Sunday, 20 April 2014

RE: What is Wattpad – and should you use it?

Two years ago I wrote this post and basically encouraged anyone and everyone to try Wattpad. I talked about how it was a great tool and there were some fantastic unpublished works floating around on the site that were worth reading.

But now I’m back with a small health warning.

Naturally, a free site like Wattpad tempts teenagers – or more accurately: teenage girls – to sign up and post work. For the year that I was a member of the site I came across a lot of beautifully written stories, and a lot more not-so-beautifully written pieces. I uploaded some of my own work and received amazing, positive feedback and constructive criticism.

However, I witnessed the mechanics of the site change.
The community which had seemed so helpful and willing before was soon overrun with selfish, ignorant members with the aim to gain popularity and nothing else. This is something that happens on many, if not all, sites of this nature to some extent.

Unfortunately, due to its demographics, Wattpad suffers badly from this problem. Everyone is out to scam everyone. The entire system had relied on users being honest and fulfilling ‘read-for-read’ deals. But then the focus shifted to 'comment-for-comment' and similar deals that encouraged people to skim over stories and write a few words in the comments - making it seem like they’d actually read it all. No matter how hard you tried, what deals you offered or how relentless you were at watching forums for good opportunities you couldn’t avoid these people. Promotion became useless because it rarely cultivated good feeback or genuine interest.

I am not saying you should avoid Wattpad like the plague but you should definitely be prepared if you decide to try the site (it can lead to a lot of frustration). Other sites with a more mature audience have a higher percentage of genuine readers and writers, who will leave extremely valuable feedback on your work. One that I had very little problems with was Authonomy, which is monitored and maintained by HarperCollins.

If you do reach a fork in the road and decide to trek through the forest to explore sites like this make sure you pick one suitable to your needs.

Have you had any negative experiences on similar sites? Did you find this insightful? Leave a comment!


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