This is Nick from Wattpad HQ coming by like some sort of fake infomercial host telling you that I have the secret to more reads. It may not be The Secret...or a secret. But it's the truth that I'm bringing to everyone today. If you want to get more reads, have more readers, and grow your audience, you only need to do one thing, just one simple thing, and you will get them. Just like that. No strings, no special tricks, no secret Wattpad hacks, no money down, 30-day guarantee.
What is this miraculous, magical secret?
Complete your story.
And then mark it complete.
That is all.
There's two reasons for this. One is qualitative and comes from talking to users and people and writers and thinking about it. People want to read stories with endings. It's as simple as that. And nobody is opposed to a complete story. Nobody refuses to read a story because it is complete now. But lots of people refuse to read a story with no ending. You can think of this with TV. If someone recommends a show to you, you might ask how many seasons. If they say "Oh, two seasons but then it was cancelled so it kind of doesn't have a proper ending" are you likely to watch that show? Maybe, but probably not. I actively avoid shows with no ending. God help anime fans who almost never get endings.
The point is, there is a massive group of readers who are totally happy to read your story. They want to read your story. Or any story. But they're not going to read it until it's done. They're waiting for you to finish it, then they'll check it out. So when you have an unfinished story with only a handful of reads, it's not necessarily because someone hates the story. They probably haven't even read the story because it's simply not finished. They'll take a look when it's done. That's all. So rather than waiting for reads or trashing the book because it isn't a success, finish it to find out.
Second reason is quantitative (the perks of working at Wattpad). The most searched for term when users are joining? Completed. And it's not like Completed is number one and One Direction is right behind it. It isn't even close. It's Completed and then everything else far, far behind. So we know people are specifically looking for these complete stories. But that's not all we know.
Completed stories are read 4 times more than ongoing stories and are, on average, less than half the size. So way more people are spending way more time on way less stories that are way shorter (but at minimum have 40,000 words, we're not talking short stories here, that would be too obvious). Statistically they outperform ongoing stories in every way you can imagine, by a very long shot.
Ongoing stories and the ongoing aspect of Wattpad (with an exception to serialized works made up of a string of volumes all in one book) is more beneficial for writers and early adopters than for readers. Readers don't want to wait for updates, they don't want to wonder if it will ever end, they don't want to get burned by abandoned stories or lack of updates. They want to enjoy a story from front to back on their time. Getting that early feedback from those initial adopters is incredibly valuable for the writer as you write. That's the time to find out you might be heading in the wrong direction or there is a better direction to take before you have gone too far into the story or written too much.
But ongoing is not a time to figure out if mass audiences love the story and where you build popularity or get success. It's a critical time to work with early adopters to craft your story.
When it's time to get more reads though, that's when it's time to finish.
You might ask, but wait, Nick! What about ongoing stories that gain more readers while they're being written, and then don't get as many reads when they're finished?
Someone might have an individual experience where there complete story doesn't do as well as an ongoing one. As a statistical average, it isn't true, but that doesn't mean anomalies don't happen.
There's also a lot of other factors when it comes to why one story might not be read while another is. For example, a new ongoing story might resonate better with a particular audience just because people happen to like that story more. Which means once complete it would most likely do significantly better than that. A complete story with a low following may indeed do worse than an ongoing story with a larger audience, but that larger audience is still a fraction of the potential total audience that will come.
If your audience doesn't grow after you complete it, then that's when you find out there isn't a major audience for your story (they were all those early adopters and that was it). That's a very good learning lesson. It means you already delivered to your audience and the story might not have as broad appeal as hoped. Time to go back and edit it or take a look at what people aren't interested in. Add or remove parts, or find other ways to tweak the story. It doesn't mean throwing it in the bin.
Besides which, finishing a story is an accomplishment worth celebrating either way.
YOU ARE READING
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