Episode # 83 – Leveraging Wattpad to Build a Following and Bolster Sales with Linda Poitevin

In Uncategorized by Angela McConnell50 Comments

lindacovernewLinda Poitevin is a hybrid author who writes both supernatural and romance fiction. Ten months after she self-published her romance novel, she decided to also share it for free on Wattpad…and subsequently racked up 4 million views and 18.1K followers! In this episode, I talk to Linda about the advantages of sharing your work on Wattpad, and how to best leverage Wattpad in order to increase book sales and readership.


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Links:

Gwynneth Ever AfterΒ  on Amazon

Linda Poitevin’s Amazon Profile Page

Linda Poitevin – Kick-Ass Supernatural and Romantic FictionΒ (author website)

Linda Poitevin on Wattpad

Timely KBoards thread on Wattpad (not mentioned in the interview, but worth checking out!)

Angela McConnell’s blog Angela created the excellent show notes for this episode (except thatΒ part, Simon wrote that they were excellent πŸ˜‰ ).

Mentions:

Wattpad

The Great Wattpad Marketing Experiment

Update on the Great Wattpad Experiment

The Great Wattpad Marketing Experiment: Show Me the Numbers

The Great Wattpad Marketing Experiment: Updated Numbers

Social Media Articles

Show notes:

Traditional to Hybrid to Free

Linda Poitevin’s first book of romantic fiction was published by a small press in 2009, under the title “Fairy Tale for Gwynn.” She says the book ultimately didn’t do very well, and she later requested her rights back, which the publisher freely granted. In the meantime, she sold her supernatural thriller/dark urban fantasy series “The Grigori Legacy” — think “hot warrior angels” — to Ace Rock, which published the first three books of the series; “Sins of the Angels,” (9/27/11), “Sins of the Son,” (3/27/12), and “Sins of the Lost,” (10/15/13).

Having secured the rights back to her first book, Linda decided to self-publish it under a new title, “Gwynneth Ever After,” (6/18/13). Then in April of 2014, she decided to release the book serially, one chapter a week, on Wattpad, and blogged about her experience on her website. Over the course of nine weeks, she sold as many copies of her book on Amazon as she did in the previous 10 months. Further, she garnered 8,000 votes and 700 comments on Wattpad. Since then, her fiction on Wattpad has seen over 4 million views, and she now has over 18,000 followers on the platform.

Linda is currently working and sharing her latest work in progress, “Forever Grace,” and has plans to eventually write a fourth installment in “The Grigori Legacy.” She emphasizes that Wattpad is a social media platform, and that if an author wants to make a living writing books in this day and age, then social media of one platform or another is an essential component of building your business.

Wattpad

Wattpad is a popular social media platform designed to connect readers and writers. It allows writers to post their work for free, and it allows readers to comment, vote, offer feedback, and follow their favorite authors. The primary benefit that Wattpad has to offer, according to Linda, is the ability to attract more readers, provide a free read (a way to give back to your readers), and promote sales. She finds that a lot of her sales come from Wattpad readers who either don’t want to wait until the next installment in the book, or readers who simply love the story and wish to own their own copies. Wattpad has an easy-to-use interface that makes it simple to respond to and interact with readers.

Social Media

Linda regularly leverages her Twitter and Facebook followings to build her brand both on Wattpad, as well as her own website. In fact, she stresses that everything an author does must point back to their main website. And while social media is important, authors should be smart about how they spend their efforts. To this respect, Linda has writtenΒ several savvy articles on social media for writers.

Blogging

Linda believes that blogging is still a viable and useful means for building an author platform. For fiction writers, she recommends they blog about the things that interest them. People like to follow interesting people, so be interesting! Blogging should be fun and easy; avoid making it a job. Blogging two to three times a week is plenty; even just once a week can keep an author’s website looking fresh. Avoid letting things get stale with infrequent postings.

