Chapter 4 - How Long Does It Take To Get Noticed?

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So you've written your great story, or at least the first few chapters of it, hit that publish button, and a few people read it!  You feel great!  Like you're on top of the world! 

You write more, and upload the chapters, but something is wrong.  You're not gaining very many reads, and those who are reading aren't voting or commenting.  You look at the hotlist stories, and they're getting millions of reads for utter crap writing while no one seems to notice your story.

Time is slipping by and nothing is happening.  What are you doing wrong?

Nothing. 

The fact is, it takes time to gain a following of readers.  A lot of time.  Those numbers may go up slowly and steadily, or it may be fits and starts, but it's going to take a while, maybe even years.  You have to have patience.  And there are no shortcuts.  You're going to have to put a lot of work into getting that following.  While you're working hard, it may seem like it's all for nothing.

After three months, I had posted all 32 chapters of Stolen Hearts and had reached around 14,000 reads and 250 followers.  Compared to some authors, that's a lot, to others, not so much, but I was over the moon about it.  It had never been on the hot list, there was no way to advertise it back then, but somehow, through all my efforts readers were managing to find it - readers who were so passionate about it, they were willing to fill out a form to nominate it for a special award in the 2012 Watty's when I asked them. 

Having it become a finalist in the Watty's was a huge boost for me.  Many more readers found my writing much more quickly because of it.  But I have no doubt that if I had never gotten into the Watty's, readers would have continued to find me and my works.  Why?  I just had faith that it would happen. 

I continued to work hard no matter how well or how poorly I was doing because I never gave up on my faith that readers would find my stories.  That was all that mattered to me, not gaining millions of reads and a fast track to Wattpad stardom.  In fact, I didn't even care if Stolen Hearts won that Watty or not.  I felt like a winner just making it as a finalist.  That's because I knew it was helping more readers find it.

I'm extremely happy with the success I've achieved so far, but I've always been extremely happy with my success, no matter what that success was.  I was just as happy the day I reached 100 reads as I was when I hit 1,000, and then 1,000,000 reads. 

I feel blessed for all I've gained from Wattpad and I'm humbled so many people think I'm a good writer and love my stories.  But even if my stories hadn't done well, I would still feel blessed and grateful for the few readers who found it.

And I think that's the key. 

Instead of spending your time being upset about how slowly everything is taking, you need to concentrate on your goals.  You have to be willing to work hard, most importantly on your writing.  You have to have patience.  You have to have faith.  And you have to be happy with what you've achieved, no matter how big or small that achievement is.

There have always been an ocean of writers who toil for years yet never achieve superstar status - and there always will.  I guess my attitude is, I can go through the whole process being miserable and angry for what I don't have, or I can find joy in what I do have and continue on. 

Is it a guarantee for success?  

I really don't know, but I think it gives you fighting chance.

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