We’re always looking for new ways to share our words and ideas with the world and as writers, we also love to read the stories crafted elsewhere. Enter Wattpad, an app that does both, while also letting you have a more direct relationship with your readers.
First things first: Tell me more about Wattpad.
Wattpad aims to redefine the entire world of storytelling by making it a more social experience. Readers can message and start conversations with writers, and readers can also interact with one another and share thoughts on the stories they’ve just read. All the stories published on Wattpad are free for readers, so it’s like a gigantic library that they can keep in their phone, tablet, laptop, or computer.
Why would writers like Wattpad?
As a writer, you have tons of freedom when it comes to publishing your stories. Wattpad doesn’t ask for the rights to your work, and it doesn’t decide where it gets published from start to finish, you’re in control of the what, when, and where of your project.
You also don’t have to publish all at once lots of people actually post chapter by chapter, and their readers get notifications when the next chapter is up online. Or, you could post a short draft and get immediate feedback from readers. Wattpad also makes it really easy for readers to share stories via email, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts.
Sounds neat. Now, how do I publish on Wattpad?
First, keep in mind that anyone can publish on Wattpad so whether you’ve only written in a journal or have tons of experience in the publishing world, you’re welcome to share your words. Here are instructions for publishing from a computer or laptop — doing so from an app or tablet is similar:
- Setup a Wattpad account. You can either sign up with an email address and create a password, or have it go through your Facebook account. If you use Facebook, you can also see which Facebook friends are using Wattpad and follow them if you like.
- Check out the copyright agreement/rules. Though Wattpad is pretty lax about publishing, there are still some guidelines about copyright infringement and posting content that is obscene or hateful. Read those guidelines carefully before creating content.
- Click “Create.” In the toolbar at the top of the page, you’ll see a few options you can search for stories based on genre, recommended reads, featured stories, or what has recently won awards; view your own library of saved stories to read; or create a story of your own. Click “Create.”
- Start writing. The template here is simple: There’s a spot for your story’s title, a word count tracker in the top-right corner, and simple HTML tools for bolding and italicizing words. There’s also a helpful spell checker that can spell-check in eight different languages, which is another cool feature.You can either write directly in the text box, or upload a .txt file from your computer by clicking “Upload a File” in the bottom-left corner of the text box (it’s easy enough to convert files to .txt, since it won’t accept .doc or other file types). You can save drafts along the way by just hitting “Save,” and you can hit “Save & Publish” when it’s finished and ready for the world to see.
- Pick categories, tags, rating, and language. Along the right side of the text box, you’ll see a series of dropdown menus. These selections make your content more searchable, describe your story, and also will help bring in readers looking for your kind of story. You can pick up to two categories (e.g. “Short Story” and “Science Fiction”) and also can free-form tags.Tags are more specific descriptors to help readers find your story maybe your Science Fiction story would be tagged with “vampires” and “werewolves.” Think of things you might type when searching for that kind of story, and use those as tags. You’ll also want to give your story a rating G through R, much like the movies so it’s clear what kind of content is in there.
- Copyright. If you publish using “advanced options,” you can also add copyright language to the story like “All rights reserved” or a “Creative Commons” license.
- Add a description. If you’re using a computer, you can click “My Works” and then “Manage” to add a short description of the story and to mark whether it is an ongoing series or completed story. (It’s a little different on the apps, but you still go through the “My Works” page.)
- Publish! Once you’re ready, you can hit “Save & Publish” to share with the masses. Readers can send messages and comment on the story, and you can see that all in your inbox. That direct interaction and feedback can be really helpful in growing your readership and perfecting your writing skills.
- Add dedications or photos. After you publish, you can also add a dedication or photograph to the story. You’ll see those options along the right side of the screen, next to the text.
- Check out the stats. Wattpad keeps track of how many reads, votes, and comments that each story gets, so you can see in real time how many people are reading it.
- Add chapters. If you want to add chapters, then go to “My Works” and simply click “Add Part” for the story you want to add something to.
With millions of readers on Wattpad waiting to check out new and fresh stories, it’s a great place to publish and now you know how!