ACTION STEPS:

  • When you join Wattpad, DO respond to their Welcome email. Let them know who you are and what you’re doing. When Linda shared with Wattpad her blog series on her “Great Wattpad Experiment,” they responded by placing her book on the Featured Reads page, which increased her exposure greatly. So reach out and introduce yourself.
  • DO respond to your readers’ comments and suggestions. Not only is it polite, but it makes your readers happy. Linda says she spends approximately one-half hour on the weekend catching up with Wattpad comments; time well spent.
  • DO make sure your content is of high-quality, even if it is in the beta stage and/or in-progress. More and more experienced authors with large followings are joining Wattpad, and so while things aren’t necessarily becoming more competitive, according to Linda, readers definitely have aΒ  preference for authors who share clean, mostly error-free prose.
  • Wattpad does not allow live links to Amazon, or other ebook e-tailers, so Linda recommends authors include a bi-link on their Wattpad profile that takes readers to a page on their personal website that includes links to all e-tailers where readers can easily find their books for purchase.
  • The best day for posting on Wattpad, based on participant usage, seems to be on Fridays.
  • Make sure you add a good look cover to your stories on Wattpad.
  • If you want to be a “Featured Read” on Wattpad you will need to have posted a complete story.
  • Do participate in social media using platforms that you enjoy. Linda prefers Twitter and Facebook herself, but recommends writers use whatever resonates with them.
  • Post blog posts on your website. This is where readers come to find you. Show them you’re alive and well! Give them a reason to keep checking back, and build that subscriber list!

Simon Asks:

Any listeners out there who already have experience with Wattpad? Please share in the comments below.

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Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Angela McConnellEpisode # 83 – Leveraging Wattpad to Build a Following and Bolster Sales with Linda Poitevin
  • Renata

    Thank you so much for this interview and many thanks to Linda Poitevin for such invaluable information. I’d heard Wattpad mentioned many times before but have never heard as in depth of an explanation as in this episode. Thanks for sharing your experience. Now, off I go to sign up with Wattpad……

    • I’m so glad you found it useful, Renata. Feel free to hit me up on my blog if you have any questions. I check regularly for comments there. Good luck with Wattpad! πŸ™‚

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks for listening Renata, I’m glad it was helpful πŸ™‚

  • Fatma Tounsi

    If the information on Wikipedia is correct, then Wattpad has raised 46 million $ last year, so let’s hope they don’t go the ad route.

    • SimonRSP

      They’ll have to make some money at some point… that $46 million isn’t a donation ;).

  • Angela McConnell

    Thank you for the excellent shout-out, Simon! Linda shared such great information, both in her interview and on her website (don’t forget to check out her links above…really great articles), that I’m now trying to figure out how to fit Wattpad into my business plan. Thank you both for the great interview! πŸ™‚

    • I’m so glad you found my information helpful, Angela. Thank you for the excellent show notes! πŸ™‚

    • SimonRSP

      Sure thing Angela! Thanks so much for the awesome show notes πŸ™‚

  • Very useful information and tips. I wondered why my two chapters both very small weren’t gaining attraction in Wattpad, now I see.
    One thing though, I didn’t receive a specific email from Wattpad when I published them. I joined in the spring but I had no stories to share there.

    • I’m not sure that Wattpad reaches out to all writers, Antara. Given the number of new people who sign on every day, that would be a formidable task, so they may be watching out for already published authors. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to reach out to them via email to let them know who you are and request a spot on one of their featured lists. While they can’t accommodate everyone, it might at least get them to review your work. Good luck!

      • Actually I am a published author, I am in KDP Select until the beginning of April and you know, I am not allowed to publish more than 10% elsewhere. You say, to contact wattpad? I’ll try that

        • I believe Wattpad requires the complete story to be posted for a minimum of 6 months in order to be considered for their featured lists, so you may want to wait until April before you reach out to them.

  • Another great show, Simon. Thanks Linda, for sharing your experience with Wattpad. The reception you had there was amazing.

    I got onto Wattpad a year ago, posting a whole novel but I abandoned it shortly after that. I had hoped to funnel readers from Wattpad onto my books but I realized that Wattpad readers don’t work that way. Instead of moving off-site to find books, they seem to stay on Wattpad and simply move on to another story. That was my experience, anyway.

    I left the book up on Wattpad but had given up on it. However, I heard Lindsay Buroker mention it on a podcast and she’s using it for the long term. Most Wattpad users are young, high school and college age, with little disposable income for books. But Lindsay’s plan was to find readers/fans there now, with the hope that they will remain fans when they’re out in the workforce and able to buy books. That made me rethink the whole thing.

    Thanks again, Simon and Linda! And now Angela too!

    • You’re most welcome, Tim. I did find that the serial format resulted in a lot of “funneling”, so perhaps that might be the better approach for you. Maybe worth a try?

