Izzy Saphira is a wildly successful Wattpad writer, having gaining 72.6K followers and 82M reads on her most popular story, ‘Laced’. Izzy has since moved to Radish Fiction, but here she shares her top tips on being successful on Wattpad:
How to Become a Successful Wattpad Author: The Recipe for Success
Ever since I was a child, my one constant passion was reading. Sure, I had passions for lots of things—art, music, and swimming—but reading was what I felt very strongly about. It gave me a sense of escape, of joining new people on new adventures, and discovering so many new places and things right from the comfort of my home. Books were magical to me, fascinating in every aspect. Each one of them had their own story to tell, and there were millions of them!
Surprisingly, writing was not something I ever did. I was only interested in reading. However, all of that changed when I became a fan of One Direction in 2011. I discovered Wattpad in 2012, and suddenly, there was a whole new fascinating genre of stories I had never known of—fanfiction! And not only that—these stories were all being put to life as I read! They were dynamic, changing, and I could watch authors arrange words together and bring about a story that was thrilling, adventurous, heart-wrenching, and mind-blowing all at the same time. Needless to say, I was intrigued, and a tiny little idea took root and sprouted in my mind—what if I could write my own stories too?
It’s now been over four years since I began to write, and it’s been such an amazing experience. I’ve grown as a writer and as a person, and I have Wattpad and One Direction to thank for that. I’ve made so many new friends along the way, connecting with other writers like myself, and fans in general. It’s been exhilarating and wonderful, and I would advise anyone who wants to write to just do it. Much like a recipe, I’ve come to realize that writing a successful story on Wattpad consists of very specific ingredients in predetermined amounts—and I’m here to give that to you.
- Come up with a successful story idea you want to write. This is probably the trickiest ingredient of them all — after all, this is what’s going to make your story a winner. So think carefully, and draw inspiration from the things in your life, in movies, books, and even songs. This doesn’t mean to straight up copy something that’s been done before, but rather, mix all of those together to create your unique story. In my experience, I started ‘Laced’ because I was looking for something very specific to read — something similar to the plot of my story. I searched and searched and searched, and I couldn’t find something like what I was looking for…so I decided to write it. And thus, ‘Laced’ was born. Similarly, the ideas for ‘Shadow’ and ‘Insatiable’ were also conceived this way. I’d get a very specific idea or image of what I wanted to read in my head, and I would search Wattpad for something to satisfy it. When I don’t find anything to meet my reading needs, I write.
- Decide whether you’re a planner or a “pantser.” Planners plan the plot of their story, and “pantsers” plot as they write, no pre-planning ahead. I’m a mixture of the two, leaning more heavily towards planning than just “pantsing” my stories. For me, I find comfort and planning out the major plot points, twists, and bits of foreshadowing that I scatter throughout each story, but then I “pants” it from there and just let the writing flow. Once you figure out what works for you, go with it. If planning tickles your pickle, plan ‘till your heart is content. Outline chapters, major plots, heck—the entire story. And if “pantsing” feels more natural to you, go with it. Remember, writing is supposed to be fun, so go with what feels right to you.
- Start writing. It’s always the hardest part to get the story started. Don’t stress yourself out too much over every single detail and perfecting the writing at first, because then you’ll never allow yourself to write.
- The thesaurus is your friend. And I mean that one friend that you don’t see very often, but you’re still in touch with, and will do you a favor every once in a while. In other words, don’t rely too heavily on the thesaurus. It can definitely help when you’re stuck on that one word that’s on the tip of your tongue, and you just can’t get it out. But stay away from overcomplicating the vocabulary of your story—it’ll deter readers away if it feels like they’re reading straight out of a dictionary, you know? My English professor my freshman year of college told us to stick to this rule of thumb when using the thesaurus: If you don’t know the word, DON’T USE IT. Certain words may be listed as synonyms, but can have vastly varying degrees of meanings and connotations. For example, facetious and acerbic are both synonyms of the word sarcastic, but they differ in their connotations. Where facetious is lighthearted, poking-fun kind of sarcasm, acerbic is more harsh, almost cruel. Remember: if you don’t actually know the word, don’t use it.
