My name is May Freighter. I'm an internationally bestselling author of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Sci-Fi Mystery. Today, I want to talk to you about my journey from Wattpad to becoming self-published.
First, I want to mention that I have tried to get an agent as well as published by a publishing house in the past. I'm sure that many of you would agree that such a feat is not easy. There is a particular kind of stories publishers want, and I just didn't fit that box. Some said, "It's too long," other responded with, "not enough romance". Words like that can really bring a person down. So, I want to you know that there is nothing worse than giving up, especially if you are serious about writing.
I believe I started considering becoming a writer in my 4th year of university. I have posted three of my novels' drafts on Wattpad and had a good response to those books. One of them, RUSSIAN ROULETTE, was even featured in Vampire genre for over 1.5 years. To me, that was a huge achievement. I even decided to try out Radish—a platform that allows you to publish your books and earn some money from the chapters when the reader spends coins to buy them. When those coins came in, I was over the moon. People wanted to read my work and pay for it, OMG!
At the same time I joined Radish, I was preparing and editing my first book in the HELENA HAWTHORN series on Amazon—a major step and a daunting one at that. It's scary when you press "publish" for the first time. Worries never end, like, "What if the world hates my work?", "what if I only get one-star reviews?", etc. You have to realise that no one is perfect. There will be readers out there who will absolutely love your work and those who will loathe it. That's inevitable. There's 0% chance that 100% of the population will like something. If you get a bad comment or a review that brings you down, don't sweat it. My advice would be to prepare for it in advance, if you can. It will sting less with each mean review/comment.
That said, it's not a way out for you to think that taking onboard criticism is out of the question. On the contrary, listening to what readers are saying, pondering their meaning, and adapting is the only way to survive. You have to write to sell. If you are a full-time writer, you may end up writing things you don't care for or the genres you aren't necessarily a fan of. But, once you assemble a base of fans and dedicated readers/buyers, you can then move on to try and be a little more adventurous. If you are writing as a hobby, then there is no pressure on you to make enough to pay your bills. In a way, that is the most comfortable approach. One, sadly, I cannot partake in at the moment.
In a way, I do miss the days when there was no pressure to release the next novel. There were more discussions going on with my readers. I could talk to them, have fun, and get to know what they thought about my work. The only times I get feedback now is through the reviews or when my beta and ARC teams read the books before release. And, even then, if the story is just praised, it's hard to tell where you can improve further.
To me, progress is important. Without it, we cannot grow as writers and people. Plus, in my opinion, constant praise can lead to overblown egos. I have seen too much of that going around in the writing community and cannot fathom why a few authors change so suddenly when they get a title like NYT or USAT bestseller. It's as if they get a personality transplant or something. Being humble is the way to go. You didn't get that title by yourself. You had help from readers, betas, ARC teams, author friends, fans, editors, proof-readers, cover designers. The list goes on. It's important to remember those who gave you a hand. Alone, this journey is impossible.
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Wattpad Block Party - Summer Edition IVRandom
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