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Tim! You’re welcome :). The getting readers/customers model before they are really able to buy has worked for a long time for many industries. Good to take a long term view on this sort of stuff.

  • Fortuitous timing for me. I started reading a YA novel on Wattpad on Monday. On Wednesday, I decided I was going to put my first (unpublished) novel on Wattpad. On Thursday, up pops this episode. Perfect. By next Friday, I’ll be posting chapters there. Great info, great interview!

    • Yay! I love serendipity. πŸ™‚ Best of luck with your foray into Wattpad, Erik…I’d love to hear how it works for you!

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Erik! And good luck πŸ™‚

  • DB Daglish

    I started some on Wattpad but didn’t see the point of it. I’ll try again. If Linda can equal her 10 month sales in 9 weeks that will be a good thing because I sold 1000 in six months as an unknown unknown. I’m now learning – never ignore anything until it doesn’t work for you. Since updating a few just now, I’ve had downloads within seconds. Keep this stuff Simon and I hope to be onboard in 4 months. πŸ™‚

    • SimonRSP

      Interesting, six months is also my usual cut off point. I’m happy to give it that long and if the needle hasn’t moved that’s when I start thinking about making a change :). Glad that you enjoyed the interview.

    • It’s definitely worth a shot, D.B. — just remember to post as a serial rather than putting up the entire novel in one shot. That really seems to have been the driving force behind my sales.

      • Great tip. I’ll consider this if I ever get back to posting again on Wattpad.

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  • Wow this interview was PERFECT timing for me, and I was wondering when you’d get around to interviewing someone about Wattpad! I’m very excited about it. I’m using it to get myself more recognition by young adult readers at this point. I’ve posted my permafree up there, and I’m starting a new project next week there as well that is tied into my series. Great stuff as always on this podcast!

    • SimonRSP

      Seems this interview came at a timely point for a bunch of people! Sounds like a great to use the permafree book on the platform :).

    • Glad to hear you’re already there, S.B., and I hope you found some useful information! πŸ™‚

  • I’ve just discovered this podcast and have been binge listening, but this is the podcast that convinced me to subscribe XD

    I’ve not had much luck with Wattpad (though I’m totally not a pro – never even been published, I’m more on the reviewing side), but I guess I wasn’t putting in enough effort. I may go try it again when schoolwork lightens up.

    Linda, if you’re lurking, I’d like to ask: do you think it’s better to have a copy that people can buy when you start posting chapters, or do you think it doesn’t make a difference?

    • SimonRSP

      Welcome Eustacia! Glad to have you as a subscriber. Linda has been active in the comments so I imagine she will chime in :).

    • Hi, Eustacia! If you’re looking to boost sales, I’d recommend having the digital version already available on all platforms (Kindle, Kobo, Nook & iBook). Online ebook sales tend to be impulse buys, in my experience, and it’s good to have a finished product available when those impulses kick in. πŸ˜‰

      Hope that helps!

  • DB Daglish

    Wattpad has 16 trackers on it. Use Ghostery to get rid of them. This is the most I’ve seen on nay site for along time.

  • mtr amg

    Thanks Linda and Simon! Makes sense that Wattpad readers would use ibooks.

    I am on wattpad. I first heard about it on Joanna Penns’ podcast where she interviewed the head of content, Ashleigh Gardner. She said to put a call to action at the end of your story to drive readers to other platforms, so that was what I did in my stuff. My fanfiction gets more reads than my original stuff, but at the moment, I don’t have a longer original work to serialise. I would see it as the same strategy as offering your first book perma-free to drive sales, but you are clearly reaching a very different market. If you are self publishing it also means you don’t get tarred by the ‘previously published’ brush.

    http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/01/31/wattpad/

    Lists are the only way to deal with Twitter. I use tweetdeck and it will split your feed into columns; much easier to read. But I think they have not updated it for a while. Other programs exist as the basic twitter page is not flexible enough.

    • mtr amg

      One thing I forgot to say – Wattpad has new stats – you can actually see which chapters people read, which they scan or skip, and which they give stars to. Very useful to see what parts of your story are not keeping reader’s attention.

      • Cool…I hadn’t seen that…thanks for the tip! πŸ™‚

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks for the extra info πŸ™‚

  • This was a really helpful podcast. Thanks to Linda for being so transparent with her Wattpad experiment, and to Simon for being Simon and bringing us fantastic information. My wife and I have now posted work on Wattpad. For an indie author, I don’t know that there is such a thing as overexposure. You never know who is going to see you where. So I see this as a no-lose endeavor.

