No agent? No problem. Getting published via Wattpad

Wattpad logo. Wikimedia Commons.

If you are a member of an online YA book community, like Goodreads, then you have undoubtedly come across Wattpad.

A free online storytelling community, Wattpad is a place writes writers post stories, articles, fan fiction, and other writing mediums, through the website or app.

Readers engage with the writers of the stories through the ‘inline commenting ’ function to give feedback or to discuss what is happening in the story.

As author Linda Poitevin explains, Wattpad is “hugely popular with the YA and fanfic crowds, but its reach with successfully published authors is growing rapidly, with […] bestsellers [such as] Scott Westerfeld … Colleen Hoover and many others now offering work there.”

Wattpad currently contains up to 375 million uploads of original content. It’s one of the best reading sites out there, but Wattpad is also responsible for pioneering many YA authors’ careers. A03? I don’t know her.

Brittany Geragotelis, author of the Life’s A Witch series, was rejected by HarperCollins Children’s and discovered Wattpad not too long after. Geragotellis said, “I went from getting rejections from agents and publishers to finding an audience that loves my book!”

She now has 78.k followers on Wattpad, with over 20 million reads of her YA series, which has since been self-published. According to Nina Lassam, the director of marketing and publisher relations for Wattpad, Life’s a Witch is “one of the most successful books on Wattpad.”

Although Wattpad offers free stories to a wide, international audience, the authors on the site have taken advantage of their following and the digital marketing offered through Wattpad to take their novels to the next level: publishing.

Queens of Geek. [Credit: Laura Cesile. Link]Melbourne writer Jen Wilde is another author who, like Geragotelis, did just that: after a brief stint of self-publishing with Amazon Kindle, Wilde gained a publishing deal with Swoon Reads/Macmillan.

Her first traditionally published book was Queens of Geek, but her entire bibliography is still available for free on Wattpad.

Wattpad is fast becoming a medium through which YA authors can get published.

With a Wattpad account, authors can create an established fanbase, and a place where they can develop their skills as a writer through helpful feedback from readers.

Ashleigh Gardner, head of partnerships for Wattpad, said:

“In the last 30 days [over June and July], people have spent the equivalent of 1,700 years reading YA stories on Wattpad.”

Publishing companies should take advantage of Wattpad authors: after all, a majority of the marketing has, essentially, already been done for them.

In fact, in July 2017, HarperCollins announced a collaboration with Wattpad in order to “cultivate new voices in teen fiction.”

Sara Sargent, the executive editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, said she wants to “really focus on cutting-edge YA and children’s books. Being able to connect with as far-reaching a platform as Wattpad, which I consider more of a social media platform than anything else, felt perfect.”

Publishing is a difficult industry to break into. Everyone knows this. And sometimes the traditional pathway to publishing – sending in a manuscript and being offered a contract – just doesn’t work for everyone.

With the many features the ever-expanding internet has to offer these days, authors are looking for new, alternative pathways to publishing. And publishing companies are keeping their eyes peeled.

Wattpad offers many benefits to authors, including:

  • The chance to find and grow an audience.
  • The opportunity to discover and write for an untapped readership.
  • A way to maximise exposure and gain an online presence (very important these days!).
  • Have the opportunity to get onto the ‘featured story’ list to promote it.

YA List on Wattpad. [Credit: Laura Cesile. Link]While a majority of authors would immediately choose the self-publishing route, particularly through Amazon, it would be wise to consider sites like Wattpad, where you can grow a fanbase and hone your writing skills, before attempting traditional publishing.

Using Wattpad is a great alternative to publishing, or even, like Jen Wilde, a way to break into the industry.

Interested in reading unique stories and being part of a storytelling community? The check out the popular YA books available to read for free on Wattpad.

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