- Post regularly. When I first started ‘Laced’ (which had amassed over 85 million reads in September when I took it down) I would post twice a week. When I got a bit busier, I would post once a week. Soon, I got enough support every chapter that I could start setting vote goals. Once the readers reached that number of vote goals, I would post within 24 hours. Most of the time, it took about a week to reach the vote goal, but other times it took only a few days! Quick tip to the beginners though—hold off before setting your vote goals. Setting vote goals at the very beginning also scares readers away. I only started using vote goals when I would regularly get over 2,000+ votes a chapter!
- Make the chapters that you post a decent length. I prefer my chapters to be anywhere from 2.5-5.0k words, with chapters being shorter in the beginning of the story and getting longer as I get further along. If your chapters are too short or too long, it might make it less appealing to your readers.
- Get back to your readers ASAP. Especially the ones in the comments section. Try to reply to most of them, if not every one of them. This is crucial in the beginning when you’re trying to build a dedicated fanbase for your story. Replying to your readers makes them feel like you care, and that you’re connected to them. The less you reply, the more distant you are from your readers, and the more likely they are to flake away.
- Don’t expect it to come overnight. It took nearly a year for ‘Laced’ to hit 1 million reads, with over 40 chapters. The most important thing to remember is to not let few numbers get you down. You must keep updating regularly, and give your readers a sense that you’ll be back soon to update again. Your first hundred reads will take longer to get than your second hundred, and your first thousand will take longer to get to that your second thousand. Think of it as a the snowball effect—the longer it rolls down a snowy hill, the faster it’ll get bigger as it gains more momentum.
- Make friends along the way. Connect with other writers like yourself, and your fans. They’re what make all of this so worth it. I’ve made so many friends along my journey, all from different aspects of writing. Brenda (@brezinnia) and I became friends when she reached out to me on twitter, and began to make AMAZING song covers for some chapters of my stories. Jaz (@andallthatjaz1D) and I’s friendship began when she sent me photo edits for various characters in my books. I’ve made so many close friends—Ems, Hayley, Blake, Megan, and the list goes on—all because of writing. While it’s something I didn’t expect when I first began, it’s the one thing that I value most out of everything.
- And lastly, don’t forget to use the secret ingredient. Use it heavily. Sprinkle that all over your story like parmesan cheese on your lasagna. Embed it into your writing, and be proud of it. What is the secret ingredient, you ask? It may not seem like it, but it is by far the most important ingredient of all: Your individuality. Your voice. This is YOUR story, so make it yours. Find your voice, and use writing to make it stronger. Your voice is what makes your story unique, so project it well. Let all of your readers hear it. Make it distinguishable. Make it so that if your readers read an excerpt of your work without telling them that you wrote it, they’d know it was you purely because of how it was written. In your style, and your voice
And that’s really it. There’s only 10 ingredients in the recipe for success, and the secret ingredient is the most important one of them. Come up with a solid idea, and start writing. Make it your story. Fall in love with your characters, thicken the plot, and juice it up with some plot twists. You’ve got this. I believe in you all.
Get the chance to read the handwritten letter Caleb from ‘Laced’ wrote to his brother below:
This competition is now closed. Congrats @sassytiltheend!
— Maximum Pop! Books (@maximumpopbooks) March 30, 2016
Closing 8th April 9PM
Check out Izzy when she moves over to Radish Fiction with her new story, ‘Pyro’:
- QUIZ! How many of these epic YA fantasy novels have you read?
- The dangerous, futuristic world of ‘Maladapted’ is closer than you think…
- Bookshelf pruning 101: Keep it? Or ditch it? Use our canny flowchart to take the stress out of spring cleaning
- QUIZ: How ‘Flawed’ are you? In Cecelia Ahern’s dystopian world, which part of your body will pay the price?
- 12 signs and symptoms of a book hangover and how to get over it
- Reviewer Roundup: ‘Flawed’ by Cecelia Ahern “is FEELS from start to finish”