Well,… not much actually. I put my short story “The Man Who Could Not Forget” on there last night and by morning it had been downloaded 10 times, which isn’t bad at all*. Looking at the download figures for some of the fiction on here I’m very impressed -well over the million mark. But that has to be a mistake, surely! I’d thought “the Man Who” was doing well on Feedbooks at about 85,000, after three years, but I’m feeling like an amateur now.
One thing I’ve noticed reading through the material on Wattpad is that there’s a lot of stuff written, I’m guessing, by young teens – a lot of young romance stuff, vampire stuff, and fan-fiction, set in scenarios familiar to young teens – i.e. school or college. I don’t think this is a deliberate policy of Wattpad’s – it’s just that this particular demographic finds the service attractive, has moved in on it and is making good use of it.
However, if you’re an older writer like me, you tend to be writing for older people and I’m not sure you’re going to be finding many of them hanging around on Wattpad. I don’t mean this in bad way – I’m both heartened and surprised to discover so many youngsters writing creatively. I’m just hesitant to endorse it as a viable market – even a non-paying one – for the older writer. It strikes me that your biggest audience on here is going to be on the young side, and I’m not sure if those young ‘uns will take to stories with characters who have wrinkles and stretchmarks.
We’ll see. If “The Man Who Could Not Forget” tops a million downloads this side of Christmas, I’ll gladly eat my words.
The other thing you need to be very careful of here, as a writer, is Wattpad’s age-rating system. To reach the widest audience you need a “general” age rating, and for this your story can’t contain anything you’d be nervous of sharing with your mother or your young teen daughter, which means all good clean fun and no swearing. However, if your work slips over to the naughty side now and then, you’ve got to give your story an R rating, which almost puts it on a private list.
R rate your story and you’re going to severely restrict its distribution. Having said that, I still managed to find a lot of rumpy pumpy in those teen authored stories – not that I was looking. I may have misunderstood the requirements, but I’d still be mortified if I put, say “The Lavender and the Rose” up there, only to have it deleted because it was considered obscene.
There are some rude words and bare bosoms in my story “The Man Who Talked to Machines”, I recall, so I’ll load that up, 13+ rate it, and see how it goes.
In the mean time, to all those teenagers pushing material out into the cloud with Wattpad, I say well done.
* I spoke too soon here. “The Man Who Could Not Forget” flatlined at about 12 downloads and hasn’t moved all week.