Mostly I continued to write what I wanted to read/write regardless of how it gets votes, etc. I do still hope to discover where the audience for those work exists and get the work to the audience or bring the audience to the work. (The audience could be on Wattpad without being the same as the main/average Wattpad user/reader demographic)
But, I did experimentally write a work I thought would fit with some popular things but was still something I wanted to read/write. That was my serial. It has elements that are an inversion of the YA Dystopian stories that were popular at the time I started writing, like having the teen gay male protagonist who stands out in appearance as opposed to the teen female protagonist who looks like everyone. I tried to show that he was part of a resistance without making him the center of the resistance. I used a caste/class system as some of the genre does, but made it focused on occupation and dress code only so it isn’t about where one comes from or who they are as a person. I made it an arguably utopian dystopia where no one is overtly oppressed or subjugated, but individuality and personal expression is suffering. I felt like that allowed for shades of gray in whether the resistance is correct. And to some extent allows social commentary on our real contemporary debates about speech and when expression isn’t free.
And I did this knowing that YA Dystopia with female leads was itself a reaction to past male leads so that in a sense I was going back to the way things were, so I emphasized that with a 1930s alternate history setting to play on the typical male-hero adventure tropes while having the protagonist remain openly gay in a way that we didn’t see in real 1930s where male adventure or crime-fighting partners were often more ambiguously gay or occasionally arguably gay-coded while often having some Girl Friday supporting character.
So I included a number of female characters and other gender expressions in the ensemble cast because it is a contemporary work even if in a historical-based setting and built on a female-centric YA trend. Contemporary reads want diversity in many areas.
This work did get more reads and votes than my others. It was featured at one point. So I think I managed to write something more “Wattpad”. Yet, it didn’t get wildly popular.
I think it gets more notice for the PG levels of romance and how the protagonist crushes on his tutor and then later falls for his partner than for other aspects of the work. For all that it is silly and adventurous, I did a tremendous amount of research to write it.
That’s just par for the course, as it were, right? If readers are into the story then they don’t see how much reseach and time went into world-building.
Anyway, when I think about it, if I went through that much effort for that small amount of popularity, then…
For me, it seems like way too much effort to write something that will be popular here.
Is it worth it for someone to try to calculate trends or popular tags and then go research those genres and write that?
I don’t see that it necessarily is.
Maybe it is better to write something we love and seek the audience that will like that work that comes to us somewhat more naturally (not that all writing doesn’t involve some research and work).
And that’s what I’ve been doing lately: focusing on a work I love, trying to make it the best I can with edits/rewrites, and searching for its audience.
I sincerely worry sometimes (and I may have said this on other threads) that the audience I’m writing for may not exist anymore. It’s like I’ve been crafting a series so long that I’m writing for an audience that was my younger self, but that audience is older now and may have other interests and I may just have missed my window for this work to have an audience. Who today would read this work? I’m trying to discover that.
But I’m just really struggling with it. Like, I work on consistent branding. I use social media.
But I think I’m not connecting.
I’m not social enough. Or positive enough. Or…
But then this goes back to: is it worth it to be something else?
Where is the audience for someone that is like me without me being another person to have an audience?
Serious life questions.