The Malaise of Wattpad
mug's game - a pointless or futile activity
I don't understand the over-zealous rules Wattpad has about mentioning-- err, "promoting" your own stories. On the club forums, you're not allowed to post links to your stories except in those designated threads like this one.
Only once in a thread, amidst hundreds of other stories, until the thread gets refreshed (which is 'whenever'). Do you honestly expect readers to go through every advert in every page, so to give these stories a fair chance at being appreciated?
In reality, your story gets drowned out amidst many voices, like that moment in Titanic where the ship has sunk, and you see Rose struggling in the waters amidst hundreds of others, looking for Jack. Since around April of 2013, when they decided to replace the Share Your Story (SYS) club, not once have I gotten a single reader because I've put my advert up in those "Share an 'X-genre' story here!" threads.
And when it comes to people asking "Is there an interesting such-and-such story I can read," you always see the ambassador stepping in and sanitising the opening post: "No links! No suggesting your own stories!" Like here.
It's okay to mention other people's stories to a wanting reader, but not your own? How silly -- what's there to prevent someone from using a different account and mentioning his own story under disguise, for example?
Ultimately, the way things are set up in Wattpad, you're lucky to even get genuine readers.. that is, if you're not writing the usual "Bad Popular Boy meets Nerdy Girl" plot, or "One-Direction/Justin Bieber/Boy Band" fanfic, or "Hunger Games/Twilight/etc." Young Adult derivative. Or if you're not already an established, published author come to make a token visit to the site:
It's fucking ridiculous.
Maybe if you're really desperate enough, there is the option of signing up for Book Clubs - but the catch is that once the members do read and comment to a certain point in your story.. oui, they do give some detailed comments and critiques, but they do so not because they really want to read more of your story (without you having to nudge them), but because they expect you to give the same to their stories in return.
For example, my incomplete fantasy story, Demon's Paradise.
On chapters 1 and 2, you'll see the club members' comments. After those chapters though, nothing. Except a lone critique from someone else unrelated to the book club.
Or, for asking some critic or an editor to read your story, you have to "pay" them a certain number of comments on their stories.
The thing that really gets me is when you compare Wattpad (writing) to deviantART (visual art). On deviantART, people can quickly fall in love and tell if they like your work, based on the quick thumbnail glances of your stuff.
Wattpad by contrast, all you have to attract people is whatever cover you can make, and the blurb/summary you provide for your story. And perhaps an excerpt line or two. The saying "Never judge a book by its cover" becomes a two-edged sword here, where genuinely interesting writing can easily get overlooked by people (it takes 'effort' to read, hurr durr) in favour of the familiar clichés the masses know and love.
Stanley Kubrick once observed that "most films don't have any purpose other than to mechanically figure out what people want and to construct some artificial form of entertainment for them." People seek the familiar. Whether it be a familiar genre, actors, or a specific kind of emotional gratification, films have become delivery systems for the feelings that we crave. -- Snake Eyes review by tieman64
I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore.