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.