(Anything tagged with a * is explained in further at the end of the chapter. Happy reading!)
I know this may seem like a controversial topic to many or even a straight forward one, but as someone who spent years on Wattpad and watched it change and morph, I have a strong opinion.
I first joined Wattpad when I was thirteen. Ah, those days of semi madness thanks to the joys of middle school. All the adolescent problems, feelings of being misunderstood and the everpresent school shit. I thankfully didn't deal with a lot of it, but middle school still sucked and I'm glad I'm a gopd ways removed from it.
Anyways, I was picture hunting for a new lockscreen for my iPod and stumbled upon a cover for a fanfiction that looked really intriguing. I don't know if it still applies, but back then you could read one or two chapters without signing up for an account - one reason why your numbers for the first two chapters can be extremly inflated and not have as many votes/comments as your other chapters on there. Because I really wanted to read on, I gave in and signed up for an account.
And I still run on that account to this day. It's gone through a few, okay a lot of username changes, but it's been there since I was thirteen. I used to just be a reader until I decided to write my own story on there. It was called One White Rose and it was a fanfiction, though I won't say what fandom it was a part of. And yes, it wasn't that good. I'll be the first to admit it. That first person drag I sometimes talk about in reviews, my story suffered from that. An all over the place, too fast paced plot with under developed characters and a real need of showing instead of telling. Also, too much POV hopping. Like in one of the last chapters, it jumped between like five different characters.
Lovely, right? Note the sarcasm.
I got over 5k reads on it before I took it down for good. Over 1k on its sequel. How? I don't entirely have a clue but people really liked it and I even met some cool people through the series and even inspired three people to write and upload their own stories onto Wattpad.
So, I think I've gotten my Wattpad backstory out, so here's my argument.
Before I ever got on Wattpad, they had groups quite like what Inkitt has here where you could do read for reads/reviews for reviews/votes for votes and other things like that. From what I gathered, all that ended before I either signed up or knew it was there. From there, they got rid of their newsfeed. The newsfeed was a great tool to feel more connected to those you followed. Including those god tier authors you admired. You could see when they posted a new chapter of a story whether you followed the story or not, could see what books they voted on, commented on and even the ones they added to their reading list. You could also see there when they posted on their message boards. If one of your favs read a book, you could also know and read it as well. Wanna read a book to find their comment, go right a head.
A few years back, they got rid of it, and everything sort of fell silent. Their top ranks were changed so it was easier to see what tags your book was trending and topping in, but it also changed the 'for you' page a lot. Their methods were outdated, to the plint they were recommending books your middle school self might have read. It proved even harder for your books to pop up. Their formula is harder now for new writers to push through unless they write a fanfiction. Even if you tag your book with 'bad boy' or 'player' - which is very popular on the site - it is still near impossible to penetrate their ranks. All of my most read books were fanfiction au's* from when I was younger.
Some people get lucky and break through the ranks, but many of the ones that do already have an established fan base or write what's extremly popular and get lucky. Many are very talented.
Now, they push their paid stories more than anything. Some books, the only ones recommended to read along with it are their paid books or ones published by their company, Wattpad Books. Many of them either published by other publishers or by their company, Wattpad Books. Apparently, some writers that try to publish with other publishers that are not Wattpad Books got them 'blacklisted'/shadow baned. None of their readers would get their notifications and even their books wouldn't show up. Even their yearly awards, the Watty Awards, have turned more into a popularity contest than ever before and even use it to show off their Paid Stories, many of whom are either really popular or have won before. They've added many more rules that make it harder for undiscovered authors or newer authors to make the cut.
Now, I'm not trying to discredit those who have won before or even are a part of those programs. It's an amazing author, and many of my favorite books from when I first started on Wattpad are now apart of those programs. My point in explaining this is that a lot of their changes make it harder for new authors and undiscovered authors break through. Their formula has changed, and I've heard from many others that they've experienced/heard of similar things or have similar thoughts.
Wattpad used to be notorious for also deleting chapters/stories for no reason whatsoever. I fell victim to this a few years ago when I first started writing one of my favorite style swap books, Drunk Messages. A book I'm now in the process of editing and rewriting and possibly going to shift it over to Inkitt one day. It deleted at least three of my chapters one day, and thankfully I remembered enough of it to go back and rewrite it. In one of the chapters' cases, it was actually better than it was before. But, it didn't just happen to me. A lot of the authors I followed had this issue. Hopefully they fixed it, but it was a big epidemic there for awhile.
Wattpad, however, has other tools to help undiscovered writers. Many users run awards on there, more so than here, and give out prizes including various promotional themes. I even hosted one that's on the final stages of judging as I'm writing this. They offer a way for many readers to get more and expose habitual readers to more types of books. Yes, they do have their issues like potential favoritism, not finishing or even pushing not so good books while not even allowing the well written ones to place. That's the risk you take though, doesn't make it right.
They also allow pictures to be added into their novels, which allows graphic artists a way to propel their work. Whether it be aesthetics, book covers, fan art, trailers, profile aesthetics; it all is given a large platform. One artist that made one of the original covers of Fanfictionalized is now able to charge money for non copyright covers where the images and fonts are free to use unlike non paid ones. They're able to do what they love and also gather some compensation for their hard work.
Inkitt, to me, has more opportunities for new authors to break through. Ever since they changed their popular page's format, more and more undiscovered stories pop up on it and they change all the time. Some of my stories that only have a few reads on Wattpad have hundreds on here. For example, How to Love has 37 reads on Wattpad in the same vein it has almost 400 on here. Perfect Illusion is nearing one thousand reads on here and only has eleven on Wattpad.
While some of the Inkitt run contest seem to be more about popularity over quality, it makes up for the easy way to garner a community with all the different groups and everything.
While the commenting section of Inkitt could be fixed to make it easier to comment on certain things like helping with editing and everything, it's still good. And also their people could actually listen when you report trolls or people spreading horrible things, Wattpad has the same issues but you can delete comments there while with reviews you can't even if the person deletes their account.
What I'm getting at is both have their issues but I think the community here on Inkitt isn't as toxic as Wattpad and also it is easier for new writers to get recognition even though they sometimes take forever to approve your story.
It's up to you to make your decision on the matter, but this is what I've gathered from having an Inkitt account since very early on though I forgot about it for at least a year or more plus having a Wattpad account since I was thirteen. Also, I was not one of those little kids writing smut. I have never written smut and I probably never will. So, just wanted to get that out of the way so there's no misconceptions.
I'm not saying one is better than the other. Just speaking on my experience on which offers more opportunities.
Now, this is a two part series. The next part is talking about other websites and how they relate back to here. There I'll discuss my experience with Radish Publishing and other things like that. Part Two is also the first reader submitted chapter! Yay for that. I'm so excited. Hope you guys learned something from this!
(* au stands for Alternative Universe. It can be either an alternative reality with real people - like on Wattpad some of the most popular AUs involve members of the K-Pop band BTS - or be an alternative reality within a book series like popular ones on Wattpad based around Harry Potter and even Detriot Becomes Human and I've seen ones for different animes like Naruto and Fairy Tail circulating around on Wattpad but I don't know about on here.)