Most people know I’ve always wanted to be an author, for as long as I can remember. I’ve written stories my whole life and it’s always been my dream to make a living from the words I write. But making money from writing is a gruelling business. So while I’m still working towards the goal of traditional publishing (paperbacks printed by a big publishing house), I’m also exploring ways to make money online writing, and how to make money writing on Wattpad.
A lot of people I talk to imagine the trajectory of a novelist to be smooth sailing. You write a book, polish it up, send it off, get an advance cheque with a bucketful of zeros on the end, and sink into an early retirement, living off royalties forever.
Of course this isn’t the case. Getting a novel to the stage where it’s ready to face the world is a seemingly never-ending process that most people can’t possibly imagine. And while I think I still have so much to learn about writing and how I can hone my skill, I’ve been sharing my writing online to get feedback as I go along.
I discovered Wattpad way back in 2013, while I was still at university, studying Creative Writing as a degree, and working on one of my first novels, Reprise. I published chapters of the novel to Wattpad as I was writing it, and instantly received feedback from readers who enjoyed the story. The novel got over 300K reads (or hits) before I took it down to edit it, and so many of those readers left valuable comments that helped me figure out what wasn’t working in the book, as well as what they loved.
When I moved to London I started writing Brew Books, and also publishing the chapters to Wattpad. Again I’ve received comments with encouraging words from readers, which has really given me the motivation to keep writing, even when it’s so tough to push through. Wattpad has millions of readers and millions of stories, and due to its huge size it’s sometimes hard to find quality work amongst the madness, but readers are enthusiastic and dedicated to what they’re reading.
Earlier this year, 2018, the team at Wattpad reached out to me to find out more about my novel. They’d identified it as something they liked, so I worked with the story development team and external editors to edit my novel and see where I could take it. I finished writing in April and spent the summer working on edits with the team at Wattpad and Fictionary, before finally having it in a much more polished state.
Up until now I’ve been posted my writing online for readers to read it for free. It’s been great having that instant feedback and building up an audience, but I wanna get paaaid! So when Wattpad asked me if I wanted to be part of a trial program to pay writers, I jumped at the chance. I have no idea how successful it will be, but I’m pretty optimistic that a lot of people will want to pay a small amount of money for a higher quality of work, just like they do on the Amazon bookstore.
I’ve got a lot of big thoughts on this, and how the publishing industry probably needs a good shake up the way Spotify has changed the music industry etc., so I’m pretty excited to feel like I’m riding the wave of modernising how we publish and consume novels. Let’s see how it goes, but in the meantime I’m keen to get my writing in front of more readers with the help of Wattpad.
So if you’ve gotten to the end of this you might want to check out my work! You can find it over here.