Wattpad and 'Popularity'


That audience may exist again in a future generation, though, so you ought to keep writing! _〆(..)


It goes one or two ways:

Some people may write what’s popular because they want the fame and fortune. I have met people who only write what’s popular because if it’s popular, it’ll sell. And to them, if it sells, then more money for them. But this entirely is a misconception of the writing industry; you don’t make much money when you publish and you certainly don’t make a whole lot for what’s trending. Sure, if your marketing is well done, then perhaps. But realistically? Not really.

Thing is, these are the type of authors that are in it for the money. They want to be seen, they want to be known, and their greed is what blinds them of the actual truth.

Now, other people may write for popularity because they enjoy the fame. They may not be in it for the fortune, but they’re in it for the fame. These kinds of writers aren’t writing for themselves, they’re writing for the people. So when they think of an idea, they don’t ask themselves, “Is this something I would read?” Instead, they say, “Is this something the readers would read?”

I have come across many people who only write stories that are popular because they constantly need validation. While they enjoy writing, they are extremely doubtful of their own ideas and creations, so they constantly need someone to be there to give them a thumbs up and if no one is there, then they feel and think of two things: 1) “No one likes my stories.” And 2) “My stories suck because no one is reading it.”

This is where many issues arise because many of these kinds of people believe that low numbers means no one likes the story and it sucks, and high numbers mean that many like it and that it’s fantastic. All of which are wrong for various reasons.


I don’t think this is the case at all.

You say you’ve seen Wattpad become this way, but I remember the obsession with wanting to be popular it being worse? (Thinking 2011-2013 when there was a big fanfiction craze.) I think now that people have broken up into niches and aren’t mostly reading and writing the same thing a lot less people are following a popularity script (which was upload a fanfiction for a fandom you didn’t like to get the reads, post a rant book and get reads and hope those readers would read your other stories.)

And IDK, I don’t see people writing things for popularity as much anymore. People just tend to write about topics, and tropes that they like. And I guess people would like to disbelieve anyone actually likes and chooses to write, say, ‘Bad boy’ and billionaire romance stories, but they do.

There’s also something that gets caught up in the mix. When you start getting some readers you start consciously — or maybe unconsciously wondering what they want to read — what to write for them.


I write what I want but I just want it to get noticed by someone. I hope that’s not bad.


imo this is a problem with wattpad and not people.

reads and votes are so rare here because wattpad does not have a design that allows people to find what they want.

instead they force authors to advertise in the forums. sure, this might work. but we all know that there are so much more good work being overshadowed that we can’t say it’s working

and just because it has always been this way, doesnt mean its good or working either. its just how it has always been. wattpad is a difficult platform for both readers and authors, and you can only get readers and votes if you write whats popular.

if you like some adventure/action/xianxia/fantasy
please give my book a try…despite everything i’ve tried, i probably only have 5 readers…and im pretty sure that 2 of these 5 are me refreshing over and over again


I sympathize with your sentiment, but I think you’ll need to edit that “please give my book a try”.


Wrong for me! I write what I haven’t seen on a bookshelf- a single view on a book I actually care about will always beat a “popular” book with millions of views.


You can say that again, lol

I dont think it’s “bad” until you stop enjoying it, or you solely do it for being noticed


When I first started I was more looking at reads and votes, etc. Then I evolved to care a bit less, however still check my reads and what not. However, now I have found that though I still check, I don’t care as much. I don’t really care. A) I’ve started writing my whole book first, before posting. B) I’ve just been on long enough to give myself time to adjust.


Fuuuuuuck the teenage years. Being an adult rocks!


Wow Fray, lol. Thats a nice way to put it. Ahaha.


Hahahaha, I might be just a smitch biased :joy:


First let me say I’m glad you didn’t leave permanently. There was a moment there when I thought, for sure, you were gonna pack up and leave. :slight_smile:

But to your specific question, I don’t think a majority of people write what’s popular. I think they write what they like to read, and what they like to read are the more popular genres. I feel like a lot of writers forget that the audience size for different genres is simply different.