    • SimonRSP

      Agreed! Risk v reward and all that. Low risk here (maybe a little time), and potentially good exposure :).

    • Glad you found my Wattpad experience helpful, Eric — and congrats on making the leap! πŸ™‚

  • I listened to this episode at just the right time!

    I have been serializing (one chapter per week, uploaded on Friday) my YA book Ruby, Between the Cracks to Wattpad for several months now, and only had two more chapters to be uploaded. Ruby is available for sale in kindle and paperback as well, and I had links for my web page with buying links embedded at the end of each chapter.

    Last week, Ruby won the In the Margins Best Books for Teens 2015 book award! While I did contact the retailer websites (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Play) to see whether any of them would include Ruby on notable or featured lists, I did not contact Wattpad to ask the same question.

    After listening to this episode on my commute home last night, I decided that I’d better contact Wattpad as well. I have few reads there, and getting it featured would be a fantastic advantage. And I’m Canadian, so naturally they would be inclined to feature me. πŸ˜‰

    I e-mailed them at 5:38 p.m. yesterday to ask if they would feature it, and at 3:08 a.m. they e-mailed me back to say that they would! Doing a happy dance! It is due to be added to the featured list in two days.

    The winners of the award are also being featured on Ingram sometime this week, so I won’t necessarily be able to tell what sales came from winning the award, which came from Wattpad, and which came from featuring on Ingram, but I am looking forward to seeing those Wattpad reads and comments ticking up!

    Thanks Simon and Linda!

    • SimonRSP

      Nice one taking the initiative to contact those platforms about your book winning an award (and congratulations btw πŸ™‚ ). I’m glad that Wattpad decided to feature you, and their support seems fantastic! Glad that this interview was helpful πŸ™‚

    • Wow…huge congratulations, PD! So glad you reached out to Wattpad (aren’t they awesome?), and I wish you many sales & much success!

      • Up on the featured list today, and I have my first comment and several hundred reads this morning. yay!

    • That’s a huge accomplishment! Congratulations on getting featured (and I’m sure being Canadian did help boost those chances. lol)

    • Craig A. Price Jr.

      Wattpad is great. I had one of the first featured novels on there. They were introducing the feature and it was only three to start and my novel The Crimson Claymore was one of them. One of the admins found it, liked it, and messaged me. This was back in 2011. I recieved a total of 2.5 million reads. (Impressive as my book was adult epic fantasy on a platform full of young readers.) It’s too bad I never knew about self publishing until mid 2015. Now I’m way behind with very limited budget trying to begin as an Indie author. I’m working on letting my wattpad following know about my publishing journey. And hoping to get a few to at least migrate over for a review if nothing else. πŸ™‚

  • I really enjoyed this podcast. I’m going to start using Wattpad again. I’m curious, since the majority of the audience are teens/middle-grade, how do you use this as a platform to increase your book sales? I know this is a great tool for building fans, but how many of those fans actually translate to book buyers?

    Also, do you eventually publish the stories you write on Wattpad and make them for sale? Or are they generally permafree books? I can see how this can be great for serials.

    When I’d first used Wattpad a couple of years ago, I put up a fantasy and a romance story. While the fantasy story had a lot of reads, the romance (which was only about a 350-word flash fiction for a contest entry) had a lot of reads as well a comments. It was mind-boggling to see that, but I’m wondering if the Romance genre is still the most prominent/successful genre on Wattpad?

    Oh, and big question: Amazon recently released a Wattpad-esque program called Write On. What is Linda’s intake on this and do you think it will gain momentum/popularity like Wattpad?

    • I don’t know how much of my Wattpad readers convert to sales, but I know that some of them do. I have had several readers contact me through direct Wattpad messages or my e-mail who have gone on to read my other fiction which is not available on Wattpad. I include a link to my website and encourage subscribing to my e-mail list (for which you get a free ebook). I often see the names of readers who have been commenting on Wattpad who sign up for my mailing list when they reach the end of the book. Again, my numbers are not huge, but anyone I can get onto my mailing list counts for several potential sales.

      • Thanks for the reply and tips on how you get new subscribers to your newsletter! I agree, every sign-up helps. Wish you well in your success.