At the end of June, Smashwords made an announcement that it was partnering with Wattpad. From their blog post about it:
If you’re not familiar with Wattpad, they operate one of the largest social networks for writers and readers. Writers at Wattpad upload free stories, serialized stories and works-in-progress, and readers comment. It’s a great opportunity for authors to share their writing, gain feedback and build fan followings. I first mentioned them in the comments section of my post earlier this month on serialized ebooks.
Consider Wattpad as a smart complement to your overall publishing strategy. Unlike Smashwords, Wattpad doesn’t sell books. But whereas Smashwords prohibits works-in-progress, Wattpad and their large community of readers welcome works-in-progress. Like Smashwords, they invite authors to publish free, complete stories as well.
Um, hello? Fictionpress anybody? Several years back, when I was first getting back into writing, I joined up at Fictionpress and was uploading my WIPs as I wrote them, basking in the feedback of fans. Because, that was before I really got into the whole having somebody to actually CRITIIQUE thing. I wound up closing my account and taking all of my stuff down due to concerns about the concept of what constitutes first publishing of material in the minds of traditional publishers. Then I promptly forgot about them.
This post about Wattpad made me remember again. Pot has been seeking out beta readers in her genre and not having a great deal of luck. The indie movement hasn’t REALLY seemed to hit the YA category yet. So since the Smashwords post went on to mention that Wattpad was a good place to find beta readers, I suggested that she check it out. We both did yesterday, and really, it’s exactly like Fictionpress. FLOODED with teens. There may be more experienced authors on there, but they’re buried. But it DID bring up the issue that such a venue might be a great way to attract FANS to indie published work. Particularly YA indie work. If you’re indie, the issue of what constitutes first publication is no longer relevant. Just post the sample you’d have everywhere else and at the end provide info on where to buy.
I thought I might as well try the same logic for Forsaken By Shadow. If it snares me a handful of sales, then yay. If not, nothing lost but a little bit of time.
I’ll smack a great big WARNING label on this move. If your sample shows that you have enough of a brain to put two sentences together in a meaningful fashion (and perhaps even if you don’t), be prepared to be FLOODED by spammy requests from other members to come read, rate, and fan their stuff. I got hit with about five of these within an hour of putting my sample up. All but one was a teenager, and ironically, it was the YOUNGEST of the group who actually was polite enough to LOOK at my work and comment before writing a very professional sounding request that I take a peak at her work (summary provided) if I was interested. Props to her for being the most grown up of the bunch. I may actually read her stuff just for that. I wound up putting a policy statement on my profile saying that I follow the advice of agents and fellow authors and do not read the work of strangers in order to protect myself from lawsuits or threats of copyright infringement. Mostly I think they aren’t reading it, but at least it’s there and I can refer them back to it.
I signed back up for Fictionpress intending to do the same over there. They’ve gotten a lot more organized since I left. They’re stricter about their rules (with time limits imposed before people can start posting stuff, etc.) and have much better categorization by genre, so perhaps it might be a better venue for what I’m wanting. They also have a whole section devoted to beta readers–those looking to have their work read and for people who want to do so. I think that’s pretty cool actually. I might consider it when I get to that point with Edge of Shadow. We shall see.
Do you think we should tip off ‘Writer Beware’ and have this investigated? I smell fish.
I don’t think it’s any kind of scam. It’s just another social community for writers that happens to be full of teenagers who have…a lot to say on average. It’s a lot about popularity, so there are folks on there who are hitting up all the newbies with a blanket “Hey check out my stuff and I’ll be happy to do the same!” kind of deal (which obviously is very self serving because they want you to check their stuff FIRST when they’re already AT your site…). In my prior experience, MOST of the folks on this type of site aren’t as much interested in true critical feedback as just basking in fandom (been there, done that, grew up). Just because of my own paranoia, I don’t think I’d be inclined to ever post actual WIPs as I write them–both because I don’t want the feedback as I go other than from my critique partner and also because I’d rather have my stuff formally copyrighted. There’s stuff in the TOS that covers copyright and most folks probably are perfectly honest and only interested in their own work.
Thanks for writing this. I’m looking for beta readers, so this was right up my alley. I do #fridayflash for fun and that has been a mixed bag. I love it as an exercise, but if you want good constructive criticism, it’s a mixed bag. For instance yesterday I received a one-word review of “what?” on my flash story. Yeah waste of time. I’ve been a member on a few writing sites and they are like you describe with people spamming me for reads and reviews, but never returning the same. These folks also rarely want to hear anything but bravos for their work, whether its deserving or not, so it’s frustrating for someone like me who likes to offer constructive criticism. By the way, that’s what I’m looking for too. There is nothing worse than having a piece up with a typo in it that no one has pointed out to me. I hate that. So yes, I am looking for beta readers, not just readers. I may check out Fictionpress. Great article. I’ve missed so many since I’ve been away, but this was a great one to come back to.
If you want good, constructive feedback, Forward Motion for Writers is the best I’ve found. They have critique circles and actually teach people HOW to give (and receive) critique.
I usually avoid that kind of stuff because it’s almost never READERS that are reading and rating. It’s other writers. And they all want you to come read and rate their stuff too. It’s like indies who want you to read their book and review it in exchange for reading yours. No.
I just don’t have time for that. When I read, it’s a PLEASURE activity. It’s not a commitment. I want it to REMAIN a pleasure activity. If someone reads me and reviews me, that’s awesome. But unless we are REALLY good friends (and maybe not even then depending on what genre they write), they shouldn’t “expect” reciprocation from me.
Sure, I’ll have someone as a guest blogger, but if people knew how many requests I get in emails from people to read and blurb their book, or read and review their book (like I have special powers to help them sell more), they’d never ask me. Because if I accepted every request I would never have time to write and market my own stuff.
Need a beta reader? Bueller?……Bueller?…..
Sign me up. I love reading, and at this point in my life, it seems reading is easier on my brain than writing.
LOL, ATM I’m not looking for a beta, but my crit partner is. Are you into superheroes? Like romance? Like the concept of superhero romance? You should totally hop over to her blog http://susan-bischoff.com and let her know!