Visible Channels

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There are two types of promotion on Wattpad that people are throwing their books into at all times, visible and invisible. For the sake of this guide, visible will refer to ways a story is advertised that the writer can both see and somewhat control, while invisible ones will be uncontrollable for the most part, and are either seen or unseen.

So, with that out of the way, what does each channel do and which one is more important? To settle that question, invisible channels are where most of your readers will come from, not visible channels. However, since writers can see and control visible channels, they assume these are the only channels and that they are the way to success. They are not. But they are the way to start. As we discussed in Wattematics, people are more likely to read things that have already been read before. Since writers largely have control over visible channels, they can create a foundation for their work with some reads, and then let the invisible channels do the rest. Makes sense right? 

1) Advertising your work on your profile. This is a very ineffective way of marketing your story. It is possibly the least effective way because most readers are mobile ones and don't even visit your profile, going from one story to the next through recommendation. If you think people find works through dedications on your profile, broadcast messages, or status updates, think again. Most people who view that stuff are already following you and are following you due to reading your book for the most part, meaning you aren't gaining new readers and are instead just repeating your work to people who have already read it. That's not really super effective.

2) Advertising your work in the clubs. This one seems like the easy answer. You go to the clubs, run to the Share Your Story thread, throw up a post, and watch the reads come in. Not true. First up, the clubs represent an extremely small fraction of Wattpad. Generously, there are about 500,000 club users. That is 1% of the entire population of active monthly users on Wattpad. If you think advertising to 1% is efficient, then you're welcome to try, but this just won't get you the exposure you crave. Also keep in mind that most of the clubs are populated by web browser users, who are primarily writers, not readers, and they're in the clubs doing the same thing you are. Who goes in the Share Your Story thread except for people advertising their story? Not a lot of other people.

3) Advertising your work on Facebook/Twitter. These channels are somewhat more useful than the others, because you will be broadcasting your work to your friends typically, and your friends will probably read your works. Factoring in to Wattematics, we can easily grab 5 people to read a 10 part story through Facebook friends and pick up 50 reads. Strange that a place with less people gets more readers but we want readers not just people.

4) Advertising your story via PMs/comments. This is not a method of advertising your work. This is called spamming and it gets you reported, blocked, and generally hated by the community. And it can lead to your account being closed for consistent spamming. Let's just not do this one ok? I know it is tempting to mass message every person you see with a link to your story, but it just doesn't work. The amount of complaints received by ambassadors and support staff are more than enough to indicate this. If you're having a private conversation with someone and your book comes up, then sure, share a link, but randomly throwing it at people or begging for reads is not good. It just isn't.

5) Interviews/Reviews. Another way of getting your work out there is by getting it reviewed and being interviewed about it. This is nice, but it relies on the person reviewing/interviewing it to be popular and to be read by readers, and the odds of this happening are extremely low. 

6) Making friends. This is one of the best ways out of all visible channels that gets readers. Friends read friends' stories. This is not a guaranteed fact, but it does happen. When you want a reader, you want someone to read your entire book because they wanted to, not because you begged for it. A person you were nice to is very likely to look at your profile. If they look at your profile they notice you have a book and they think "I like this person, I should see how they write" and then you have yourself a reader. Many of them will go on to read your whole work, again kicking in Wattematics and grabbing you a boatload of reads and a friend. This one is really nice as a visible channel because it both combines increasing reads with generally being social and nice and that's pretty fun. Talking to people about who they are, what they do, why they write, and having fun is great for a host of psychological reasons you can read up on, and generally makes you happier and less stressed, which is great while writing. Wattpad gives everyone the ability to send private messages to maintain these kinds of relationships, plus you can be nice and meet people in the clubs, plus you can do it in another way...

7) Commenting. Continuing on the idea of advertising yourself, not your story, Wattpad's comment system is incredibly useful for making friends. Most people assume all interactions on Wattpad happen in the clubs or through PMs/profiles, unless they have the app. As we've mentioned many, many times, the app receives 85% of all traffic on Wattpad and people are communicating on the app in a whole different way: comments. Thanks to Wattpad's inline comments and comment reply system, you can easily have a conversation with multiple users at once, and can even have a conversation about a specific part and nothing more. Crazy right? As an example, support at Wattpad receives tens of thousands of tickets every week, but more than two thirds of all those tickets are related to comments and nothing else. That means every other aspect of Wattpad combined doesn't have as much activity as comments do. As an author, you can interact with readers through them and really, really should. The more you talk to your readers, the more they will talk. The more they talk, the more they read, give feedback, and buff your comment numbers too. A silent reader may be more likely to comment because they see you respond frequently. As a reader you should be commenting as well to talk with the author and the other readers. Make sure you're not coming in with a pretentious attitude about how you would have written it differently or where the spelling mistakes are, but come in to comment on the plot, how well they did on something, or reply to another person's comment on a twist or development and have a miniature discussion. Comments are where all the action is and you have total control over them people! But, as mentioned above, please don't post links to your works there...

Phew, that's a lot of stuff. Do remember though that regardless of how efficient a means of advertising your work may be, all of them are effective. There is no such thing as bad advertising (except spamming) and any way you are broadcasting your existence is positive. Make sure you are doing every possible thing you can to advertise as well. Being a silent user who publishes an ad for their work in the clubs twice a week will not bring in nearly as many reads as doing everything mentioned above. Many people will note that things like status and dedication were removed from the new profile for now, and hopefully this post sheds some light on how inefficient those were and why they aren't currently up (though the profile is still in beta).

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