2019 has been a significant year in my writing career. I completed my tenth full-length novel, I was commissioned by the American TV network SHOWTIME to write a short fanfiction story, and I joined Wattpad’s Paid Stories program.
Although I in no way want to devalue the opportunities presented to me in previous years, 2019 feels like an important step forwards in terms of progressing towards my ultimate goal of earning a living through writing. That is mostly down to Wattpad’s Paid Stories program, which has enabled me to transition from sharing my work for free, to earning money from the stories I post—all while remaining on the same platform with the same fanbase.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, it’s an initiative that Wattpad recently introduced in order to give readers the chance to support writers financially.
So, how does it work?
Chapters can be unlocked one at a time using coins or, alternatively, the whole book can be unlocked in one go for a discounted rate. Coins are bought through the reader’s Apple or Google Play account, but users can also earn them for free by watching adverts or benefit from a reduced price if they’re subscribed to the premium version of Wattpad.
And what do readers think about the Paid Stories program?
It’s no secret that Wattpad is primarily known for offering free books and, naturally, there has been some backlash from readers who don’t like the concept of paying writers. There are only a few hundred stories in the program, so over 99.9% of books on Wattpad are still free and readers therefore have millions to choose from if they either do not wish to pay or are unable to do so.
On the whole, readers are supportive. In my case, I’d been posting fiction online for free since 2011, but more and more readers had been asking if there was any way for them to buy my books so that they could show support financially. It made me realise that some people actually would be willing to pay for my writing, even if they’re used to getting it at no cost.
That turned out to be truer than I anticipated, and I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at the level of support I’ve received since joining the program. The number of people reading the book has been increasing at a much higher rate, and some users have even told me that they’ve spent money on it despite having already read the story when it was free.
Hearing that someone wants to re-read your book even though they know how it ends is deeply flattering in itself, but to pay to do that is a compliment on a whole other level.
Like a lot of passionate creators, I would love to be able to make a living from my hobby. Joining the Paid Stories program has brought me a step closer to making that a reality, and I’m excited to see where it leads.
You can read Behind Office Doors here.