Well, do you? If so, I hope you saw this piece today from Publishers Weekly on YA author Brittany Geragotelis and her novel Life’s a Witch.
Evidently, Geragotelis has gotten 13 million readers (yes, million) for her serialized novel on Wattpad, the on-line writing community where writers can post portions of their work for fun and feedback. Hence she’s decided to self-publish it, rather than go with a traditional publisher. And according to PW, Geragotelis is basically counting on fan involvement and support to translate into sales. As she says, “When people become fans of the book, they would ask me if they could buy a copy to give to friends and family. They become champions for the book. I’m the same way when I read something I like, I want something tangible.”
Will it work? I have to say, I’m inherently skeptical about people spending money on things they can get on-line for free. And I wonder, too, about targeting those same 13 million readers for sales—despite her fans’ pledges of allegiance, how many will actually pony up for something they’ve already read? And even if they do, will that actually break the book out into the general reading public? To me, this feels different from the other self-publishing stars, because so far the book has been taken up only by a single community, and while it’s a big one, it might not play in Peoria—or whatever the Amazon equivalent might be.
Then again, Wattpad’s model of serialization and fan involvement gives readers a bigger stake in the content than, say, a band posting its new album on its own website. So I can see readers feeling like they want the finished product, not only for themselves but to show off to others something they had some small part in. And if readers do pass it along—well, there are certainly any number of publishing success stories that grew out of grassroots word-of-mouth campaigns, especially in YA (Hello, Bella, hiya Katniss).
Obviously, this story is just beginning, and I’ll be very curious to see how it goes. But back to the original question—have any of you posted on Wattpad? If so, any stories to share? Has anything you’ve written translated into interest outside of the Wattpad community?