There are hundreds of free online writing communities but none are as fast growing as Wattpad.
As a writer, being apart of an online writing community is genius, expecially on Wattpad.The registration is free and it takes mere minutes for a writer to create a profile, which is a huge bonus, and they can start uploading their stories, fan-fictions and / or poetry. Practial, right? A writer can upload their stories chapter by chapter where readers can vote and comment on. Often, through the comments, a writer can receive feedback from their readers which may or may not be helpful ( depending on the feedback, of course ). Wattpad is a great place for writers to interact with other writers and readers. And another huge bonus? Wattpad writers are able to enjoy some of the many opportunities Wattpad has to offer ( and there are quite a few. Awesome sauce).
As a reader, being able to pick from millions of stories from just as many writers is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Wattpad is a fabulous platform where a reader can dive head first into any story and explore different genres for free.
It´s an overall win/win for everyone, at first glance. Wattpad is like Christmas on Easter. Everything is idiot-proof. As a writer, you can become super successful and enjoy all the perks Wattpad has to offer and as a reader all you have to do is vote and comment on a story you enjoyed. Include all the cool and fancy fun stuff and you´re at a writer´s fun-park where everyone is happy. Voila!
But what happens when you take a closer look at Wattpad and the writers who publish their stories?
Now- Personally, I love Wattpad. Not because of the neat knick-knacks and fun stuff the platform offers. I love it because it feels like I´m a child in Bookland. I enjoy watching stories grow with each uploaded chapter and I like how easy it is to build connections there.
It´s incredible to see so many talented people in one spot.
From cover designers to writers ( and so many more )… Wattpad is a hot spot no one should miss out on. BUT……. ( there´s always a but…..*giggle* )
As an avid reader myself I´ve read my fair share of Wattpad stories- many great and fully worth recommending. I´m even surprised that a few of those stories haven´t been picked up by a publishing house yet.
But then again- I´ve been down the „What the heck did I just read?“ road, too. I´ve even been on the „You must be kidding me.“ lane, where I´ve seen the unthinkable happen. It´s sad to say that not everything on Wattpad is golden.
From what I´ve noticed- Wattpad is more geared towards fantasy, science fiction and YA. Of course, there are plently of other genre´s, such as: romance, historical, horror, self-help, etc, to satisfy a reader´s appitite. Wattpad welcomes all, including fan-fiction. Yes. The F genre.
The problem with a platform that allows everything to happen is- everything happens.
With over 40 million members, Wattpad is a place for all kinds of writers. People who take writing seriously, people who see writing as a hobby, people who just want to scribble down ideas and unfortunately- Wattpad is also misused by writers. I´ve even seen NYT Bestselling authors on Wattpad!
One thing really stands out on Wattpad. You can´t get around without being confronted with a fan-fiction. It happens. No use in trying to prevent it. You´ll definitely see an image from Harry Styles ( The kid from 1D ) or a cover with the actor Jamie Dornan on it. And when you see one, you´ll see more. That´s the downside of Wattpad. It´s over flooded with fan-fiction. That´s not to say that fan-fiction is terrible. Personally- I don´t like that genre but some stories aren´t too shabby. A few fan-fics on Wattpad are actually brilliant. Sadly, not the majority, though. Many on Wattpad are down-right tasteless, tacky, poorly written and so over the top weird you can´t help but categorise all fan-fics as terrible.
Same goes for paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi stories. Wattpad writers have outstanding imaginations when it comes to preternatural and supernatural… it´s mindblowing. If you´re lucky, you can stumble upon a brilliant story that will most likely tear your heart into pieces and leave you with a nasty book hangover.
If luck isn´t on your side you can be stuck with a night full of shifters, skinwalkers ( Yes, apparently- that´s a thing ), toothless, alpha vampires which will definitely make you think about the writers sanity.
Each genre has it´s perks and downfalls in the Wattpad world. But, all the genre´s share one issue: Typos and misspellings ( not all stories, of course, but more than enough).
I believe in the good of everything. I over see lots of stuff all the time because I understand how busy or stressful life can get. But when I start a story on Wattpad and the first lines in the authors note are:
„This is not edited. You´ll find misspellings and typos. I´m sorry. I don´t want to waste my time with editing this.“
„ If you want to read the typo/misspelling-free version you can purchase this book on Amazon.com.“
That´s slightly rude, in my opinion. I´ve read books with over 100 misspellings and it´s annoying beyond means. If you upload something and expect anyone to enjoy reading then surely it´s not too much to ask for less than 20 typos? That can be done, right?
Let´s not forget to mention the sly Wattpad writers who already have their books up for sale on Amazon but still keep 3 chapters from the same book on their Wattpad page…as a teaser. I´m pretty sure that goes against the Wattpad policy. Yet each night, I come across at least 1 writer who does that. Teasing a reader with 3-5 chapters and hope they´ll buy the book on Amazon. These people think they´re clever but forget that Wattpad readers read on Wattpad for a reason. Namely- because of the free stories.
One could believe the fantastic Wattpad is corrupt. I certainly believe it´s corrupt sometimes. The contests many writers run are great but the Watty Awards that run on Twitter are full of horse s**t and alot of writers are so full of themselves. How can I not think that Wattpad is a place filled with evil minded, shameless people? Have I forgotten the trillion horny teenagers with the Dornan fantasies? ( I can write a book about those people…. )
This doesn´t really put Wattpad in a good light. It´s rather sad. All I´ve mentioned above is rather harmful for the great writing community. But do not fear. Not all hope is lost. Wattpad isn´t filled with all evil. If you take your time, you can find the gems hidden in the sea of stories. You just have to look hard and stick to what the great writers recommend… or ask me and I´ll gladly point out the writers that are out of this world brilliant * wink *.
If I were to rate Wattpad as I would the books I read then I´d definitely give it 4 out of 5 stars. Why? Well, as I´ve said- Wattpad is a great community where readers and writers can mingle and have a great time with stories. Ignore the rude writers, ignore the fanfics, ignore the Watty´s Awards and avoid being sucked into the many events and you should be all set to have a great time. If a reader sticks to the basics ( vote and comment & interaction ) then Wattpad is THE place to be.
I´m giving Wattpad 4 out of 5 stars.