Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wattpad isn't funny (but BTS is worse)

Probably the two most difficult to answer questions ever: what makes people laugh when reading, and how to attract readers on Wattpad?


Humor

I think there is no easy answer. It depends on what kind of reader you have, and what he / she likes. And I think it is about the hardest thing ever to do... Some people watch BTS on YouTube and consider that funny. I saw two Japanese 'candid camera' shows and the things they laughed about was outright shocking. Some people enjoy videos where people have a painful accident and laugh (I have to admit that some of the idiots deserve the pain, but that doesn't make it funny).

It's all a matter of taste, I guess. When writing, I can think of a few ways (but I'm not an established author, so take this with a very large bucket of salt 😥)

  • Embarrassing a character works, if it is done in good fun.
  • Slightly nastier, but discomfort works as well. Don't push it too far or you'll end up with more emo characters than you like :-)
  • Slapstick is another approach, but I find that very hard. Pratchett sometimes does it, though only rarely. Perhaps Keith Laumer's _Retief_ books are a bit like this.
  • Situational, a bit like slapstick but less 'in your face', this is more Pratchett.
  • Bantering, have two friends tease each other. Also works well as comedic relief in a serious story.
  • Sarcasm. Works best when self directed I think.
  • Puns. I never can pull them off when written. I should try, I guess...
  • Bad language. It makes some people laugh, but I'm not sure that means if that is funny, or very, very sad...
  • Stereotyping and cliches can work, when they are clearly done for fun and totally over the top. Be careful though not to insult anyone.
  • Accents. Way too difficult for me (probably because I am not a native English speaker, I guess my own accent gets in the way...

I know some of my stories made some people laugh, but it's more the kind of 'tongue in cheek' kind of humor. I'm not rip roaring funny myself, so my stories probably won't be either :-)


Wattpad

Free to read books. Write your own books. Attract millions of readers.

An interesting beast, a great idea. And terribly broken.

There are many, many problems with the website, the app, the 'clubs' that even don't have the basic forum functions, and the poor quality of many of the stories.

However, if you are a teen and into romance, it's like heaven on earth.

I think I should stop writing on Wattpad. I mean, what's the point? No one is ever going to read my stories...


Attracting readers

I always wonder if I would attract more readers if I would write romance novels involving bad boys and vampires and bare chested werewolves and unanswered love... Guess I am not creative enough 😊

Seriously though, with thousands and thousands of stories it is obviously hard to attract attention. I guess the story has to sell itself, though I have been considering writing something VERY cliche just to see if that draws attention. Sex sells. Looking at the more popular titles on Wattpad that translates to romance sells 😊 Oh, and I have to add a cover that features some model staring mysteriously at nothing...

And I will mention One Direction and Justin Bieber in the blurb. That should work...


Readers

Actually, the number of reads doesn't matter much, is the number of UNIQUE readers that counts. I'm not sure why, but my story is listed as a 100+ reads, but when I look at the stats there seem to be just two readers? So either it is my online editing that also counts, or somebody else likes my story that much he / she read it 99+ times! Wow... talking about dedication...


Ranks

"But you're ranked 325 in Science Fiction so you're doing very well! :))"

I haven't got a clue how that works, to be honest.

I can think of several ways how the score would be established. Number of reads, number of votes, number of unique readers, number of readers that finished the story, number of followers,participation of the author in other threads, number of times the tag of the author has been mentioned, number of chapters, average word count, key words in the story...

Come to think of it, it would make sense to use more than the number of unique readers, as otherwise new stories and new writers would never be discovered.

It makes me sad though to realize that IF the number of unique readers is correct then the only reason for the high score is the rating algorithm and not the quality of my story... Sigh.

Oh well. I guess I just have to get used to the idea of not being married to Doutzen Kroes, and not being popular on Wattpad.

I guess my life sucks :-)

Well, it is not going to stop me from trying to write the best that I can. Once the story is properly underway, then I'll worry about the number of reads, the fanmail and the royalties. Until then I just slave away at my keyboard. So yes, it bothers me, but no, it doesn't bother me enough...

Unless Doutzen tells me she only swaps phone numbers with authors with more than 2.5M reads.


Motivation

There is one thing that Wattpad does... and that is to force you to write, in a desperate attempt to be noticed. Hereby I solemnly pledge I will write a complete 100k word novel. Well, that's another part of my bucket list covered. You'll find my attempt here: Have Hat Will Travel

If the link doesn't work, just go to Wattpad and search for the same title.

Bye. And Doutzen? Don't forget to call me...

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