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Pros and Cons of Writing on Online Reading Platforms

In 2021, South Korean online platform Naver acquired Wattpad for $600 million in cash and stock. Naver, South Korea’s popular digital tools and services provider, is home to an online comics platform called “Webtoon,” which has around 72 million users per month. The online comics platform has worked with popular companies like Crunchyroll and Vertigo.

Wattpad is a popular online social writing and reading platform with around 90 million users in 2020. Users can create and share their stories across multiple genres, ranging from teen fiction to adventure. In recent years, Wattpad has formed numerous production deals with Hollywood studios and launched its own young adult publishing imprint.

Wattpad has an international presence, where some of its stories have been produced as printed books, films, and television series. With such an influential presence that has changed various writers’ lives, you may wonder if it’s worth writing for Wattpad or other online reading platforms.

What is an online reading platform?

Before listing the pros and cons in writing for Wattpad and similar sites, we need to understand these platforms’ nature and features.

Wattpad and its alternatives are online reading platforms that enable people to read various stories from different genres for free. Readers can access these stories through their computers and phones, where “installments” of stories are given on a chapter-by-chapter basis. The stories on these sites update depending on the writers and their schedules. In some sites, writers may have a weekly schedule depending on their exclusive contract with the platform.

Readers can also leave likes and comments, which count as “engagement,” which measures a story’s popularity. If a story is popular, the writer may gain perks like having it featured on the website’s main menu and become part of the site’s ads across the internet.

Famous writers and their works can also become monetized. For instance, popular Wattpad stories become “Wattpad Exclusive” content where chapters can only be accessible if readers pay a certain fee. A portion of this monetization goes to the author, who is incentivized to create more content for the website.

In some cases, publishing houses can also pick up popular books. Many stories from these websites that aren’t exclusive may get picked up by a publisher that will make the story available on other platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. These books can also become available in various formats, including eBooks, printed copies, and audiobooks.

What are the Pros and Cons of Writing on These Platforms?

With these features in mind, here are some pros and cons of writing on these platforms, especially if you’re considering becoming an author.

Pros of Writing on Online Reading Platforms:

1. It streamlines your content to various social media websites.

One advantage of publishing your work on online reading platforms is that you can sync your work to your social media platforms. This feature makes it easy for people to showcase their stories to a broad audience while meeting people with the same interests.

2. It helps create a following.

Authors who regularly post on online reading platforms and become popular can create a loyal fanbase or following. This instance makes it easier for writers to slowly create their brand while also figuring out what genre they are most suitable for.

3. It offers an opportunity for online engagement.

Many online reading platforms offer opportunities for engagement like “likes” and “comments.” Authors can use this feature by engaging with their readers and gauging what they like and dislike and how they can improve as writers. Online engagement is a valuable tool because it gives upcoming authors an idea of what is marketable and what isn’t.

4. It’s a great way to make extra money.

Talented writers who want to create a little extra income may find monetizing their hobby on reading platforms enjoyable. While it may not be possible to write as a living, writing on these websites has its perks if you want to do something fun.

Cons of Writing on Online Reading Platforms:

1. Some people may plagiarize your work.

Many stories that are free to read on these websites and apps are susceptible to plagiarism. If you wish to protect your property, you can report the plagiarized work to the website or have your project become copyrighted to reduce these incidents.

2. Some stories are unpolished.

Many free-to-read stories come from everyday people who don’t have the best technical editing skill. As such, expect some mistakes like errors in grammar, spelling, and the like. After all, only some writers on the said platform are a professional, and many are using it to improve their skills as they go along.

3. Your work may become company property.

Some websites encouraging users to become exclusive writers have contracts stating that the author’s work becomes company property. Some stipulations even have a lockdown period, where writers cannot take their work off the website unless necessary. Avoid signing these exclusive writing contracts if you want your work to be solely your own.

4. There is a stigma of writers on online platforms not being considered “real” writers.

Despite writers on websites like Wattpad achieving success, there is still some stigma for these writers who aren’t considered “real writers” by the elite. While the stigma has lessened over the years, many traditional publishers usually discard manuscripts previously published on Wattpad and similar websites.

Should You Write on These Websites?

Writing is a worthwhile hobby and can become a viable profession. However, it’s purely up to you if you feel the risk is better than not. If you’re an aspiring writer who wants to improve their craft, posting your work on these sites can be a great way to gain engagement and feedback.

However, suppose you’re protective of your work and would like exclusive rights over it with minimal interference. In that case, it’s probably more beneficial to self-publish or submit it to a publishing house.

Final thoughts:

The publishing industry has made great strides in making written works more accessible. As Naver acquires Wattpad, one can expect some great content in the future, which may be adapted into comics, television series, and even films. Nevertheless, while Wattpad and similar sites have been making rounds into Hollywood, it’s not guaranteed that every user will have a shot to make it big. Still, if you think the pros outweigh the cons, remember to be cautious when posting your work online.


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