• Sondi Warner

Wattpad Contest Season Crash Course: Yes, There is Life After the Watty’s

This year, the rules for the Watty’s have changed, and only completed manuscripts of 50,000 words or more can enter. As hard as it is to write a book, why should your dreams for your story end once Wattpad Contest Season is over? Your journey is just beginning! So, let’s talk about what you’ll need to do if you want to find an agent or indie-publish.

First of all, you know #Wattys2020 requires all book entries to remain exclusive to the Wattpad platform for six months after the contest closes. (And, for winners, this exclusivity clause extends. Take a look at the rule book.) While your lovely work is on the shelf, gaining visibility and growing a readership worldwide, what should you be doing?

Give your manuscript another polish edit. I know, I know. You’ve done it a hundred times already. Yet, unless you can afford a professional editor, you want to be absolutely certain the grammar, spelling, and punctuation are top-notch. Lots can slip under the radar, even after a hundred double-checks. This 21-part editing checklist by Jerry Jenkins has been a godsend for me.

You should also (begin now if you haven’t) and continue building your author platform. An author platform consists of your official YouTube channel, blog, and/or social media presence. The purpose of it is to provide a direct connection between you and your readers.

There is no consensus on whether or not an author platform is 100% necessary. However, many publishers do monitor your social impact, much like checking your resume. An engaged following—even if it’s on the smaller side—helps to show you have a ready and willing audience.

Once your six-month waiting period is complete, here are a few tips and resources to get you started…

· Looking for an agent – You’ll need to query. This involves submitting letters and part of your completed manuscript to agents who can represent your work to publishers. Imagine the number of authors querying like you! You want to put your best foot forward. I recommend you read Author Jane Friedman’s thorough breakdown of the process in The Complete Guide to Query Letters.

· Indie-publishing – It’s a click away. Online bookstores like Amazon put dreams of publishing within reach, but successfully earning an income from your indie-published book might just require twice the work of traditionally published authors. The cost of book covers, editing, and advertising will will fall squarely on you. Connect with other indie authors on Twitter or Facebook to get a clear picture of what the job entails. And here’s a step-by-step guide by Self-PublishingSchool.com. (Learn everything from how to create a Kindle account to how to form a launch team to help your book reach success.)

Now, I have some good news and some bad news. You definitely can get published! But whether you score a traditional publishing deal or go the indie-publishing route, all that practice promoting your books on Wattpad will come in handy. Because, unfortunately, self-promotion is a must. It’s okay if you’re not a marketing guru. I discuss the basics of promoting in last week’s Wattpad Contest Season Crash Course lesson. Feel free to refer back to it for a refresher.

Stuck on your first book? Although writers should promote, sometimes the best way to sell more books is to have a catalog of titles under your belt. This will increase your visibility and credibility as an author, and you will generate more income from a steady publishing schedule. So, before you decide to stop at promoting your one great book for the next twelve months, remember most books have a “90-Day Cliff.” That means you have about 90 days before your sales begin to taper off, no matter how much energy you pour into it.

Here’s a tip: This one’s simple. Do what you do best. Write another book.

What are your plans after Wattpad Contest Season is over? I want to hear from you. Drop your comments below and be sure to like and share this post if you’ve found the information helpful.

© 2020 by LESSERKNOWN1