Since deciding to take the indie path, I’ve become more serious and business-minded. This is good. I’ve had my work thoroughly beta read, hired an editor, got my EIN sorted (FINALLY), talked publishing with other writers, and even written a business plan.
(Side note: I like writing lists of things as they make me feel productive. Hehe!)
So, after getting sucked into reading on Wattpad, I began to think more about free stuff. Giving your story away for free – that’s undervaluing your work, right?
Probably, yes. So why bother?
In one word: readership.
Well, I asked Michael Litzky about this, as he releases stories on his website chapter-by-chapter. He talked about discoverability, and building readership, building a body of work, and being in it for the long haul. Michael also suggested reading Discoverability and Donald Rumsfeld, a post by Hugh Howey, which I found insightful.
When I sat down to write my business plan, it really made me analyse my goals as a writer. I am in this for the long haul. I am not trying to be an overnight success, nor do I want to be a one-hit-wonder. I want to write funny, imaginative, and insightful stories for the young and young-at-heart.
Assuming my book is good (which it isn’t yet, but thanks to my beta readers it will be!) the first step in this whole process is building a readership. In order to do this I need to make my book discoverable, analyse marketing ideas / take risks, develop a body of works (Howey suggests a dozen) and above all – be patient!
I see Wattpad – and the (somewhat diminishing) power of free stuff – as a great tool for this. Wattpad has oodles of readers and writers, mostly in the teen – youngish adult age group. My target audience is 8+, and the fantasy genre does well on Wattpad. I’m using Wattpad as an opportunity to build readership, even though it means less income now, it should translate to more income later – fingers crossed!
The plan is to release my stories chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad, and once they’re complete, release them as an eBook as well. I will do this for my first few books, and later pick some books to release in this way, with the others straight to eBook format. (Plug: I’ve started doing this with my standalone novella, Finding Anna, which you can read here).
Bottom line: I wouldn’t say it’s the right path for everyone, but it’s feels like a good fit for me. I’ve got a long road ahead in my writing career, and slow and steady works best for me (even though I contradict myself sometimes and jump in the deep end lol). For the first year or two, my primary goal is to build readership, and to begin earning money from my writing.
I’ll revisit this topic after I’ve had some more experience with Wattpad and let you know how my thoughts have developed.