On Tuesday of this week, I was emailed by a representative from Wattpad.com with an invitation to join their Writer Partner Program and have my novel, Growing up Wired, featured on the front page of their site for about two weeks. It would then be in their featured list of books for six months.
After a couple emails back and forth to understand everything that was entailed, I am pleased to announce that I’ve accepted their offer. Growing up Wired will be featured on Wattpad beginning in early September and I will also be guest posting on their blog to coincide with its promotion.
Many of you who have been following this blog since I started it about a year and a half ago have, no doubt, noticed that I’m part of a vast amount of writers who have decided to self-publish their work online. What I haven’t really discussed is the ten years I spent prior, working within the traditional publication system. I mailed hundreds of short stories, attended conferences, had partials and fulls considered by agents and participated in heated writing groups both in-person and online. I’ve also had a couple short stories published. So it wasn’t an easy, clear-cut decision for me to decide to self-publish or to stick it out with traditional methods.
It’s probably not an easy decision for any writer. The crux of the problem is that the publishing industry is being driven forward at an alarming rate by technology.
A decision to embrace the established system also now carries the risk of falling behind in the latest technological developments. What technological developments, you ask? Enter Wattpad. It’s what the next generation of readers are into these days. Like it or love it, reading and writing is making a transition from a New York-based model to an international, multimedia, mobile, social online experience. I know—scary, right? But it’s also full of potential to democratize authorship in new ways.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Right now, I have some of my best fictional works available to be read for free on Wattpad. Yes, the very same ones I have for sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Why would I do this? Well, here’s my thinking:
1.) The world is a very big place (population-wise)
2.) The world is a very small place (connectivity-wise)
3.) People like to consume media in different, established ways
4.) Gotta get the word out!
And that’s why I’m very pleased that Wattpad has contacted me and positioned itself as that missing piece to the online publicity puzzle.
Maybe you have a short story or novel you’d like a little more exposure for. Maybe you’ve been wondering how you can get your work recognized and “out there.” Let me tell you what I think: the solutions in social media are never simple or easy or neat. You gotta put yourself out there and “make it messy.” Try some new, crazy efforts. Go make a big noise.
There’s a scene in the movie Unforgiven that’s been sticking with me through this whole thing. A one-armed deputy is sitting on a bench, loading all this guns and another deputy says, “You only got one arm! I never seen somebody with one arm have so many guns.” And he retorts: “I don’t wanna get killed for lack a shooting back.” Don’t let your dreams get killed for lack a shooting back.