For those who don’t know, Wattpad is a website where aspiring authors can freely share their stories with the rest of the world. It’s been around since 2006 and claims to have a staggering 90 million users. Like…damn!! That’s a lot.
So I tried it. I became 90millionth and 1 user (give or take) last fall. And I had a super fun time for about a week or two. Which was as long as it took me to figure out what the site actually is…and what it isn’t…and also, what it should be. (Which is the point of this post).
What it is….
It’s a social media site. Really. That’s the crux of it. And it’s one that skews to a young demographic who lean toward highschool romances, things with werewolves and vampires, and all manner of ‘fan-fic’ type things. But it’s also a place where authors and readers (typically all one and the same from what I can tell) can interact…though it’s mostly chatting that has little or nothing to do with writing as a craft.
(Shortly after I joined their servers got hacked and the wheels were wobbly for a while. In fixing the holes they decided to scrap a companion site they had running which was a forum environment, so most of the interaction is gone – at least for the time being).
What it isn’t…
It is definitely not a place for anyone hoping to create something of quality to the extent that anyone would actually pay to read it. At least not for 99.8% of it. They do have a pay to read program (which mostly has higher quality stuff) but it’s a very cliquish invite-only framework and it’s very difficult to break into from all the complaints that I read.
What it should be…
Okay, this is not my original idea! In fact, I’d never even heard of bandcamp.com until another author on Reddit made the point I’m making now. Which is, that, bandcamp.com is a website for musicians that allows artists to; create accounts, upload their music, set their own prices, and create a web presence to promote their work. If you go there and see what they’ve done it’s like well…no shit! It is exactly what somebody needs to do for authors.
Anyway! I’ve been echoing those thoughts in all the writing subs on Reddit for a while now but I thought I’d share it here in case someone gives Bill Gates or Elon or somebody like that a copy of my book for valentines day. Which of course might lead them here to check out this blog and leave them thinking: Hmmm…I’ve got a few bucks lying under the sofa cushions….I should start up a website like that…hmmm….