Should Wattpad Introduce Reviews (Especially For Paid Stories)?

In recent years, Wattpad has been shifting its focus toward helping writers get published and paid for their work, with introductions such as Paid Stories, Wattpad Publishing, Wattpad Books and Wattpad Studios. I believe this is great, but there’s one thing preventing me from getting behind paying to read stories published here, and that’s a lack of peer review.

Wattpad lets us initially assess the quality of a story by displaying its views and votes. So far, this (and the free chapters) are all Wattpad gives us to convince us to buy their Paid Stories. So if a story has 100k views and the free chapters are good, then it’s got to be worth reading… right?

Not necessarily. A story could have 100k views and 50 chapters, but that could mean anything. Does 100k views mean its quality is consistent throughout, or does it mean the first 10 chapters went viral but the rest dropped in quality and weren’t worth reading?

If you pick up a free story and it ends up being the latter, it’s no big deal because you don’t lose any investment. But if it’s a Paid Story, then you’ve lost money, and if someone loses money on one bad Paid Stories, they’ll be less likely to spend their money on all Paid Stories.

Let me stress there are some fantastic authors on this website. Over the years, I’ve read free stories that either matched or exceed the quality of some of my favorite traditionally published books. But I’ve never finished a Paid Story because of a drop in quality, even though it had lots of views/votes, the free chapters were good, and it sounded interesting from the description.

I’m not sure if I’m just choosing the wrong stories, but that’s beside the point. I believe Wattpad could increase people’s trust in Paid Stories if they introduced a 5-star review system only accessible to people who’ve read a few of the paid chapters. Reviews increase trust and drive sales if they’re favorable. But even if they’re not and they dissuade a potential buyer, at least you’ve prevented someone buying a story they won’t like or finish, therefore reducing their trust in Paid Stories and their willingness to buy more.

Thank you for listening!

Also, let’s be real: The comments aren’t the best way to indicate quality since they’re localized feedback (for certain chapters/ sections) and are normally made before the person has finished the book or even the chapter they’re commenting on.

I actually agree. I have a series in Paid Stories and I think it’d be great for the readers to have reviews to browse to see if they’d be interested in the story. Also because there’s money involved in this. I used to be really against it? But I’ve changed my mind.

It’d be good for the readers.

Though, no notifications for the Paid Authors that there’s a new review. :joy: Biggest rule of publishing: don’t read the reviews! So, it’d be real neat if we didn’t even know if there was a new review or not. Or if the rating wouldn’t be available to us. Like, they’d be available to everyone else, but not to the authors themselves. Something along those lines.

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I think this great for readers. But worrying for authors, as I have noticed recently there is alot of jealousy/resentment towards paid authors due to people believe “wattpad should always be free for every story”.

However if there was a way to monitor and control it, then I think this could be a great idea.

I like reviews other platforms use this on all their stories.

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If people are disappointed by the paid stories and even regret buying to read the book, then yes we indeed need reviews and star rating.

It’s wouldn’t be wise if we let all people to review the book. Readers who actually bought the book should be let review the book. Because there is risk of bots who will give good ratings or bad ratings.

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I think this will always be an issue. Maybe it could be prevented by requiring the reviewer to have purchased a set number of chapters before posting? It could potentially stop the worst of the brigading because they’d actually have to spend money to review.

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I didn’t consider the bots! I think reviews on Paid Stories should be restricted to people who’ve paid to read a certain number of the Paid chapters.

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It may initially produce more backlash from those who disagree with paid stories, but the ‘Wattpad formula’ definitely needs to catch up with the fact that money is now a factor in deciding which stories to read.

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I think using reviewers who have paid could be the only way to get round this.

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I like your idea of having to have purchased a number of chapters first. Otherwise there’d probably just be a lot of one-star reviews saying “I COULDN’T AFFORD IT :slightly_frowning_face:

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This was my first thought as from looking at paid author pages I feel for them as they do get hate for putting stories up for paid and I would be worried this would translate in their reviews. But, the buying chapters might prevent this.

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Oh yes. I can understand those types of reviews for stories on other platforms where the author sets the price. But since the author’s on Wattpad have no control on the price (other than increasing/ decreasing the number of chapters) it wouldn’t be very helpful.

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At least you’d weave out the people who barely opened the book just to leave a “Reeeeee! WHY IS IT PAID”

@JenifryConan Yeah, that’s a really good point!

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Exactly! I laugh when I go to the first on a paid story and all the comments are “Why is it paid?” But I’m all for a review style process, but controlled by way of readers past say a paid chapter 18 to be prompted to leave a review, or once the story is completed.

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I avoid the comment section for various reasons and this is one of the top ones.

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Unfortunately I think this will forever be an issue and recurring comment left on these authors stories…

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Also a caveat: you can only leave a review if you have bought at least one chapter. No reviews without having paid to stop people 1 star bombing all the paid stories because they have to pay.

@Belle_Dowson @JenifryConan It’s gotten a lot after people got used to the programme, luckily! So it’s not as bad as before.

But yeah, paying for a set amount of chapters and if you buy the whole thing, then when you finish it then there could be a little pop-up saying “You’ve finished this story - would you like to review it?”

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I think the prompt after or during the story like other platforms will stop the bad review for the sake of a bad review. Also, I’m glad the negativity isn’t as bad now for you! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I always wanted an option for reader reviews and ratings to show up below the books blurb that are available to write after the last chapter.

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Nah. People also need to review books they DNF’d as well. So it should be a thing of “as long as you paid” really.

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