Experiment in Reader Engagement

Although I had heard about WattPad for some time, I had not until recently examined the possibilities offered by the site for writing. I knew that people were posting unfinished stories and looking for reader feedback, but didn't really know how it all worked. Encounter with another writer who is developing material on WattPad allowed me to look into it, and I have decided to try it out on my Clangworld stories.


I haven't spoken about these much if at all here. This was some the worldbuilding I did last summer (2020) at the Clarion West summer school. It involves a series of linked stories about a feudal-style medieval world inhabited not by organic beings, but rather by mechanical beings who do, however, have magical powers. I wrote the first story at Clarion West last year, and since then, on and off, had been working to develop additional stories, although I hadn't got very far yet. Rather than leave the stories sitting on my hard drive, why not post them on Wattpad and see if I cannot pick up readers there. Obviously, readers there may also eventually pay off for my other writing projects. I read an article that several well known writers are on WattPad, including Margaret Atwood and Paul Coelho. So there is good company as well.


One of the first things I needed to do was come up with a book cover. This is my second effort. The first used some of the same motifs, but I found too static and not edgy enough. This second cover does better - it shows a whimsical side, and the crest gives it a touch of "edge". My problem is that my artistic skills lend themselves to whimsy but not so much to edginess. However, I think this cover works better. Also, I picked a color scheme that might stand out, hopefully, anyway.


The way Wattpad works is that chapters are posted at intervals and hence readers can give feedback as the story unfolds, feedback that the writer can use to improve the story or to fold into later parts of the book. I love the idea of engendering stronger reader feedback. Clangworld is intended for a Young Adult audience, so also a very different group than my other books (although they could all be marketed to YA as well, I think). I also went through two iterations on the book title. At first I used "Fluemates of the Clangworld Empire" but decided it was too long and convoluted, so now it is simply "The Clangworld Empire". Much better, I think.


So far only friends are reading it, but I have some hopes I may pick up some other readers over time. In the meantime, it is another great writing adventure. Oh, and here is the link, if anyone wants to follow it up : https://www.wattpad.com/story/269813323-the-clangworld-empire.

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