Can I please just rant off the hook for a moment?
So, I started this post as a draft way back in September of last year, and I just kept putting off actually writing it because… well, it’s just not something I was really wanting to talk about! But, now I believe the time has come… and I must get this impending rant off my chest.
Just some background knowledge for y’all—I started using Wattpad way back in the day. Way back. Like, so far back that I had to lie about the year I was born just to create a Wattpad account. Mind you, I was about 12 or 13 when I first signed up, but back then you were supposed to be at least 16, and I don’t even know if Wattpad or any other websites, for that matter, pay attention to user ages anymore. And don’t get yourself in a tizzy (especially all the parents out there) because I was writing online without my parents’ knowledge or whatever—I’m sure kids younger than 10 do much worse online behind their guardians’ backs today.
So, officially, I’ve been a Wattpad user since 2011, which is basically the dawn of time in terms of modern internet sites. I used it to post some of my first real “novellas”, and even the first draft of my first self-published novel is still on there today!
I made a lot of friends on Wattpad over the years, and I felt really loyal to the site for a long time. It really did feel like a home to me, and I was comfortable there. I feel like I got my start as a writer there, and I always will. Sometimes I even think that, had I not ever joined Wattpad, I would not even be a writer today—and that’s, frankly, a scary thought.
But I haven’t been active on Wattpad for a while (probably since 2017), and things have changed there. A lot. And, again, frankly, I don’t really like it.
For one thing, Wattpad is apparently no longer a 100% free to read, free to write website. Which, I thought, was kind of the whole principle it was first based on. Now, there are select “paid stories” that readers have to purchase coins for in order to read.
I did the math on this, people. The lowest amount of coins you can purchase is 9 for 99 cents (USD), and every chapter to be “unlocked” takes 3 coins. So, you are basically paying 33 cents per chapter. For a book that is only 3 chapters long, you would be paying 99 cents for the whole thing—the same price of many self-published e-books on online retailer sites (including a few of mine now). However, seriously, no book is only 3 chapters long—especially the ones on Wattpad. Wattpad books are meant to be updated with new chapters frequently, and so a lot of writers end up making more, shorter chapters to keep content constantly being posted. Of course, there could be a rule in place for the paid writers to make their chapters over a certain word count, you know, so readers basically get their money’s worth every time.
Still, though, you can imagine how the paid books can get costy on readers. For example, one book I looked at on the site costs 175 coins to unlock the whole thing, and so it would basically cost $19.25 to buy the book—as much as a physical hardback! Of course, though, Wattpad does offer “discounted” coins in bulk sizes—for example, 400 coins costs $13.99. There’s also an option to watch one ad a day for 3 free coins, which is, honestly, the only route I would ever go because I’m a stingy person.
But, wait—there’s more! If you also upgrade to a premium Wattpad account… well then, guess what, you get up to 66% more coins with every coin purchase you make! Which also costs an extra $5.99 a month, or $59.99 a year. Clearly for only the most avid of readers and for Wattpad’s own monetary benefit.
Oh, but don’t worry—Wattpad premium also comes with many other benefits. Like… you can change the color of your profile to something other than white! And… well, that’s pretty much it…
I probably wouldn’t be so annoyed be all of this if everything weren’t just for writers who join “by invitation only”. Like, um, (I’m going to keep my blog clean and not curse, but you all know what I want to say right now), where’s my invitation?
Yeah, I guess I’ve been loyal to the place for almost 10 years now, and I’ve had some successful stories published there over that period, but I’m just not one of the select few elite members that got invited to the party. No biggie, since I’m kind of over it and just resorting to self-publishing everything I do on my own… but, you know, the help would have been appreciated. And a thank-you in the form of seniority or something… because, you know, I never got paid to write when I was 13, and so maybe they owe me a lil’ somethin’ just for keeping the site relevant up to this point.
Hey, I’m not really that mad, though, because I clocked out of really using Wattpad a while ago. It’s still bookmarked at the top of my favorite webpages bar, though, and I like to sign-in again every once in a while, especially since it’s the only website I still use my very first ever memorized password with. It’s nostalgic, sure, and I guess you can say I do miss the “good ol’ days”. But the past is in the past now, and this whole monetization thing could just be the last straw for me to really leave it behind.
Please, everyone, let me know what you thought/think of all this… both Wattpad users past and present!