Saturday, December 6, 2014

WriteOn vs Wattpad vs Figment

UPDATE: This post is really out of date, and I'm no longer using WriteOn, for reasons the reasons in this blogpost. I still have an account there, but I don't use it anymore.

Previously, I wrote about WriteOn, my new writing site of choice. Since I've wrote about it, WriteOn has made a few more changes, Wattpad did an update, and I've did NaNoWriMo on WriteOn, and I thought it's time for a comparison between the three writing sites (Click the link to see my previous post about Figment vs Wattpad). Of course, some of this information may become moot when WriteOn comes out of beta - I'll do another followup post then.

Creating a multi-chapter story
WriteOn: Creating a story is extremely easy. Click on the "Create" tab, and start. You can add chapters, save, move chapters around, add your cover, spend as much time making your book perfect as you want without having to post your story. I've typed, saved and exited, and come back, without any problems. Everything is in one page, and it's extremely easy to use.

Wattpad: There is a create button, but it seems to lead you to the My Works page (or is that just me?), from which I have to click on the new story button. And everything seems to be published as soon as you hit create - there's no testing here (not without deleting it anyway. And one thing about Wattpad that annoys me is that I cannot toggle between chapters very easily. I have to write, go back to the main page, and then edit. It's only one extra step, but I imagine it'll be very annoying if I'm doing major edits.

Figment: Like Wattpad, Figment's "Start writing" button on the main page leads you to the writing page, from which you create a new story. On the bright side, the organisation of the story is similar to WriteOn. You can add chapters, move them around, edit the actual contents, all on the same page.

Winner: WriteOn, followed by Figment. Wattpad is still too clumsy for me. 

In lieu of the site logo, here's a screenshot of the site. 
Cover Creator
WriteOn: I believe that the cover creator in WriteOn is the same as KDP. I'm not sure, because I've never published on KDP, but that's what I heard. Anyway, the cover creator here has many different pictures you can use (you can also search by category or enter a keyword), a few templates (6 image-based templates and 4 Non-image based templates), and font size and choice customisation. It's not as good as Canva (on which I'll base all comparisons), but for a free program, there's a decent amount of changes you can make. I don't recall a default cover.

Wattpad: Wattpad used to have the worst cover creator. Or at least, I didn't remember a cover creator, just the option between an awful default cover (still awful - it's your profile picture with the cover) or your own upload. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had a creator from March of this year (which explains a lot, I haven't tried looking for a cover creator since... quite a few years ago). There is a very limited number of pictures (I think 10, or less), and the option to change font choice and size, and I think colour. There are no template options.

Figment: Although it possibly has the nicest default template (it's clean simple, although you don't have your title or name on it), the cover creator is now tied with Wattpad (since it improved). You have a choice of certain backgrounds (I think the number of choices are about the same as Wattpad), although none of them are pictures, and I think two places where you can place the title, with very limited font choices.

Winner: Canva. Oh wait, sorry. I mean WriteOn, for sheer choice. And then Figment and Wattpad are tied.

Getting Readers
WriteOn: Since it's still in Beta, there are more writers than readers. Not the best way to build up a fan-base, especially since you need to log in just to read the stories, but who knows what will happen once it leaves beta mode?

Wattpad: I think there's very little competition for Wattpad so far. There are way more readers than authors on this site, plus a reader-friendly mobile app (my sister uses it), and if you know how to work it, you might be able to develop a following. I've never had any success, even in the days where I was actively reading other people's works, but it's worked for a lot of people. But be warned, there are some big-named writers there, so you face a lot of competition.

Figment: Figment is probably where I get the most unknown eyes on my story. Even with me doing very little, every now and then, I get a notification that someone liked my story and/or reacted to it. So something is working there. Readers can also read the story without logging in, but they can't vote or react.

Winner: Depending on the person, either Wattpad or Figment. For most, it might be Wattpad, since they have mobile apps that make it easy for people to read your stories. WriteOn isn't in the running, since it's still in beta and is closed off from all non-member readers. 

Getting Feedback
WriteOn: I've gotten the best feedback on WriteOn so far, hands down. Perhaps it's because of the site culture that they've been trying to inculcate, plus the fact that authors can customise their feedback requests (you can tick areas "e.g. characters, plot, proofread" AND include a personal message "hey, I think my MC is whiny, what do you think?"). But I don't know why, on average, my feedback received on WriteOn has been the most helpful and longest. You can request feedback in the "Ask and ye shall receive" subforum. This may change when WriteOn goes out of beta, although I'm very optimistic by the discussion about how to encourage good feedback taking place in the forums.

Wattpad: I don't actually recall getting feedback. From my impression, Wattpad is for your nice, polished stories (despite what the site says in their interview with The Verge), not for getting beta feedback. Of course, it's possible that in certain genres that I don't write in (like fanfiction), Wattpad may be good to get beta-readers.

Figment: The second-best feedback I've gotten is from Figment. Some members make it a point to leave detailed, useful feedback, while others just give general encouragement. You can also request feedback in the forums.

Winner: WriteOn, followed by Figment. This order may change when WriteOn comes out of beta, but who knows. Wattpad is trailing behind. 

WriteOn: Apart from an active forum, WriteOn has what they call Feedback Fridays, where you participate by reading someone's book, giving feedback, and having others give feedback to you. It's all managed through the weekly thread. There's also Thank You Tuesday, started by Katie Adee, who gave the best feedback ever (and she wrote pretty fantastic children's stories), where you're reminded to thank your readers and reviewers in your status. They're also getting a few authors to come in now and then to do interviews and give feedback on member stories, which is really awesome and helpful. And, they just started a bookclub to give members who have completed their novels beta readers. Ok, I started it, after getting permissions from the mods. I heard something about genre-specific clubs coming up in the future.

WriteOn mod squad/team: Oh, and I can't not mention the WriteOn team. They've been extremely receptive to feedback, with one active subforum for member complaints/bugs found. And it's not just talk, we've had changes suggested by members implemented. If they keep this up, WriteOn will really develop into an awesome community.

Wattpad: I'm not really on there, so I can't say, but they seem to have annual contests, like the Wattys. And of course, the aforementioned famous authors putting their books up (although I've not heard anything about them giving feedback). Depending on your genre, their contents might be your thing.

Figment: I know of Figment ambassadors and several contests, as well as a prompt of the day. The contests tend to generate a lot of swap requests (more for hearts than anything), but that's only natural, I think. There are also excerpts of novels there.

Winner: Depends on whether you're more of a reader or writer. Writeon's extra features are geared more to writers, while Wattpad seems geared to readers. Figment is probably closer to the writer segment, although quite a few of their contests seem to be to promote new releases. 

So, which is the site for you? It depends on whether you want readers or feedback. For feedback, I really reccomend WriteOn, especially if you do not write in YA (WriteOn has a lot more different types of writers that can give feedback). Wattpad is the established go-to site to get readers, so if you have a polished permafree, you might want to put it there. Figment is very much like Wattpad to me, only easier to create stories, so between Wattpad and Figment, I'll choose Figment. But for now, my writing site is WriteOn, for the feedback I've gotten.

Note: While I'm totally recommending WriteOn now, please keep in mind that this is my experience of WriteOn in beta. As more people join, the tone and culture of the site is going to change (I've already noticed some changes, as have a few members that joined even earlier). It might become something like Wattpad in the end, it might be like Figment, but it might (and I hope it does) remain like it is now.

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