e- is for ease . . . the Wattpad phenomenon.

I’ve just uploaded The Sheriff’s Collector to Wattpad which provides free downloads to mobile phone apps.  Urged to do this by a fan of Guy of Gisborne, I thought long and hard about it.  For months I’ve been reading all the intel on the internet about e-books and what will happen to bookstores and publishing when these new mechanisms really start to fly.

Agents’ blogs say we should all be ready to e-book and of course, most of our loved authors on Amazon and others are already available in e-format anyway.  I decided I wanted to see what being electronically available was like.  My other books are not available in e-format yet and may never be . . . who knows . . . but I decide The Sheriff was available for a little experiment.

My purpose was to see if the story as it was (a basic first draft) could engage readers with no marketing whatsoever.  Because it is unedited, it should be free.  It shouldn’t have a bookcover as its free and anything that detracts from the content is pointless on a free download.  All I hoped for was fan-comment, unlike the more serious work I upload to YouWriteOn.com which is peer reviewed and seriously viewed. I also wanted to see who downloaded, what type of reader etc.

The Sheriff went to Wattpad at the beginning of the weekend.  It was tagged very basically: Gisborne, Sheriff of Nottingham, fan-fiction, fantasy, Robin Hood and costume drama. In a short time it has had 108 downloads.  Is that good? I wouldn’t know.  But what I do know is that I have not marketed it in any way except by mentioning it on a small ‘friends only’ Facebook profile and on my even smaller profile on Twitter, so any interest has come purely from Wattpad.

Comment is sparse and on reading other stories, some of which are excellent, some are appalling, I note that comment is basically a ‘thank you for uploading’ and ‘thank you for reading’.  Again, very basic.  So it seems one takes one’s success or otherwise from the number of people who download the story.  As to the reader demographic: almost impossible to analyse.  But being an era of rampant mobile phone usage, I’m guessing 16-30?  Maybe someone can enlighten me.  What I like is that those fingers download your story and ‘read’.  What could be better?  You are encouraging people to read by offering free books.  Literacy, or a form of it, rules.

I love writing The Sheriff.  At some point it departed from fan-fiction to take on  a life of it’s own and I suspect in second and third draft, the mention of Guy of Gisborne, Robin Hood and the Sheriff could change completely. Again, who knows?  I’m not sure I’ll put many more chapters up on Wattpad because this may be a story I want to develop and only so much should go into the public eye and no more.  That may even happen on the blog, I just don’t know.  What would be the most wonderful thing is for an audience to be created and for them to want to see what finally happens to Guy and Ysabel and who may just be prepared to buy the book as en e-book or even better as a hard-copy book.

But it’s been fun to do and so easy.  No publication hoops to jump through, ready acceptance . . . what could be better?  A big thanks to the 108 and may there be 108 more.