Alienated by social media: Facebook and Wattpad

Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, April 22, 2012 Under: Self-publishing
I've just created a Paul Samael Facebook page - here it is in all its (non)-glory:
I'm setting up the Facebook page mainly because all the stuff I have read about marketing oneself as a self-published author says you should "do social media".   I find the way that it forces you into a chronological approach quite frustrating - I'd much prefer to have more freedom to set out the page so as to emphasise things I think people might be most interested in, some of which might be ooh, all of 6 months old, rather than dated yesterday.  But I was quite impressed that Facebook claimed to be able to allow me to "connect" with Philip K Dick, as there are some questions I have been meaning to ask him about the afterlife.

Staying with social media, I've had a couple of stories on wattpad for the last month or two, which is also quite "facebooky" in its approach.  I don't think I'll bother with it again unless I write a story along the lines of:

"On her first day at the Warthogs Academy for budding Young Adult Fiction Authors Janine had the hots for Matt right away especially his pale skin and toothy grin and he really seemed to like her even though she had terrible secrets in her past and an inability to use any punctuation except exclamation marks but who cares about that cos this is like really breathless stream of consciousness stuff you know but OMG!!!!!!!! Matt turns out to be a vampire!!!!!!!!!!!!"   

I, on the other hand, appear to be turning into a grumpy old man who is alienated by social media (oh, the irony of it all).

UPDATE FEB 2015 -  More seriously, I am not the only writer who has found that wattpad hasn't lived up to all the hype - see for example this post by Michael Graeme, another self-published author who's been rather more successful than I have in terms of downloads.  Make sure you read to the end of the post where he expresses his disappointment with the level of downloads on wattpad.  And while you're there, read the next post, where his somewhat younger (and ostensibly more successful) wattpad alter-ego, Micky Gee, bursts onto the literary scene.....

My experience in terms of downloads has been the same:  at the time of this update (i.e. nearly 3 years after I first put 2 short stories up on the site), I only have 173 "reads" - many of which, I suspect, are people not actually reading but just browsing and moving on to something else.  

But maybe we are doing it all wrong.  For example, I have seen it suggested that what you need to do on wattpad is upload your material over time, chapter by chapter - the idea being that the total reads score will increase with each new addition (thus increasing the visibility of your material).  And then apparently you need to spend ages cultivating other users of wattpad and getting them to like your work (honestly, where do people find the time for all this?).  Anyway, I've decided that life is too short to waste valuable time attempting to crack wattpad (tempting as it is to create my own teenage alter ego), so I'm not going to bother putting up any more of my stuff there.  It is barely any better than Scribd in terms of the numbers of people actually reading your stuff - see this post.

As for Facebook, I've never really been much of of a user of the site and have been pretty crap at updating my page - to the extent that I now get slightly guilt-inducing emails from Facebook telling me that I haven't done anything with it for ages.   However, despite what all the marketing gurus say, I'm not sure that having the page in the first place has made a great deal of difference.  

I suspect that if you are writing the kind of genre fiction where you want to get your readers hooked and waiting eagerly for the next thing you are writing, then it probably pays to invest heavily in social media - then you can keep them interested with info about the timing of the next release, the progress you are making and so on.  But if, like me, you are just writing what takes your fancy and offering it for free, then I'm not sure you are ever going to get that level of reader engagement.

This means that my Facebook page just becomes somewhere that the occasional person who is slightly curious to know more can find out a little bit more about me. My problem is that I really don't have the time to do anything more with my Facebook page than point people towards new material here, on my website - so I'm somewhat sceptical about its worth, because if people really do want to find out more, then in my opinion they are much better off looking here than on Facebook.


In : Self-publishing 

Tags: "social media" facebook wattpad 
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About Me

Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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