Chapter 2 - Why Don't They Frickin' Vote?

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The sad fact is, you will always have way more reads on your chapters than votes.  Why is that?  Readers don't feel the need to vote, or maybe even understand why they should vote for your chapters. 

There are millions and millions of active Wattpad users worldwide.  The vast majority of those users are readers only.  That means they don't have a story on their profile page with numbers staring at them right in the eyeballs day after day.  They don't know what it feels like to wish with all their heart that those little numbers would go up.  They don't know what a rush it is when someone you don't even know, actually presses that little star, as if they're saying, 'Good job!  Keep it up!  I really liked that!'

They simply don't understand how much those votes mean to us authors.

The number one free reading app in the world is Wattpad.  In fact, it may be more successful as a source for free mobile stories than it is as a reading and writing website (this is my own, very humble opinion, not any kind of official proclamation).  JoelWhatshisname546, who has downloaded the app and is reading your story, has no connection with you whatsoever.  What does he care if he votes for it or not?

Of those who do vote, there are the infrequent voters, ones who will only vote for the chapters they really like, or vote when they get to the end of the story if they liked it.  Sometimes, if they're enjoying the story, they simply may forget to hit that little star before racing to the next chapter. But some, the very beloved few, will vote for every single chapter you managed to keep their attention.

So....

What can you do to encourage readers to vote?  You can ask them in an author's note in your chapters. 

I usually word it something like, 'If you liked this chapter, please consider giving it a vote.'  Why don't I say something stronger?  Quite frankly, I don't want to come across as greedy, or demanding, or that I only care about the numbers.  Because in reality, even though votes are nice, they're not the reason why I write.

What else can you do?  Thank the people who have voted - and for new authors this is something you should ALWAYS do.  It's not that hard find those people and thank them because every person who votes for your story is posted in your notifications feed. 

If you're on the website, click on your username in the top right corner of the screen, and then choose 'Notifications' from the drop down menu.  As you scroll down, you'll see all the people who have voted.  If you click on their profile picture and go to their profile, you can leave them a message. 

If you're on the app, touch the comment bubble at the bottom of the screen and then choose 'Notifications' at the top of the screen.  Again touch the profile picture to be taken to their profile.  Once there, touch 'Conversations' and post a message. 

Leaving a quick message on a reader's profile thanking them for reading and supporting your story is extremely important.  That's because it can go a long way in making a connection with that reader.  You're no longer invisible to them.  You're a real person now, a person who has let them know how grateful you are for their support. 

 What you should not do?  Vote Trade or make extra accounts to vote for your own chapters

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 What you should not do?  Vote Trade or make extra accounts to vote for your own chapters.

Vote trading is when you make an agreement to vote for someone's chapters in exchange for them voting for yours.  Making extra accounts to vote for your own chapters or vote trading are actually against Wattpad's Terms of Use and pretty serious offenses.  People who insist on vote trading after they've been warned it's not allowed have had their accounts closed.  If you've vote traded by accident because you didn't know it was against the rules, be safe and don't do it again.

What else should you not do?  Hold your chapters hostage for votes.

There is no rule that says you can't do it, but it's one of my biggest pet peeves.  There is nothing I dislike more than reading a story where the author makes increasingly more angry demands for votes.  And how can they not become angry about it?  They took the time to write those frickin' chapters and upload them for free.  And people are reading!  Come on!  How hard can it be to push that vote button, people!!  (If you think I'm making this up, you're wrong.  These are actual quotes I've read.) 

And this is another reason why it's a very bad idea.  It introduces hostility and resentment into the author/reader relationship.  Even if you're not demanding votes, if you have an expectation that they should be given, it is possible as an author to begin to resent your readers - and then to turn on them.  You may think it's crazy that authors would turn on their own readers, but I've seen it happen.

I dislike the practice of demanding votes for chapters so much, I've sworn to never read a story whose author does it.  As far as I'm concerned, if you think so little of your story that you're willing to withhold your chapters, and so little of your readers you treat them like misbehaving toddlers,  then you're not serious enough about writing for me to keep reading.   

I warned you I was going to get preachy.

Since I've written this chapter, a lot of people have commented below that this is also a major turn off for them as well.  While I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels this way, I'm sad that the practice is so widespread.  Hopefully all of you reading this will avoid making this mistake and not end up turning away good readers.

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