GLVWG’s resident Mark Twain, Charles Kiernan, spoke with Ben Sobieck, who will conduct three seminars at the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™, on March 24, 2018, with Weapons in Fiction, Writing inside a Franchise, and Using WATTPAD to Build a Writing Career.
Ben Sobieck describes himself as a thriller writer, which encompasses several traditional genres: mystery, action-adventure, crime fiction, and noir. He has also written many short stories and numerous flash fiction pieces. He is also a big promoter of Wattpad. That might need a little explanation.
Charles Kiernan: Thanks for this interview, Ben. Let’s start with what is Wattpad? Why should our conference attendees avail themselves of this service?
Ben Sobieck: Wattpad is a social reading website and app, which means it’s like a cross between Facebook and Kindle. Writers post short stories and novels on the site, and they don’t charge anything to read them. What’s the benefit of giving something away for free like that? Sixty million devoted readers from all around the world is what. They read, read, read, and they will follow the writers they love to the gates of hell (or heaven, if they’re not reading my work).
What this does is fill in the missing piece that a lot of writers have when building their careers. They need a platform of readers who care deeply about their stories. When they do, it’s a lot easier to pull agents, publishers and other partners into their orbits. For instance, a query letter might site that the story being pitched has 100,000 reads on Wattpad. That shows proof, and that’s powerful.
I’m happy to say that I’ve partnered with publishers, movie studios, TV producers, and more through Wattpad. I won a Watty Award for one of my stories. Not to toot my own horn (which means I’m about to), but the competition for the Watty Awards is the world’s largest online fiction contest. When I entered in 2016, there were 140,000 entries.
How does Wattpad work with that many entries? It’s all about the data. I’ll be going into more on that in my presentation.
Also, I am serving as editor of The Writer’s Guide to Wattpad, which will be out in the summer of 2018, and will be published by Writer’s Digest Books. It’s Wattpad’s official guide, so I must be doing something right. Or very, very wrong. One or the other.