Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I joined Wattpad


Actually I joined in November last year, right before the move/edit/publisher disaster. Now finally, I'm getting things together enough to actually get involved with the community.



I'm liking that I've got access to lots and lots of new writers who want to learn and want to be helped. I mean, it's the first time I've ever offered to crit first chapters and been booked full for almost two weeks within a day, (YES A DAY!!!)  of posting the offer to help.

However, I'm a bit bothered by the way things are done there. I mean yeah it's great that there's this medium for instant exposure for writers. The thing is... I'm not sure if instant exposure is a good thing.

I mean... putting unfinished work out there without a thought for copyright...

Because yes, there are "all rights reserved" options available on work, and that's supposedly protects one. But... if you're putting unfinished, unedited work on a social network with millions of readers. How will you prove one stole and edited your story before publishing it for money?

Copyright, as far as I understand, goes on final versions of books. And yes, I've seen a few very good concepts with execution lacking. If anyone unethical loved said concept and rewrote it, the original person's idea is stolen. And because it can't be copyrighted, there's nothing he can do about it unless he can prove that he sent the entire story he wrote to the unethical guy, and that unethical guy used significant portions of it..

So yeah. I'm finding this aspect to Wattpad scary.

Also, the general fascination with prologues. *shudder*

Other than that, though, it's intriguing me, and I really am enjoying disabusing people of their prologue habit.

Anyone else on Wattpad? Thoughts?


  1. I know it requires time like any other social network, and I just don't have that. Wouldn't place unfinished work on the site though and not sure if my publisher would allow me to put up a chapter of one of my books or not. Keep us posted.

  2. Hahaha, yeah, I'm not a fan of prologues either. And there are some unsettling aspects of Wattpad, but I guess it can build up your fan base, if you put the time in.

  3. Be careful! Agent Janet Reid recently published that a writer submitted a manuscript and she found it out there on Kindle. She alerted the writer, who discovered one of her beta readers published it on Kindle without her even realizing it.

    1. This has happened several times from what I've heard. I know it works for some, but not me. Plus Alex makes a great point about publishers not wanting material out there.

  4. I agree with your concerns about sharing your work on the internet in that sort of platform. Seems like for every good aspect of the internet there are people set to exploit it.

    As for prologues... funny you should mention that. My WiP did have a prologue but one of the first revisions I made was absorbing that information into the general body of the novel. Some in Chapter One. The rest as it became important. hahahaha. Not all prologues are bad, but one must spend some time determining is it best???

  5. I've never used wattpad before, but I know what you mean about the copyright concerns. I found out that most literary magazines will not accept stories that have been posted on blogs, which is too bad for me because there some posts that could've worked as stories. And I have worried about the plagiarism thing too, especially because people have already plagiarized stuff that I wrote on my blog and Twitter page.

  6. I haven't used it. I've used webook though, which is fun.
    Proving anything is always difficult. There's always the "poor man's" copyright- print it out and (snail) mail it to yourself before you post online. A sealed, postmarked envelope with a manuscript inside is still legal evidence, last I heard.

    As far as steal concept...
    Armageddon. Deep Impact.
    A meteor that is really big is coming to Earth and will kill us all, so a team is dispatched to space to put nuclear weapons in it so that it will blow up. Not everyone on the team will survive.

    I'll grant you I went with a movie instead of a book, but I think my point works. On the other hand, Hollywood actually pays for ideas, not just full scripts, so that is probably how that happened.

  7. I have mixed feelings, too. I haven't joined, but I know writers who have.

  8. Wattpad? Oh, that pad. I think I'd give that a wide miss.

    Gary :)

  9. I like prologues and think they are suitable for some epic stories whether scifi or fantasy. Thanks for the info about Wattpad, I've heard or read that it's mostly for YA.

  10. I'm not for a moment suggesting that it is acceptable to steal other writers' ideas but I've never been particularly protective of my concepts.

    To me it is the writing that makes a book good or bad not the idea. Anyone can have an idea. Most books stem from the same half dozen ideas but become unique through the specific words of an individual. That's what makes them beautiful, not the vague concept.

    Again, I am not suggesting that it is acceptable to steal ideas.

  11. Copyright can be concerning, especially when most work is constructed so intangibly, don't know that I'd be sending stories off like that but it sounds like the system works for most :)

  12. I have a wattpad account. Never posted anything to it. I've read a few authors - not sure if I voted or not. Seemed like a popularity contest to me. And, it isn't a site to put in your credentials as "published" or a site that can get you published. But if you don't mind some feedback from anyone who happens to read your excerpt, perhaps its a good medium. Just be prepared to have "tougher than average" skin. Or have authors who tell you how awesome your writing is, then leave links to several of their posted excerpts.

    I may be biased; but my best critique partners have come from building relationships within the blogs or from a face-to-face writing group. Some have been one time only, some have been ongoing. I haven't had much luck in "forum" type groups because I don't have the time to dedicate in attendance that it takes to build a "trusting" relationship with a stranger. Wattpad does work for a lot of writers though.

