Why you should be publishing your book
My regular readers will know this, but for
those of you who don’t: I started my writing career online. My novel The
Kissing Booth (soon to be a Netflix Original movie!) was originally on Wattpad,
accumulating over 19 million reads and winning a Watty award for Most Popular
Teen Fiction. Not half bad, right?
You can read more about how I got published here.
I’m planning a couple of posts in the next
few weeks around publishing online, but this week’s post is going to answer the
most obvious question:
Why should you be publishing your novel
(Uh, for so many good reasons that I’m
slightly worried how long this post is going to turn out to be…)
I’m going to just go ahead and say the
primary reason is the support.
Honestly, I’ve never known an online
community as vibrant, welcoming and friendly as the writing community. Between
fanfic, self-publishing, Twitter chats, and NaNoWriMo, you’ll find somewhere
you feel comfortable. Places like Wattpad are packed full of eager readers and other
writers who’ll encourage you, support you, and share your writing woes.
I’ve written before about this, but sharing
your work online also helps motivate you to finish what you’re working on.
You might also like this post for advice on not giving up on your book.
When people are reading your book and are
invested in it, you kind of feel a sense of duty to keep giving them the book
you’re writing. And besides that – when you see people reading and responding
to your work, it makes you believe in it (and your own writing ability) a lot more.
That can go a long way, believe me.
I thought my writing was utter crap – I just
did it because I liked it. I was shocked when anybody read it on Wattpad, said
they couldn’t wait for the next chapter. At some point, it made me sit back and
think, ‘Hey, maybe I’m kind of good at this.’ (I still doubt myself and my
writing, but remembering how much people loved my work on Wattpad gives me a
I cannot emphasise enough how important it
is to build up your confidence as a writer. You don’t need thousands of regular
readers to feel important – even just a handful of people commenting and
reading will start to mean the world to you. That’s where I started, and
without them, I probably would’ve quit posting online pretty early on.
There’s also the constructive criticism. If
you ask for it, you’ll probably get it (sometimes you feel a little mean giving
someone helpful feedback if they haven’t asked for it, so invite it). An
objective opinion can be crazy helpful – whether it’s a comment on how your
pace is too slow, or just that you should use spellcheck.
Ooh, and speaking of objective opinions,
that reminds me of my other favourite thing about publishing online: it’s as
anonymous as you want to be. A huge bonus if you’re nervous about sharing your
work. If you want to share your work with your friends, then that’s totally
cool (and you’re way braver than I am – I still hate when people I know read my
books). What really appealed to me about Wattpad was that I could be completely
anonymous. If people commented that they liked my book, they weren’t saying it
because they were my friend and wanted to be nice to me; I knew they really
meant it. (Not that your friends don’t mean it. I’m just sharing my thoughts on
So we’ve got the community of other awesome
writers, and the motivation your readers give you…
And to answer your next question: no, you
won’t damage your chances of getting published traditionally if you publish
And for your next question: sure, online
publishing can help you get traditionally published. I was found by Random
House on Wattpad, and I know it’s happened to other writers too. There are
competitions on some platforms, plus Wattpad has its Wattpad Stars program
which helps certain writers (the Stars) get paid for their writing. I mean,
sure, yes, of course it doesn’t happen to every writer online. But who’s to say
you’re not going to be one of the few who does ‘make it’?