To open up this series of interviews, I corresponded with British playwright and literary fiction and fantasy novelist Gytha Lodge. Gytha has won a Fringe Award and a Geoffrey Whitworth Award for her plays. Her Wattpad stories can be read on her profile (@thegyth), and she's presently running a contest for a new Kindle Fire at http://www.wattpad.com/10084118-contest-win-a-kindle-fire-with-the-feature-launch.
Q: Why don’t we start off by asking a little about your books. You’ve got two up on Wattpad right now: The Fragile Tower and The Butterfly Catchers. What made you choose to put them up on the site, and why now?
A: I got to know about Wattpad through some other writers who recommended it and once I’d had a look I was really keen to get involved. Writing has changed so much in the last few years, with opportunities to get feedback and interest online which were never possible when I started out writing. I think if it had been possible, I would have been a better writer a lot more quickly!
As for why now, I’m currently editing The Butterfly Catchers with my fab agents, and I could see that I was going to get an awful lot more input if I uploaded it onto Wattpad than if I did this all in-house. It’s also a great tester to find out how popular a concept is.
Before uploading The Butterfly Catchers, I’d decided that I’d like to do a fully online book too, which would be on Wattpad from start to finish. The Fragile Tower is the first in a series I’ve been planning out for over a year, and this seemed the perfect time to get it moving.
Q: You’ve had amazing early success with The Fragile Tower, which cracked the Top 10 Fantasy books on Wattpad pretty quickly. The Butterfly Catchers seems to be moving at a bit of a slower burn. Is there any reason you can think of why one book might be moving a little faster than the other at the moment?
A: It’s really interesting how differently the two have run. The Butterfly Catchers made it up to the number 4 and 5 slots about a week in or so but then has dropped off a little to more like second or third pages (and sometimes a good deal lower!) whereas The Fragile Tower has been largely in the top 10 from a couple of days after I uploaded it, though with no updates prior to featuring it has slid a little.
I think the contrast is largely to do with the sort of readers there are on Wattpad. There are more straightforward fantasy fans than there are literary or historical fiction readers. Or even than there are mystery readers.
There’s probably a little connection with my consistency with uploading, too, since with a big edit going on I’ve had a little break from uploading The Butterfly Catchers – but it’ll be continuing soon in its spangly new form and I’ll see how the charts go then!
Q: The Fragile Tower goes Featured on Wattpad today. How did that come about for you?
A: The featuring of The Fragile Tower is a really fantastic thing. It was something I approached the wonderful Maria Cooatcu about, having been sent her way by other Wattpad staff. Luckily, Maria liked it and was keen to run it as a feature serialisation, and having sorted the concept out, at that point I was able to hand over to Curtis Brown to organise how it was all going to work. I’m happy to organise things if I have to, but on the list of things I enjoy doing and am good at it’s probably eighty-seventh. Just after playing the spoons.
Q: You’re currently being represented by Curtis Brown, a major U.K. agency with a long history of placing authors in traditional publishing deals. How did you come to put your books up on Wattpad? Was it your idea or theirs, and if it was yours, how did they react to it?
A: It was largely about wanting a new project to write whilst sorting out The Butterfly Catchers edits and then it being out on submission. I have a second lit fic book which is more in line with that one, which I’m also working on, but The Fragile Tower was more in a state of readiness. I’ve always had a helpful sort of urge to be overloaded with work, because I like to have lots and lots of projects to flit between. Then I like to moan endlessly about having too much to do. It keeps me happy.