    I say try it; you never know what could work for you. As for stealing ideas; ya know, there are only so many concepts out there: how many Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, or alien invasion/zombie concepts can you come up with? What are the chances your concept is totally unique and nobody has EVER published it? Go to Amazon, plug in your key words, and see how many novels/short stories fit that category search. Either your concept nabs an agent, or it doesn't, and really, no two writers have the same voice. If you seriously believe you have an original concept that NOBODY has ever thought of before, then perhaps you shouldn't post it to a public site. But if you feel your concept is "original enough" then it is your unique writing skill and voice that will sell, not just the concept.

    So, post something you don'e care about to test the waters. And excerpt that is already published and copywrighted, or something you posted for a blogfest that has a posting date stamp. Or even something you've already thrown away but haven't deleted from a word file.

    And, your name will be attached to the posting (IP address if nothing else) so if someone does plagiarize, you have proof of where you originally published. Its just not that easy to copy word for word an idea and not have someone notice. I think stealing story ideas was much easier before internet. Internet searches affords a lot of accountability.

    So, yeah; if you're a lousy enough writer you have to steal a concept, chances are the thieving author will be unable to develop the concept to its full potential. But you will be able to write/develop the concept, since it was your "original" idea.

    In my opinion, sites like Wattpad allow authors who think they are awesome, who have no other feedback option, to get their work read by . . somebody. If you are a decent writer, with reputable resources, you'll be loved on the site; and many many members will seek out your critiquing/feedback skills.

    I'm not one to say don't explore options; but seriously go into this site knowing it is "amateur" authors. Of course there are other authors at you caliber, but they are busy assisting less skilled authors.

    Is that negative. Hmm, sorry. Check it out, you could have an awesome experience depending on the people you meet, and your own expectations. Like going to a bar to meet people; you never know if someone else isn't there with our own skill level and willingness to form a lasting relationship. You took a chance on the blogs, right? And that worked out pretty good, with discretion.

  13. I don't like the idea of my unfinished unedited work being read by lots of people, but not particularly because of copyright concerns. I'd rather get my feedback from a much smaller group of people I can build a relationship with and not put it 'out there' until it's in a readable form.

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  15. I joined ages ago but like you never got around to using it. I defiantly wouldn't post unfinished work for general view, either. I prefer to choose who see my suckage first drafts, but yes, the chance of theft is high too. I know there are only so many story ideas, but it's someones personal slant and voice and characters which I'd fear losing. I'm slow, and I would hate reading a story - my story - before I got mine out. Noooo! :)


  16. I have never even looked around Wattpad, but the concerns seem valid to me. I know there are stories around of great things happening to some authors off the back of it, but I'm sure that's only a small percentage. With the number of submissions agents and publishers have, how many are really trawling extra sites too?

  17. Most publishers recommend not posting anything you will later submit online, because that in effect means it's already published. And theft doesn't happen often, but it could. Unless a piece has been registered at the copyright office here in the US, it won't hold up in a court of law.

  18. It is great that you are helping other writers and that you are enjoying yourself. Your concern however is valid. I think I will steer clear for now.

  19. *raises hand* I'm totally on Wattpad. Do I use it? Erm... Ish? It's one of those places I want to get into, but I know how much of a time suck it will be, and I just can't bring myself to sacrifice my precious little writing time. Maybe when I'm all good and settled in my new house and life is back to...uh...normal. (Is there such a thing?)

    I'm right there with you though. I hate it when writers put their stuff out there before it's ready, and it's so easy to do these days.

  20. I'm not familiar with this, but it seems like a questionable venture in which to participate as far as a WIP. Might be okay for testing the waters for experimental writing. Getting feedback is helpful if it's qualified.

    Hope you're feeling better.

    Tossing It Out

  21. I'm there, but I don't use it anymore. It's good for YA and stuff for young readers, I've heard. You might try putting your book up a chapter at a time when you're ready.

  22. I'm not familiar with Wattpad. Sounds like there might be a couple of concerns with using it but like anything else out there, proceed with caution. What works for one might not work for another. I hope you will keep us posted on what you think of Wattpad.

  23. I've considered using Wattpad, maybe throwing a serial story I blogged out there. But I haven't actually used it.

    From what I understand, once you write something (published or not), you own the copyright... it just might not be registered with the copyright office, which makes it more difficult to defend in a court that you are the original writer. If you do put anything out there, it might be best to find a way to time-stamp with a statement that you are the originator of the content, and this is what that content is, and keep it for your records. If you're really concerned about someone stealing it, you could print it and take it to legal council to have it somehow legally dated as belonging to you.

  24. Addressing my exact concerns. I just had it suggested to me but I can't decide if it's worthwhile. Any insight over the last few years?

    1. I really should do a bit of a follow-up about Wattpad. Thanks for the reminder. :-)


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