Let’s Go Back To 2015.
I’m a high school sophomore, wearing a combination of purple and black, and just received an upgrade. Though it was my mom’s old iPhone 4s, it was better than an Android. (No offense to all Android users out there.) I finally downloaded this bright, orange app my best friend keep telling me about. They wrote stories, but I was too scared too.
(Look, I’m afraid of a lot of things, but that’s another blog post for another day.)
It took me about three months to actually publish anything on the app. I was petrified. I posted the first draft—or what I thought was a draft—on November 8, 2014. That’s probably not the exact date, but that’s the date I came up with.
Fast forward to my second semester of college, I gained over 1 million reads combined for all my stories (5-6 altogether), became a featured Wattpad author, and accomplished all my goals I set forth as a pretentious 15-year-old girl.
But several months after having such a high, I quit Wattpad. I finished a scattered, first draft mid-August and tried to salvage an old story idea that couldn’t be saved no matter what during NaNoWriMo. Then a month later, slowly all my work disappeared one by one.
Guess who did that?
Yes, I know that I had accomplished so much on Wattpad. I truly am grateful for the years I spent on Wattpad. It taught me so many valuable skills, such as graphic design, marketing, consistency, online writing, personal branding, networking, and of course, writing. Forever grateful.
But I had been on Wattpad since 2015. The website went through many changes and so did I. I grew out of the website and no break could regruivate my energy to write.
I was stagnant.
While writing in high school, I only read stories on Wattpad.
Tragic. But my writing skills were fitting the style of more popular Wattpad author. Might I also add that I wasn’t a Wattpad Star or in the Wattpad Futures program. I was a regular author, who wrote the first drafts of my original stories, with plans to publish traditionally, and did not follow any of Wattpad trends, such as ‘bad boys’ or ‘Harry Styles Fanfiction.’ Instead, my stories did not follow a simple popular cliche.
I felt like an outsider on Wattpad.
Because I didn’t write what was trending on the website, so in order to gain any attention, I had to submit. Original ideas are difficult to find on Wattpad. Wattpad is known for their fanfiction and bizarre stories, so any original, decent story is going to be in the pile beneath them.
It was hard to gain any readers from writing original content, especially with the later updates. I left only about a couple of months ago. My story when from gaining about anywhere from 250-500 readers daily on my biggest story (at the time gained 400k reads) to about 50 or less a day. My other stories still did not have that many readers.
In April-May 2018, I was a featured author on Wattpad, which shot my books up on the rankings. That was the only reason I gained some more readers, even then, my account became a plague of rude, demanding comments. I was block or “mute” several people a day. Wattpad drained me a lot and I needed to step back while I managed school—my freshman year of college.
For every pro, there is a con.
Again, I was not a huge author, so I did not get much attention after that. I knew that. To make things more difficult, Wattpad changed their algorithm, which fought against me, a few times right after. The new ranking system excluded genres of books and uses hashtags to rank the stories. On one of my rants, I said that something similar to “When I walk into Barnes and Nobles, I do not search for ‘bad boys’ instead, ‘Young Adult’ or Fantasy.”
However, later on, that year, I managed to place on the Watty’s Longlist, an accomplishment that my sixteen-year-old self yearned for. Amazing. I finally achieved everything I wanted. Then, I lost readers. I continued posting new stories for a while, but with school, I couldn’t update weekly like I used to do in high school; I tried. However, I finished another short story, another first draft, and 10 short chapters of a new story.
So at the beginning of the year, I took it all down. I had no more passion to continue to write on Wattpad.
Writing on Wattpad really is another style. It’s hard to explain, but it isn’t even similar to writing a manuscript. Readers on Wattpad more than likely use their phone to read stories, so you can’t dive into deep details or complex prose. Most of my chapters did not have a beginning, middle and end. My main goal was to churn out 2,000 words, have decent grammar, and create a push in the plot line.
I wasn’t growing as an author. Many people who have followed me for years, commented on how much I’ve grown, but still I wasn’t ready to query.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2018 I realized I had to buckle up. I stripped back all my plot lines and story ideas to mere outlines. I jotted down every idea I had (a total of 28 aside of my concept album ideas). Then, I learned about the publishing industry. I spoke to literary agents and authors, contacted anyone who had the job I wanted, learned from them.
My ultimate goal in life is to become a traditionally published author.
I realized that I had to make the sacrifice of taking my works down. So, I waited until the winter, in December, to take them down. I owned the rights of every single one of those stories. I spent hours crafting them and I had every single right to them.
My books are my children. My guitar is too. I will do everything to protect my stories and also push them to the spotlight they deserve.
If you want to check out my current WIPs that I’m working on, this is where all my pages are.