When Wattpad decided to feature my novel King of Her Desire as an Editors' Pick, I had a big decision to make.
The point of that very special honor is to see if your novel will receive enough "reads" to be considered for the "Paid Program," which lets you make actual money. Or, even better, for the "Studios Program," which could be your stepping stone to having your novel published and/or transformed into a film.
It was the latter program I first was approached about--I'm still stunned, as one of, if not the oldest Wattpad Star on that site. And I was also really, really afraid that I didn't have the chops to promote the thing enough to impress the powers that be.
Many of the novels chosen already have millions--yes, millions--of reads. I'd written my book rather quickly, doing no promotion at all. And though two editor/mentors loved it, Wattpad wants reads and "buzz."
No, reads and "buzz" don't mean a book is well-written. And popularity contests like this set my teeth on edge, actually. I feel as if we're starting to judge everything by how many people like it, quality be damned. The old adage "just because you can doesn't mean you should" ought to apply to publishing, too.
But from Tiktok, especially, I'm learning that there are thousands of writers self-publishing thousands of books and they have huge, loyal followings. I have also discovered that some of them...shouldn't. The English teacher in me often can't get past the first page of their most popular novels.
But they're here and they're taking over the world. Your Barnes and Noble may have a "Booktok" table or two now. And the "traditional media" is baffled but singing their praises.
And people of all ages are rushing to master ALL the social media. I'd made some half-hearted runs at it, but I was leery of this Tiktok thing to be sure. I thought you had to perform for the camera, and I was not about to try to bust a move--or a hip, trying--at my age.
I've since learned that there are lots of people my age on all the social media platforms. But I had to find my own way in.
I started using Canva to create little videos that made me smile. And to my astonishment, over 700 people watched the first one--pitiful by Tiktok standards, but respectable for a first effort.
I had no idea what I was doing. I still don't. But I soon learned how to repurpose the Tiktok videos on other social media, and even how to do inexpensive Facebook "ads" with those posts. THIS one was initially rejected as too "sexy" for Facebook, but wound up getting lots of views and new reads for my book once I changed the last slide--you're seeing the original version here, thou
They're not all dramatic. Some of them are downright goofy:
And there is, to be sure, a downside to all this. For many, life becomes a constant quest for followers and views and comments and being chosen by influencers on these platforms.
I have found myself checking every few minutes, on Tiktok especially, to see if the latest offering is getting any views at all. I'm content, as are many writers, with anything over 100. A paltry number compared to the folks who go viral by the millions every day.
But I've picked my "niche," and I'm sticking to it. And I just don't have time to go live and do five or six posts a day even for a week. It's just not going to happen.
So this week, I posted this:
I'm going to try to live by that last line...but it won't be easy.
I'll keep you posted...as I post...