying customers to begin with (awesome!)?
I adore the idea of having a free option for people who need it, because I’ve been those people. I would dearly love to be able to just give everything away for free and have the option for people to pay if they want to, although it’s probably not exactly the world’s greatest business plan and I would very much like for writing to pay at least some of the bills at some point. But I can’t get this idea out of my head about putting the books on Wattpad as well as self-publishing them for sale elsewhere.
Have any of you done that? Do you know anyone who has? How did it go? Is it something you would consider doing? Why or why not? Is it a refreshingly experimental approach or is it just complete raving insanity (or both)?