Cruising through Wattpad: The Hotspot Lottery

So, do you think you have an enticing story? Check.

Bearing in mind that we have like 200 million books floating in the orange cloud, how do you think your potential readers will find you?

A miracle? Sure, it will do. But just in case your miracle is a bit late for any weird reason, you should take the reader’s seat for a few minutes to get the feel of his/her treasure hunt on Wattpad.

First of all, 90% of Wattpad activity is on mobile. So, you can safely assume that 90% of Wattpadders are app users. Which means, they NEVER check any club threads. Sorry to disappoint you, but the pinned threads of “Share Your Story Here” in all clubs are useless.

Below is the screen your potential reader is most probably (probability=90%) browsing right now. That’s the spot where you want your story to appear.

Pic 1

Or this one between chapters.

Pic 2

The list of stories recommended by Wattpad is customized according to what the system ‘assumes’ it suits the reader’s preferences. And this ‘assumption’ is based on each reader’s activity (mainly the stories she votes on) as well as the activity of the people she follows. So, the more readers (not just followers) you get, the higher the chances your story will get exposure—because the followers of your readers will be more likely to find you. Got the idea?

But still, the question is: how can you ‘convince’ the system that your story will match your potential reader’s taste? The answer lies in the most underrated feature: tags.

Underestimating the importance of tags, many Wattpad writers don’t use the 20 tags allowed to them, while more tags mean higher chances of your story getting recommended by the system to those who read ‘similar’ stories.

Not sure which tags to use? Have a look at those tags of successful stories in your genre. Check the trending tabs from the ‘Discover’ tab (using a web browser, not the app), and pick those you find relevant to your book. Tagging your sword and sorcery fantasy with #HarryStyles is just a waste of one tag if you ask me.

Also, choose a word that your reader is likely to type in the search tab. Tagging your book with Aukarashu, the name of your mighty dragon, is not a smart move unless Aukarashu has suddenly become a popular name for the fantasy community.  

Book Clubs?

Many Wattpadders advise newcomers to join book clubs to get reads. I disagree.

Joining book clubs won’t help you gain ‘loyal’ readers, but it might help you improve your writing. I went through an awesome experience myself with the 100/20 group managed by the incomparable Jason aka @SeeThomasHowl. The feedback I received about my work, as well as reviewing works of other authors of different writing styles helped me hone my skills. And much better, I made friends with a bunch of amazing fellow-wattpadders.

Book clubs are of value indeed. But you should know what to expect from them. 

Update! Update! Update!

Frequency matters. Not only for the sake of the algorithm to boost your story ranking, but also for your readers who you don’t want to lose. To demonstrate the importance of frequent updates, let’s have a look at these two books.

Pic 3                                        

Both of them are sequels in two popular series. Even Bermuda has garnered more reads than The Warrior’s Path (Book 1) although it has fewer parts and not featured. So, I expected Bermuda 2 to boom. But eventually, Bermuda 2 has barely surpassed 100K reads, and RoTBQ is almost touching the 300K reads now.

While the number of parts could be a factor (RoTBQ has more parts than Bermuda 2), the main reason that hurt the momentum of Bermuda 2 was irregular updating. With RoTBQ, I didn’t miss a week, but the case wasn’t the same for Bermuda 2. Sometimes I took 10 days to post a new chapter, sometimes two weeks, a few times more than two weeks. By time, the decline of traffic momentum in Bermuda 2 became obvious. I wish I could do anything about it, but I was struggling with real life obligations.

Anyway.

One week is an acceptable waiting gap for Wattpad readers. But try not to make them wait more than that. If you post twice per week, they’ll love you more. Thrice per week, much more love, BUT, you’ll hurt the momentum of your book reads. However, NYT bestseller Taran Matharu‘s Summoner was a famous and a rare exception. Although he used to update his story every day, it grossed over 150K reads in six weeks, if I remember right.

My dearest pal, Michael Limjoco aka @Michaellimjoco, author of Cracking the Wattpad Code (a must-read guide), believes that the five-day gap works best for Wattpad stories. You see, Wattpad algorithm works in one way or another like Facebook (not Twitter).

Let me take you off topic for a minute.

Do you know how Facebook posts are sorted on your newsfeed? For the sake of simplicity, it depends on three factors:

1- ‘Popularity’ of the post: number of likes, shares, comments. (i.e. Reads, votes, library adds, comments)

2- ‘Affinity’ between you and the post owner: how often you interact with his post.

3. ‘Decay’ effect. After three days, the post will sink way down in your newsfeed. According to Michael Limjoco, the decay effect starts here in Wattpad on the fifth day.

However, a 12-year ‘old’ Facebook post may pop up in your newsfeed, but under only one condition: when someone leaves a comment on it.

Yeah, you got that right: that’s what happens when you post a new chapter.

(Click to continue)

 

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