About six weeks ago, I decided to begin serializing a book I had written on Wattpad. For those of you who don't yet know about Wattpad, it's basically a social networking site for readers and writers--that's it. I had heard about Wattpad last year and joined (like other social networking places, it's free) and began reading other writers' work while mulling over the idea of putting up something of my own.
Fast forward to fall 2013. I had finished the first draft of THE EXQUISITE AND IMMACULATE GRACE OF CARMEN ESPINOZA
and had sent it off to my wonderful agent--she wasn't super crazy about
it. Despite that, she was still totally willing to work on it with me
and send it out to prospective editors. Maybe I shouldn't share that,
but it's true. (side note: just because you find an agent who loves your
writing, it doesn't mean they automatically love every incarnation of
I thought about her offer for several days but ultimately decided not to.
for one, I have long been thinking about the publishing ground shifting
beneath our very feet. Since I've been working at the Nelson Literary
Agency, I've been thinking about it even more and from a somewhat
different, certainly more "business" perspective.
So I have my
thoughts about all of this, but one idea that has popped up again and
again is that maybe I would like to pursue a "hybrid" way of writerly
This idea that maybe some of the things I write could find a
home in traditional publishing (eventually, please, still hoping),
while some of my writing I will publish myself and that each decision
should be made on an case by case basis. Between knowing the type of
story EXQUISITE IMMACULATE was (Teen-Fantasy), hearing the feedback from
my agent (who I very much trust), and just seeing every day at my job
what editors seem to be looking for and acquiring, I felt that this
story might best be served by publishing it myself. Basically, I felt
there was an audience for this book--however that audience may not be
big enough to entice traditional publishing to sit up and take notice of
a not already established writer.
Okay, so this (I'm not going to
lie, somewhat painful) decision has been made. I am not going out on
submission with this project--now what.
Self-publishing is another post (now this is a lie--it's many, many posts) all in itself, but this one is about "Why Wattpad?"
Here's the answer: I hoped to be able to gain some exposure for the work before it went on sale.
is quite a bit of compelling evidence out there to support giving some
of your writing away for free (again, another post) and Wattpad seemed
like a great vehicle for me to do just that. The more I learned about
their platform, it's reader reach, and who already was using it, the
more excited I got about getting my own work up there.
So, I jumped in.
began posting a chapter a week, on Fridays, and started to see my
"reads" number climb--very, very slowly. But I was not worried, I
believed that the more content I posted, and the longer I posted it, the
more those numbers would climb--and they did.
And then one day, about three weeks after I had begun my Wattpad project, my story received an unexpected boost.
of the content managers at Wattpad contacted me and asked if I would be
interested in having my story on their "Featured" list.
So last week on February 12th 2014, my "reads" number looked like this:
At that time, I had six chapters posted and about 1200 people had read it.
This morning, after one week of being on the Wattpad Featured list, my "reads" number looks like this:
Over 23000! In 1 week!
And from what I can tell, it seems to grow by about 3000 a day. That's three times the number of total views I had before being featured. Per day.
So what do I think about giving my book away for free on Wattpad?
this writer, who has yet to break into one of the larger traditional
publishing houses, I LOVE IT. Wattpad has given me this amazing
opportunity to share my writing with readers. Lots and lots of readers.
And what writer doesn't want that?
I started posting chapters of THE EXQUISITE AND IMMACULATE GRACE OF
CARMEN ESPINOZA on Wattpad, my whole hope was to gain a little exposure.
So thank you Wattpad for doing just that.