The Disconnect

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Just something to always be keeping in mind when you're on Wattpad. Well a few somethings really. But these are kind of important to keep in mind when you're frsutrated or don't understand what's going on. Much of this is just mental, so it's an easy fix in just how you think about things!

The biggest disconnect on Wattpad is the one between writers and readers and how each one uses Wattpad, and I can't stress enough how important this is. It often causes writers to do bizarre things because they think readers use Wattpad the same way they do...and they don't.

So here you go:

Readers use the app.

Writers use the website.

Now, this isn't always true, but it's mostly applicable to all situations. Readers who turn into writers often still use the app to start writing, but for the most part, pure writers are on the web because they write on their computer, and pure readers are on the app because they read on their device while in transit or wherever or for convenience.

Of course, anyone who got this far, should already, hopefully, know this, but I'm going to drive this nail home as much as possible so that people really, definitely, totally get this. These are some of the weird errors or assumptions we make that we need to move away from as writers:

1) Readers aren't on your profile. They just aren't. Readers work from story to story, adding books to the reading list and existing entirely on stories. Their interactions are on comments and that's it. They don't go look at your profile, and instead they just work from interstitials (those pages in between books/chapters on the app) or from discover searches. So if you're trying to make your profile gorgeous and filled with advertisements, you're not really getting any readers. You're advertising to a bunch of other writers, and they're probably not going to read your books.

2) Messages and statuses aren't being read. When you send out broadcasts, they're only going to a very small percentage of your followers. Mostly, it's web people who are reading what you post, and the odd app reader. And they were never reading the status bar because they never went to your profile (as per above). The best way to contact readers is through books. Chapters that make announcements related to the work (if it's getting published, going through editing, etc), then you will reach your audience. Even books that just post announcements will get more possible traction possibly than message board postings. This is not related to the updates to the profile, and has been prevailing for years. I have known that readers only read announcements you put in books for the past three years. It's how they are.

3) Work within your works. As previously mentioned, using your story as a form of advertisement is way better than using your profile and whatnot. You need to be posting in your work to advertise that you're working on something else, or that you're going away for a while. If you want to advertise your book, mention the name of it at the end of your biggest story. "Hey, if you liked this, maybe you'll like my other book [blank]. I appreciate your support!" A simple message like that at the end of your massive, 1000 read book will bring in more readers to your other works than how you arrange them on your profile or how often you post in the clubs.

4) Readers don't use the clubs. They don't ok? I can't stress this enough but there are almost no readers in the clubs. If you want to get your story out there, it's not in the clubs. If you think that you'll get good reader feedback in the clubs, you won't. Don't go in there looking to ask if readers would like your summary, because you're going to get judged by writers, not the readers you're hoping for. Why do you think this book is posted on my profile and not to the clubs? It exists as a book because it will get far more exposure than anything in the clubs! 

5) Make sure your book reads well...on the app. It does not matter what beautiful formatting and crazy stuff you put into your story. You may shed a tear over your incredible, massive paragraphs, multiple font types, and crazy indents, but mobile readers will just look at it sideways and probably give up. This is the kind of issue the entire ebook world is somewhat dealing with at the moment, but just keep in mind that you need to let go of making your work look absolutely beautiful on the web. If it looks pretty on the app and web, sure, go ahead, but if it would be awful on the app, don't try to be pretentious or better than the app and post "true books" or "real art" if your goal is to get reads. Sorry, but if you want to get read, you have to play by the rules of the platform you're putting your work on. If people are reading on the app, you're going to have to write for the app.

6) For readers, cause I know you're out there but I don't know why you would be reading this book, make sure you understand that writers aren't on the app. If you want to talk to an author, privately message them and talk to them. Try to find a way to the clubs to find where they hang out. Leaving comments, even though authors should be responding to them, may not work as well as you hope. Simultaneously, if you're reading on the app and notice some issues with the story, let the author know, and be polite about it, because the author may not be aware that they formatted incorrectly. And if you're an author who gets one of these kind of comments, do not blow them off and tell them they're just reading it wrong. Accept that maybe you botched it. You want to make sure you get it right and readers are going to be the ones who tell you that!

You cann't be disconnected from your readers. You need to understand they use Wattpad in a completely different manner than you do. It is just a reading platform for them where they stock up a library, enjoy some down time, and maybe interact with some other readers and friends. You also need to take their advice seriously. I don't care if you think Wattpad readers "don't understand" or "don't appreciate" your work. You aren't selling books to other pretentious writers; you're selling books to readers. If most readers can't read it, think its formatted poorly, or don't get it, maybe you should listen to them a bit. Don't give in to them, obviously, and maintain your own style and desires, but maybe just keep their opinions in mind instead of blowing off every criticism you ever get. 

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