Posting Stories: Make Your Writing Public

November 22, 2011

Last month I went to a Wattpad MeetUp in San Francisco.  Wattpad is basically a website for Young Adults and their stories.  It was started out of someone’s garage in Ontario, Canada, but the response has been fabulous.  Today, Wattpad has grown to over 1 million registered users with approximately 2 million stories to offer.   A Wattpad MeetUp is a social event for all Wattpadders, family, and friends to get together in person. 

I had no idea what to expect.  When the meeting was announced, comments came in from Africa and England begging the organizers to come to their neck of the world.  So I was intrigued, but also a little shy.  Would I fit in?   Would it all be young adults? 

The event was smaller than expected and a round table format.  The majority of the participants were teens and the parents that drove them to the event.  Nina led the event and was warm and gracious.  We had a good discussion and I enjoyed the event.  Nina indicated that Wattpad was interested in attracting professional writers and I even received a follow-up email for her, encouraging me to post my work on-line.

I have always been hesitant to post excerpts from my novel on Wattpad or any public form before it is published.  My logic is three-fold.  Why send out teasers and potentially spike reader’s interest in the book when I can’t deliver an option for my readers to finish the story?   On Wattpad, writers often publish the whole book over time.  However, this to me seems counterintuitive.  If you give your readers the whole story, why would they buy the book when it goes to press?   Lastly, and maybe most importantly, novel writing is organic.  What may seem like a critical component of the story during the development of the novel may end up in the circular file before the novel is completed.  

When I explained my hesitation to post on Wattpad, Nina indicated that agents have been known to troll posts on their website looking for new talent and for popular stories that have gotten a lot of hits.  She also said that writer’s often get valuable feedback on their work.  So there could be perks to making your work public.   While the idea of writing just for social media does hold some appeal, for now, I’ve decided to keep my novel nestled inside my computer and get input on my work from my critique group.  But, I am interested in hearing your viewpoint on this issue.

Have you ever posted your work on a social media website?  If so, have you shared excerpts or published the whole novel?  Was your work already published or did you use your posts to create interest before you had an agent/publisher?


Why a blog?

June 10, 2009

A couple of months ago, author Stephanie Chandler addressed our local California Writers Club on the topic of social networking. Since then it seems that the writing community has been abuzz (atwitter?) with presentations on this subject. Everywhere I turn, folks are talking about how published and aspiring authors need to have an online presence. Facebook pages, websites, blogs, and Twitter are the new essentials we’re told.

For the published author, websites, blogs, and such are needed to publicize their books and create rapport with readers. It’s part and parcel of marketing in this digital age. Non-fiction writers are expected to demonstrate that they have a platform and an audience for their books, before their manuscripts are even considered. All this I understand.

What about the yet unpublished fiction writer? What benefit does an online presence have for him or her? I admit to some skepticism. I’ve spent time on online forums and journals. Yes, I’ve found valuable information and tips. Yes, I’ve made contacts and friends. But I also know what a time sink these can become. As an aspiring author, isn’t my time better spend with “butt in chair” typing out my next novel?

We’ve decided to take the plunge with a group blog. Several of us have polished manuscripts and are actively pursuing publication. We hope to be on the published side of the equation soon, when all of this will be necessary. A shared blog will (hopefully) allow us to provide frequent updates and fresh content by dividing the burden among several authors. It’s a chance to get our feet wet with the support of friends.

What do you think?