Write On by Kindle: Amazon's Answer to Wattpad

Late last year, Amazon launched a new site called "Write On" where writers can upload their work, any length, from novels to short stories, and get feedback from readers and other writers.

According to Tech Crunch (see here), it was meant to compete with what they call "crowdwriting" sites like Wattpad. Or, for that matter, Readwave, though Tech Crunch didn't mention it. I love the terms techies will invent, like crowdwriting. Indeed, it would be nice if it drew large crowds, but (as I explain below) that doesn't seem to be happening to Write On, or at least not yet. Perhaps the site is too new: it was in beta from October 2014 and was only officially introduced and opened to everyone in March 2015 .

This is the landing page, last time I checked when writing this post (30 May):

To go to Write On by Kindle, click here

As you can see, they are actively engaged with writers, calling for week-end stories (and more).

And naturally, they feature up front what is trending (for example, Far From Normal got a whopping 534 likes):

And, what is really nice, they also feature stories for those who are looking for feedback:

And naturally they give voice to the community of members, highlighting discussions on the landing page, like this one (an interesting topic) when I last visited:

I briefly surfed the discussion and found a great diversity of opinions. One member thought it was a useful way to introduce a secondary character that would become a major one later in the novel; another who admitted to not liking prologues said that they work for him only when "they show (rather than tell) a fairly concise scene that is relevant"; yet another felt that a prologue is a "warning sign that something was wrong and the author had to hurry up and fix it."

Curious to find out more opinions? Go join the discussion, click here.

Now, the BIG question: How effective is this site for writers who want to reach out to readers?

The short answer: perhaps not as well as a newbie might wish - unless you're "the pick of the staff", it's hard to stand out from the crowd (and don't ask me how to become the staff's pick, I have no idea).

The long answer: Write On is very new and perhaps too geared to attracting writers rather than readers. Of course writers are also readers but one would like to have readers that are not writers too! Compared to Readwave and Wattpad - at least when they were first launched - reads are relatively few. When I uploaded a short story on Write On, it only got...2 likes and 3 reads! Now that never happened to me on either Readwave or Wattpad: on both sites I always reached 100 reads in a matter of 24 hours and some of my stories got around 2,000 reads. So why did I do so poorly on Write On? One thing: I uploaded it  4 months ago when the site was still in beta. And my story perhaps is not very good, I don't claim to be Shakespeare! It's a 360 words short-short, called "In the Ditch", that I presented with the following pitch line: "Getting home after a long day's work, this is one thing you don't want to happen." Perhaps that's not sufficiently catchy? Anyhow, here is how it looks on the Write On site and  I think they did a good job of presenting it:

This is the opening page of my short story:

Sorry, this is a screen shot, I can't include the whole story here on my blog simply because I (foolishly) didn't keep the original draft on my computer (and if I did, I lost it!) So, if you're curious to see how that story ends, you'll have to click here to read it on the Write On site.

Setting aside my own experience, how does Write On fare in general compared to its rivals, Wattpad and Readwave?

I've talked about both sites on this blog in the past (I joined both), and  overtime, both sites have evolved. For example, non-fiction has become very popular on Readwave - perhaps people who surf the Net are looking for real stories rather than fiction?

Then, over the past year, something else happened. These sites - possibly because they are overrun with new stories - are no longer that friendly to new writers. Also, biggies have joined them, particularly Wattpad, attracting the readers' attention. Perhaps the biggest names there are Margaret Atwood and Paolo Coehlo who have both uploaded their latest creations on Wattpad. And when they do, they get thousands of readers.

Here's Margaret Atwood's - she's just launched a contest inviting the Wattpad community to "write the future" with her:

Click here to see it on Wattpad

And, unsurprisingly, she got 7,700 + viewers in just 6 days - hey, want to join in the contest? You're still in time! Paolo Coehlo's latest book, The Warrior of Light, A Manual, just published (available on Amazon of course, and yes, it's non-fiction!) was perhaps not quite so successful, but still doing very well, nearly 1,000 views in 2 days, here it is:

To read it on Wattpad, click here

Compared to such numbers, neither Write On or Readwave make the grade - though the latter, in its heyday was very effective, I remember getting several thousand reads back in 2014 when I uploaded the opening of my science fiction novel Gateway to Forever (of course science fiction is a popular genre, and it did much better than my other stories that weren't). 

To get a sense of what success means on Write On, take a look at its biggest on-going success: Far From Normal by Johnny Celeste, see here. It got 565 likes, 755 reads and best of all: 217 comments!

To conclude:  success on Write On may not be spelled in terms of thousands like Wattpad - at best, you reach 700 to 900 readers but you do get feedback. Not bad - and for affirmed writers with a following, it is no doubt useful to expand  readership. 

I'm curious to find out how others have used this site now that it's been open to everyone for two-three months.

Do you like it? Do you return to it? What did you get out of it, as a reader or as a writer?