In comments to my first Wattpad post, I was asked about the age demographic on Wattpad and whether it is appropriate for all content. It is true that the age group most heavily represented on Wattpad appears to be the younger readers, in specific young female readers. This is not by any means ALL of the users, but it is a large number. As a result, Wattpad has (wisely) taken steps to ensure the content is clearly labeled and managed such that under-age eyes are not given access to inappropriate materials in a willy-nilly fashion. The restrictions are clearly listed out in their Content Guidelines but are pretty simple if you are familiar with the movie/TV rating system. Ratings can be G, PG, PG-13 or R. Yes, you have correctly noticed that there is no X rating. Erotica is prohibited on Wattpad at present. So let’s look a little closer at Wattpad’s dark side.
Writers are asked to rate their content as it is being uploaded, however, it is clear based on what I read on the support forum that Wattpad systems often police the content, and will adjust the rating accordingly.
Additionally, should a certain post or content be deemed in appropriate, it will be removed, or locked down. Locked down content can only be seen by the followers of an author, and/or sent to followers privately. In other words, largely negates the entire point of being on Wattpad as no one can find the content without having already found it.
From a conversation I had with the Wattpad crew, my understanding is that content not suitable for all eyes will also not be chosen as featured content. If it is truly considered adult, it will not even be discoverable, and will only be accessed by a direct link (assuming it is allowed to remain in the system at all).
All of which means to me, that like almost anything we advise regarding book marketing, there is no one size fits all here either: not all books or all authors will be happy and successful on Wattpad. Certain material will do better than others, and certain people will be more successful than others.
Additionally, material that is deemed as copywritten (copywrited?) by someone other than you, will also be deemed unsuitable. I am not speaking to plagiarism here (which is obviously also not permitted), I am referring to phrases and/or product names. One example I found in the customer service forum indicated that a user had used the term “Emerald City” in their piece, and the post was not permitted. In fact, she did not mean the Oz version at all (so changed it), but algorithms are only so smart, after all!
Perhaps it goes without saying, but certain content is completely restricted and will be removed – details are here per the Content Guidelines:
Do not submit any material that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harassing, hateful, racially offensive, or is otherwise inappropriate. We will promptly remove any such material submitted to the service.
So, what happens if you go in not understanding all the rules and/or choose to do what you do, regardless? Well, I will let author Duke Miller tell you in his own words. Duke has, by the way, found his niche there and is having a grand time, regardless of stumbling into a mature restricted status! If mature content does not offend you, I highly recommend checking him out.
Duke Miller Says:
Wattpad has nothing labeled “Adult” it is only “Non-teen” and everything else is TEEN. So if you are writing about(for) teens, welcome to the ice-cream parlor. My abnormal uploads quickly earned me a “restricted mature” status. I was put into a box with all the other degenerates. It is hard to find me on Wattpad. My name and title produce “no matches”….
Two essential ingredients to a successful foray into Wattpadland are good content and time. When you go to upload your stupendous work, ONLY LOAD LITTLE CHUNKS, this is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT. Attention spans are low, particularly on Wattpad. The reading font is simple text. So, build a following first, leave bits of cheese by the hole and then when the mice are milling around, let the cat attack. Time is more problematic. In the beginning, if you can’t devote at least 2 or 3 hours a day to Wattpad, your effort will be questionable. I would recommend scheduling a full week to get the account up and running and then an hour or so per day for maintenance. You are going to war. Wash your hair, wear a cap or helmet, get things in order before you sit down in front the computer. You must play music. It is REQUIRED. Also keep the drinks and food nearby. Once you get going, stick with it. Wattpadians quickly suss out dead accounts and nobody likes to be dead. After 9 days, I’m up to 520 reads, 86 comments, 25 Followers, 33 Following, and 55 Votes after eight days of turmoil. Buzz: it’s all about the exponential buzz of social networking. There is a price to be paid.
So, come look for me on Wattpad. If you can find me, tell me how you did it. It is a mystery to me how new people just entering the vast land of Wattpad can even find their own butts, much less a specific, toxic, restricted, mature only account like mine. Anyway, I am the guy handing out death like party invitations; looking for death in the corners of my room and knowing that it comes to me in small doses, in the flashes of my past. “Living and Dying With Dogs” is the way I die and I am dying in fragments, just like all of us: by the breath, heartbeat, thought, and word. It’s all there, on Wattpad, waiting for somebody to read the f—ing thing and vote.
Here, I will make it easier – Duke can be found here: http://www.wattpad.com/user/ddduke
What about you, what has your experience on Wattpad been?