Invisible Channels

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Yes, here are the invisible channels. Since the last part discussed how invisible channels are the better ones, I'm sure everyone is going crazy waiting to read this and may have even skipped straight here to see what it was. Do keep in mind though that the invisible channels are defined as being uncontrollable, so knowing about them doesn't do anything to help you actually control them. However, it can help you in designing your work, like discussed in the cover/description section. Since most people view your work through invisible channels and only view the cover/description, you better really make it count!

Also, for this section I will be using more data that, yet again, nobody has access to as a regular user to help illustrate the point. But this data is not a guarantee and is not entirely accurate because it is always in flux based on user behaviours. However, there are some consistent patterns and all to take from and that's what I will be using. Furthermore, this data only applies to users who spent more than 5 minutes on a story, meaning the people who just glance at a work and run won't count in it. But this data is super useful because the types of readers every writer wants are the kind who hang around to read the book!

1) The What's Hot List. I cannot give you an explanation of the ranking system. Nobody really can. Even someone who swears they have it figured out can, at best, guess things and cannot give specific numbers or stats. But what you can know about the What's Hot list is that it cares how many reads/votes/comments/reading list adds and other variables your work receives within the first few days after updating. This means if you don't update, you lose your rank, but if you update daily you also won't get a huge buff because it needs a few days to determine your ranking and you keep resetting it with updates. It's designed this way so that big stories eventually finish, have their time, and fall off the list to give way for new stories to always be moving up.  So are readers coming from there? Yes. The What's Hot list holds the highest draw for readers, in a tie with another channel, floating around 14% on conversion. Writing a lot is basically the best way onto the What's Hot list, so never stop writing if you want a shot here!

2) Recent vote. This is the other big conversion channel, also around 14%. Following up on the concept of making friends on Wattpad, friends read what other friends read. They see a recent vote and they go read that story because their friend likes it. Essentially this is the Wattpad version of "word-of-mouth" but you don't have to even say anything. One friend tells two friends, and they each tell two friends, but in this case it happens automatically when someone votes on your story. And thanks to the recent changes to the profile that display recent votes much bigger, your story may actually see more traffic this way. Do keep in mind all of the stats here are from mobile only (where all the traffic is) but that's where the readers are!

3) Recommended stories. Remember those tags you should have attached? Recommended stories sit a little further back of the other two but still hold a lot of weight when it comes to drawing in readers. This means you need a great cover because that's all a mobile reader sees when they reach recommended stories. On the web version, recommended stories still only show up as a cover, so you better make sure your cover and description rock because a huge number of readers are coming to you this way.

4) Reading Lists. You may think this one is under your control, but again I am not talking about when you make a reading list with your own stories in them. People have to go to your profile to see your reading lists and if they're already there, why would they click through your reading lists to go to your stories they already had access to? No, this is when a reader adds it to their reading list and a follower of theirs goes to your work through that. This is another big channel tied with recommended stories, and in a similar vein with recent votes. Basically, people see what their friends are reading and they want to read it to. Can you control this one? Slightly, because by adding people's stories to your own reading lists, they may reciprocate. Is that guaranteed? No, but you never know.

5) The Undiscovered stories list. This one has a pretty low rate compared to others, sitting down near the bottom. Again it is part of the "people read what other people read" theory. If your work is showcased in a section that very clearly states people aren't reading those works, they probably won't read them. But it is still a very functional channel that advertises some works, though it just has less success than the others above.

6) Curated lists. Wattpad as a profile adds stories to reading lists, as do the scifi profile and fanfic ones, and they do see retention rates. They're not as high as the others here, sitting with the Undiscovered stories list, but they too draw in readers. But if you think that you will get readers by being on these lists, you may want to reconsider. Your reads are coming from elsewhere for the most part!

7) People actually telling each other. This doesn't have a stat since there is no way to possibly track actual recommendations not done automatically by Wattpad, but if someone tells another person to read your work, they go read it. Because Wattpad makes access to your story so easy, they can find it quickly and you get reads!

8) Awards. While they only come around every so often, any major Wattpad awards contests give you a chance to throw your story into the ring and draw in readers with some bonus advertising for free. Whether you win or not isn't as important as the fact that your story is sitting in a list with others, just like What's Hot.

9) Trending tags. These are in both categories because you can't control what is trending and what isn't, but you can at least tag your story to get it into these. Oh, and as of writing this there was a huge update to trending tags that added a bunch more new ones, so it is a growing way to potentially have your story advertised without you doing anything other than tagging your work with something you would've tagged it with anyways!

As you can see, there are a lot of different ways Wattpad is automatically advertising your work for you without actually doing anything. Not all of these apply to all stories but the Big 3, as I now label them, of What's Hot, Recent Vote, and Recommended Stories are at work for pretty much everyone. Obviously the What's Hot list only tracks the top 1000 stories in a category, but Recent Votes pulls in just as many readers, so don't feel like you're losing out just because you haven't made the list yet. And perhaps now you will get a little more excited over those votes because you'll know they're in somebody's newfseed, advertising for you!

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