As many of you might know, I self-published my first poetry collection last year, Post-You. I, also, have crafted a novel for my graduation thesis, Night of Awakening: Strength and Empowerment in the Young Adult Fiction Genre. Since the publishing market is tough to navigate, I have had little luck with submitting to literary agents in order to continue the process of publishing my fantasy novel. Not only is the market tough to begin with, but there is a large surge of requests, leading to a lot of agents not accepting more applications for an unforeseen future.
However, I have proved in the past that when I am met with a challenge, I pave my own path in order to reach my goals. So, in order to post my novel in a way that can be recognized by a larger audience, I am now working with online platforms to release my novel in digestible fragments. Of course, as this blog goes, I will be leading you through the entire process in hopes that you too will share your creative work with the world.
Wattpad is a great resource to submit a novel chapter by chapter. While other authors who use this platform write their novels as they update the ebook, I will be dosing my novel out on a weekly basis. Slowly, chapter by chapter, I will allow the public to view my novel.
Also, this is a great way to create a buzz around your creative works, without truly publishing your novel. Publishing companies will ask if your novel has been published in another format due to rights and Wattpad is not a recognized source of publication. You are able to remove your work at anytime and all the rights are left in the hands of the author. This is a safe platform that allows for live feedback and to create a base of fans that will present your query requests in a better light.
Personally, I will be releasing chapters of my novel on Thursdays, because this fits best in my life schedule. It is best to keep routine so your followers will expect a new chapter on your determined day. If you fall under a circumstance where you are unable to post for the week, simply create a temporary chapter updating your followers when they can expect the next chapter. Not only does this create a more humanistic approach for your online presence, but it creates trust between you and your readers.
Wattpad does host a large platform, so reaching a large target base in the beginning is difficult. However, perseverance is a skill that will boost you from a small reading base into a larger reading base.
First and foremost, a blog is the best base of operations. Whether that be a WordPress platform or a Tumblr page, it is important to have a base website that can reach your target audience. From this website, you can keep readers updated on your process and you can even lead them to your other interests/hobbies. This way, you can engage with your visitors and monitor what they are looking for from your writing. Also, if you host advertisements, you are able to create a source of profit from site engagement.
When it comes to social media presence, the rule of thumb is to be active on two platforms. The best platforms for target audience engagement at no cost is as follows: Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and Tumblr. I do not include Facebook because most of their advertisement is paid or requires a high usage of digital advertising knowledge. I, personally, use TikTok and Tumblr most because I am able to automatically update my Tumblr after posting and TikTok is so simple to create a short clip based on trending sounds. By using two social media platforms, you are able to reach a larger audience and make viewers pause to check out your content.
When you are setting up these platforms, make sure you have a visible link to your publications. If someone is clicking on your account after seeing a post for your novel, they want to read more. Make sure that there is a permanent link in your bio or on the side column of your website. You are also able to monitor these clicks with your website statistics, which allows you to see how many people are searching for your novel outside of the Wattpad app alone.
Proofread and Edit
Read through your novel. Please. It takes a lot of time to write even a single chapter and there is nothing worse than seeing a high bounce rate because you didn’t go back over your work. Take those extra few beats to read back over your work and make sure it is ready to post. There are also apps, such as Grammarly, that make proofreading easy. I would suggest writing on a Word document or Google Docs before pasting to Wattpad because this automatically detects majority of mistakes made in your rough draft.
Also, make sure that your story still makes sense from the last chapter. The mind of an author is never-ending and while you might think you concluded your last chapter with a specific scene, that might actually be false. Make sure to read the end of your last chapter to refresh your mind before posting your next scene. Do not leave your readers asking for more context, but rather asking for the next chapter.
If you have a solid novel that has been reviewed by a professional or a wide audience, perhaps you want to skip straight to self-publishing. This road is difficult and there is a high chance for “burnout,” but it is defiantly an option. You still will have to advertise for your novel and create a buzz before you publish. Also, you can use Reedsy Discovery in order to ask for reviews pre-publication.
Now, you can easily publish with a variety of platforms. Kindle is a great, simple platform that skips several steps of connection marketing. If you want that process to feel more hands-on, then I would suggest using Blurb. Blurb allows you to edit your novel on their editing platform before obtaining an ISBN and then connecting with online platforms for sales. All these platforms will take a small cut out of your sales, but it is in your hands to advertise your own novel.
Now is as good time as any to finally go for your dreams. Authors were all dreamers at one point who decided to finally take that leap.
Also, if you are unsure of releasing your novel on Wattpad because you think it would hurt your literary agent request, I am here to tell you not to worry. Due to the various platforms that have come out in the past decade or so, the publication market is changing. A fine example of this would be the famous Instagram poet, Rupi Kaur. At first, no publishing company signed onto Rupi Kaur, so she self-published her first poetry collection, Milk and Honey. The collection became such a hit that a publishing company signed on to her self-published collection, making it one of the highest selling modern poetry collections. Now, Kaur continues to post her poems to her Instagram which are then featured in her published collections. This cycle creates talk about her work, which then promotes her followers to buy her poetry collections.
I wish you the best and I hope to see you on Wattpad. If you want more advice or have further questions, please reach out to me on the Contact Me page of this website.