Not long ago, I was driving myself nuts because my numbers tanked after the Feature change and the removal of Categories. I got obsessed with my “Read” numbers. But the bigger issue was that I was assuming the audience for my main work was YA Paranormal or Urban Fantasy and comparing my work to other stories in those genres. But because I write in a very different format than 99.5% of Wattpad, it’s actually much, much smaller than that. Readers have to find both my story genre and the format appealing. Once I realized that, I chilled out tremendously when it came to reads. I still get wrapped up in the hubbub sometimes, but much less so these days.

As far as our cultural obsession with popularity, I blame social media, a voyeuristic pop culture mentality that breeds constant self-comparison, and our need to slap metrics (or some sort of measurement) on EVERYTHING.

My favorite Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” envisioned a world where every virtual, as well as physical interaction, you had was rated–like Uber on steroids. It was both a brilliant, and terrifying, look at where we’re headed as a society.


:’) Just what I love to head! Lol *claps *


I’ve had actual nightmares from that episode! Jesus, nothing freaks me out more than having to live in that particular universe, because I have a feeling I’d be rated super low :joy:


IKR?? I would be so hosed! :rofl: I mean, seriously, I’d end up on the nightly news, busted, for heading up some huge rate rigging scam because there’s no way I’d flourish organically in a society like that!


Me neither! Just the fact that you’d have to wear pastel colours and smile all the time? As someone with a resting serial killer face, that alone would get me below a 3 :joy:


I was tempted, not gonna lie


Yeah, I think we all go through that phase. Just came out of mine a few months ago. :wink:


i think that a lot of what people come to wattpad for is feedback. personally, i wish i had a large fanbase so that i could get more feedback and some day become a published author. wattpad has taught me (don’t worry i don’t believe it) that what i write is garbage simply because it isn’t a cliche story that everyone wants to read. every book on my profile that i think is original doesn’t get any attention and the book that is cliche is the only thing i’m even known for.

it’s frustrating to know what you write will never be enough, especially when you put so much effort into it.

i think that’s why a lot of people abandon the writing they fell in love with, they want popularity because they want to be published and the need for popularity leads them to forget their original writing roots. for me personally, i left a lot of the reason i fell in love with writing to meet the “wattpad standard for popular books” and i’ve never found my writing again.

in a way, i wish i had never come to wattpad to pursue my writing for an online audience. it has destroyed the way i write and why i want to write. i no longer write what i want, but what i think my “fans” will want. wattpad has me seriously considering never writing anything again because people have falsely lead me to believe i’m not good enough unless i jump and do whatever they want me to do.

readers are even worse about this. they only read whats popular and what wattpad recommends to them. i used to update my book daily and it hasn’t gotten a single new read in over three months because of the way the site is set up.

it shouldn’t be about popularity or followers. it never should have been about that. it should have always been about how people love writing and what good constructive feedback to help make their dreams come true and it really saddens me to see what it has become since i joined four years ago


It saddens me to read your post, but I understand your sentiment entirely. It looks like you might have already left Wattpad, but for you or anyone else, I do think you have to ask yourself, regularly, why you write here. Wattpad will be forever evolving, moving closer to the ideal site for some, and further from it for others. Kinda like almost everything in life, unfortunately.

I think if you’re truly looking for feedback, then this site isn’t the best fit for you. From what I understand, it was never really designed for that purpose, even if there are folks who found a way to make it work for them in that capacity. There are groups like the NBR Review club that does offer very serious critiques. And I’ve seen a few book clubs where people are paired up to read the entirety of the other person’s work.

But if critiquing is what you want, here’s a good site to check out. It’s an old posting, but it highlighted for me where you can go for genre-specific critiquing, like say for Historical Fiction. That also gets you away from the popular genre syndrome because the genre readers and writers love are a fundamental part of the group.

There’s also Critique Circle and Scribophile which are places, I believe, to get regular, serious critiques.