Random thoughts and ramblings

Digital Publishing – the New Vanity Press?

It would appear that “Cosmic Shadows” is my most popular story on Wattpad! It has all of *5* engaged readers!!


That’s more readers than sales this month.
To put it another way, to get invited to join the “Wattpad Creators Programme” you have to have a minimum number of “Engaged Readers” (ERs) on at least one of your stories on your Profile.

My stories fall into the following Genres:

Science Fiction

So the minimum number of ERs for these Genres are:

Fantasy 1000
Adventure 1000
Paranormal 100
Science Fiction 100

If you’re on Wattpad and want to check how your numbers compare, go to: https://creators.wattpad.com/programs-and-opportunities/wattpad-creators-program

“Cosmic Shadows” is 95 ERs from being anywhere near that point.
But why would anyone want to be a part of the Wattpad Creators Programme?

“The Wattpad Creators Program can help to provide Creators with the opportunity to earn cash stipends while educating and supporting you on your writing journey. “

Is probably the main reason for doing it… everyone needs to eat!
But you have to meet the following criteria:

“You have created and published a new story part in the last 3 months.”

AKA – you’ve uploaded a new chapter to at least one of your stories in that time. I know people who are doing 2 stories concurrently and are uploading twice a week.

“You have at least one completed novel-length story (50,000 words or more) in your catalogue.”

So, you have written a novel and left it there to be read, not shopped it to any publishers or published in independently. Isn’t that a waste of time?

And the aforementioned minimum number of ERs!!

Why are ERs important?


“A growing number of Engaged Readers indicates that your story continues to meaningfully engage the readers who view it. To build a successful and rewarding writing career on Wattpad, you, your story, and your audience should be both active and engaging, and Engaged Readers are one reflection of that.”

Why is this irritating me to the point that I am ranting?

‘Coz – “While your Engaged Readers are constantly changing based on historical readership data from the last 365 days, your Total Reads will never decrease over time as they accumulate over time from the day you publish the first part of your story.”

So my Oldest story on the site has 424 reads, but no engagement at all – probably because I am stuck and haven’t managed to write anything new on it for ages – but my newest has 38 reads and 1 ER.

To get engagement:

“You can drive more engagement on your stories by interacting with your readers through the comments feature You can also spark conversations with and among your readers by asking questions, creating a playlist for your story to set the scene and connect with readers over music, including and celebrating fan art, introducing character sketches to bring your story to life, etc.”

So basically, I have to treat Wattpad as another social media site, create a whole load more stuff and generally make my work life even more difficult in order to make goddess knows how much money per read (the amount is not revealed) when I can just finish the story and publish it so people can buy a book and own it?

So I am asking you, what would you prefer?

A – A book that you can own and hold

B – To pay per read on a website only

C – Have 15 chapters / parts on the site to read and then buy the book

(Please comment below with your answer – there may be a blog post in the works!)

Because I am only one person and if I am going to have put all that extra work into a story (beyond the actual words and research, editing etc) and spend half my time on the site socialising with the readers, then I am going to have to get rid of the rest of my social media and concentrate on Wattpad.

Writing is my passion, it’s my life. It’s not just a hobby or a job. I need an income to exist, but I need Writing to be able to live.

Tell me does it feel like this so-called “Creators Programme” is a scam? To make sure that you (and the readers) spend all your time on their site? There’s no mention of any kind of contract or any legal stuff – just spiel of the exclusive community sort.

And then there’s this…


I’ll wait while you go read…

To be honest – I don’t know what to think any more…

I know digital publishing is a growing business and everyone wants a slice of the action, but it’s beginning to feel like one huge Vanity Press.

When I started writing, you had to go the trad route to get published, then Amazon brought eBooks out… and opened up all the possibilities. I’ve seen numerous writing sites appear and disappear, I’ve seen quite a few small presses appear and disappear…

But one thing remains the same – it’s the writers who lose out.