Looking for tips on how to get reads? Here's what I've learned after four years on Wattpad, over 2.5 million reads, and a Watty win.
One of the most common questions I get is "how did you build your following on Wattpad?". The short answer is—a lot of work, persistence, and bit of luck. The longer answer is a bit more complicated, so I've broken it down into the 6 things (based on my own experience) that I think are 100% crucial for being a successful author on Wattpad.
Tip 1: Be patient. Really patient.
My readers didn't show up right away. Actually, most of them didn't show up until well after I had finished posting my book. It turns out, most Wattpad readers will wait to read a book until it's marked "Complete". I noticed an immediate boost after I marked Siren's Mark (my first book) as complete, but even then it didn't really take off. It took a while to grow a natural following after that. It's easy to give up when you see that you aren't getting immediate reads, but if you take any of my advice, I hope it's this: Don't stop writing because you aren't getting reads. Sure there are rare exceptions where a writer gets reads right away on their first book, but most of the successful authors you see started with zero reads and just kept on writing. Give your book time to find its audience and wait until it's finished to even start thinking about getting readers.
Tip 2: Post at least once a week.
It's easy to think "If I don't have readers, who cares when I post?", but you still have to post consistently. Even if nobody is reading your book, readers may have your book in their library awaiting updates and Wattpad's algorithm tends rewards authors who post frequently and at regular intervals. If you're reliable when no one is watching, readers and the algorithm will notice.
Tip 3: Be an active reader.
One of the most effective things I've done from the start is also the simplest—I'm a big-time reader on Wattpad. I have always tried to put out the kind of positive reader energy I want to receive. I read other books in my genre, comment on them, engage with other readers, and reach out to other writers when I love their work. Most of my earliest readers came from people who chatted with me or found my comments on other books funny. I never promoted my books directly or asked for reads, I just had genuine interactions and somehow people found me. Put good energy out there and it will come back to you.
Tip 4: Take the description and cover seriously.
I get it—the description of your book is arguably the hardest thing to write. It's surprisingly difficult to distill an entire book into a couple paragraphs. That's probably why a lot of writers skip it entirely, use an excerpt instead, or just say something like "I'm not good at descriptions but just read it. It's good, I promise!" But readers pay attention to that description and if you don't give it enough effort, you'll lose them before they even read the first chapter. Same goes for covers; that first impression matters! Make sure your cover and description are really strong.
Tip 5: Fill out your tags.
Wattpad gives you an option to add 25 tags to your book, and I recommend using all of them. Choose tags that are meaningful and are neither too vague or too specific. Good tags are 1-2 words with no spaces and should be the kinds of things that people might type into search. For example, someone might look for books on "magic" or "witch", but they're probably not searching for "magicuser". And make sure to check your spelling—a misspelled tag is just a waste of your tag space.
Tip 6: Use your Stats page.
On Wattpad, every book has a Story Statistics page. (Here's a link explaining how to find them: https://support.wattpad.com/hc/en-us/articles/206018496-Understanding-Story-Statistics). There, you can find data on which parts have the most completed reads, what ages your readers are, and what days your reads spike. All of these are open to interpretation, but they give you more information to help you make better decisions about what content is working and what isn't.
I'm a Wattpad Star, official Wattpad Creator, and Wattpad Paid author with over 2.5 million reads on the platform. I won a Watty for my book, Siren's Fall, in 2022.