My Tipping Point on Wattpad

It has been nearly five months since I last talked about Wattpad. Yikes!!

Sadly, at the very moment things began to take off for my book on Wattpad, I also entered one of the craziest seasons of my life — my first semester as a Middle School English teacher. It was all I could do to keep updating my story, and my blog updates got brushed aside.

teacher11

But now things are finally settling down, so I have to share what’s happened.

In the past 5 months, my fantasy, THE SHADOW WATCH, went from 8K reads to 106K reads! The first 8K reads took four months. Now, I am averaging 1K reads per day. Ironically, I was also far more active on threads and reading other people’s work when my reads were lower.

I felt I had a good story going, but needless to say, I was blown away when the reads started compounding.

For those of you just getting started, keep at it! I believe that if your writing is of quality and you post regularly, you will get noticed in time. Being more active last fall probably would have helped my cause further, but such is life…

Today, I thought I would share about my tipping points on Wattpad. Points when my readership suddenly shot up to a new level, and the book became more visible.

THE MAGICAL 10,000 READS!

Up until August, my reads averaged around 100 a day. At that time, I was posting at least twice a week. The day I crossed the 10K read mark changed things. I had 500 reads that day, and began averaging between 200-600 reads nearly every day that month. There were some outlier slow days. But simply crossing that threshold seemed to make my book more clickable, as I hadn’t changed anything else. All of a sudden, the reads and votes came flooding in at a much higher rate. I had more reads in August than I’d had altogether before that.

In September, I was forced to slow down my twice-a-week chapter posting schedule due to my crazy workload. Yet, still the reads held. Each month, the reads increased, but generally, I averaged somewhere around 400-600 reads per day for the entire fall.

I finished posting the book at the beginning of November. By that time, I had reached 50K reads. I was so burnt out from work and trying to keep up with writing, I hardly showed my face on Wattpad until mid-December, other than to respond to reader comments every couple weeks. In spite of the inactivity, my reads continued to hold.

That brings me to my next tipping point…

90K Craziness

I had begun to think my book had reached a threshold it would not pass until I managed to get the book featured on Wattpad (sadly, a few days ago, I discovered that my August application did not go through correctly, so that will have to wait). But this proved untrue.

After about 3 months of the same 500 reads or so a day, by the end of December my reads reached 90K. On Dec. 28, after crossing 90K, I had my first 1K read day. I have had 1K + reads every day since (minus one 900 day).

This has proven to be yet again, a tipping point for THE SHADOW WATCH.

While, I would not go so far as to argue this is the rule of Wattpad, for me, hitting those two points marked sudden, sharp increases in reads that held steady afterwards. I wonder what the next tipping point is?

I hope this is helpful to you! I have written a couple posts about the benefits of posting to Wattpad, benefits that I saw before I attained any level of success. And they hold true.

I have received no calls from agents due to hitting 100K reads on Wattpad. I know people who are pushing 1M reads, and are still having trouble finding representation in the traditional world. I have a friend who had a Featured Book with 200K+ reads who decided to self-publish and is seeing awesome results on Amazon now. I am working on a new draft of TSW at the moment, and plan to query some agents in the next couple months, and we’ll see what happens.

I do not think Wattpad is a path to publication, at least not typically. And I would still discourage people from approaching it with that mindset.

But I will say that it is a great experience to have your work read and loved by readers of your genre. Posting to Wattpad helped me finish THE SHADOW WATCH much faster than I probably would have. It also helped me keep the tension high throughout the book (a post for another day). Hitting those milestones (the first 2K reads, the first 10K, and the first 100K) have all been huge confidence boosts for my writing.

We’ll see what 2017 holds for TSW, both on and off Wattpad.

But either way, it was a great decision to try posting it there, and I personally would recommend giving it a try. At the very least, I guarantee you will connect with some cool people.

 

Keep on writing!

Stephen

 

Complex Baddies (Raising Your Villain’s Stakes)

A couple days ago, I wrote a post about Raising Stakes in your storyvillain21. I’d like to talk a little more specifically about the way this affects your characterization and relationships between characters, in particular today we will talk about villains.

Earlier on in my writing, I didn’t think specifically about this. I would sometimes discover that a character ought to be at odds with my protagonist as I was writing. But there is complex tension just waiting for you to unlock within your inter-character relationships.

VILLAINS

Probably your story will have a main antagonist. And there will be lots of tension there, of course. Your MC wants something, and your villain wants something at odds with it.

But if you let it stay at this level, that is pretty generic, and honestly not all that compelling. A stock villain may wreak some havoc on humanity, and may leave some bodies in his or her wake, but it doesn’t demand to be read. The world is replete with bad guys who are just bad because they are bad.

What makes an interesting villain is what compels them to do what they do. Why does your villain want to take over the world? Why do they hate your MC with such a bitter hatred? Why do they do the things they do?

Craft Complex Baddies

Why do people find themselves rooting for Hannibal Lecter? Why do we want Darth Vader to be redeemed by the end? Why do we feel sympathy for Draco Malfoy?

Because these authors crafted complex villains.

6cab1ae352cdbc7aac9bd496f4c405eaHannibal is a psycho who is locked up for cannibalism in Silence of the Lambs. But he is not just a stock cannibal. He is complex. He forms a bond with Clarice and is helping her capture another killer, and strangely wants to know about her. Early on, he tells her all he wants is a cell with a window to see the world outside again. He becomes real and sympathetic. If he was just a cold-blooded killer, the story would be less interesting. Probably it wouldn’t have been such a hit. It is the very fact that we are not sure how to feel about him that makes the story so interesting.

Villain’s Personal Stakes

img-thingIn the Half-Blood Prince, as Malfoy is confronting Dumbledore, we find out something startling. He says, “I’ve got to kill you, or else he (Voldemort) will kill me.” Malfoy has been a pretty hateful person throughout the books, but suddenly, we feel sorry for him. He is just a little boy, compelled to kill out of terrible fear.

What is at stake for your villain?

For Draco, if he does not kill, then he will be killed. Those are pretty big stakes. Stakes don’t have to resort to death for them to be compelling though. If you are writing a high school drama, and your villain is a Mean-Girl-type, then perhaps it is a terrible insecurity that makes her this way. If she is willing to get the leading role in the play at all costs, perhaps she is compelled by a fear of letting down her domineering mother.

Baddies doing bad stuff just because is pretty boring. Make sure your villains are as complex as any other character, maybe even moreso. Don’t settle for simplistic evil, make us unsettled about your baddies, make us sympathize with them, give them high stakes, and we won’t be able to stop turning the pages.

*Who are your favorite villains? What makes them so compelling?*