Why Wattpad Users Shouldn’t Stress Out About Growing Their Follower Count
A lot of publishing advice focusses on authors growing their social media followings. That top line number of followers is a status symbol that indicates you are to be taken seriously. It can also generate monetisation opportunities. Follower count is important, but it shows width of reach, not depth. That distinction is important, especially on Wattpad.
The way to reach the most people on Wattpad is to focus on consistently putting out content: write books and update them.
Many users following on social media are just looking for a follow-back, and mass following is a popular growth hack. This means the top line number can be misleading. Things on Wattpad are even more complicated, because readers can privately add books to their libraries and receive notifications when they are updated. They can follow your books and, by extension, you. What does this mean?
Every Wattpad writer has invisible followers.
It’s possible that more people will add your books to their libraries than will follow you, and figuring out how to communicate effectively with these readers is imperative. People who add your books to their public reading lists or comment and vote on your stories will be recommended your other work, and you should interact with them as much as possible too.
The way to reach the most people on Wattpad is to focus on consistently putting out content: write books and update them. A critical mistake many self-publishers make is tossing out a free book (usually the magnet for their email list) with buy links and requests to join their email lists in their bio. They pick up readers and followers, but never leverage them properly. Wattpad is a social media site. There’s a reason the word social comes first. Interaction on the site is key. (I’ll write more about this in future articles.)
If you have followers on Wattpad and readers who’ve added your books to their libraries, you effectively have an email list.
Posting to your followers on your Wattpad profile is like a hybrid social media/email marketing play (users have to opt out of email notifications). This is an incredibly powerful communication tool, but the users’ attention is in the stories. Use calls-to-action in the stories themselves. Hit readers where they’re actually looking when you make an ask. In addition, if a user has your book in their library, they’ll still get a push notification in the app when you update and an email notification if they haven’t opted out. If you have followers on Wattpad and readers who’ve added your books to their libraries, you effectively have an email list. It’s not the same as owning the list, but if you’re posting consistently, with each new chapter, you’ll provide the value the reader wants (a story update) before the call-to-action — and you’ll be more likely to build goodwill. After you gain readers’ trust, you can begin to siphon them off to your newsletter if you desire.
Calls to action in a Wattpad book are how I’m building my Snapchat following from scratch. (I’ll write about this in another article.) Because it still skews young, Wattpad won’t convert many sales right now, but that will change as the site ages up. Having a strong foothold will be incredibly important in the near future.
If you focus on the work below the surface, your top line follower count will grow. Don’t be discouraged by a low follower count. We all have to start somewhere, and shortcuts don’t help. All those people with Twitter followers in the tens of thousands who can’t gin up more than a handful of retweets or likes on their tweets aren’t fooling any sensible decision-makers — they don’t have a real following. If, like me, you’re not writing in a genre that will put up big numbers, it’s even more important to do the stuff that pays off but isn’t immediately obvious.
This article is part of an ongoing series about Wattpad. You can find the list of other pieces here.