There are a variety of sites on which authors can showcase their work and get feedback from readers. At one of the biggest, Wattpad, readers can comment on your work, follow you, and vote for their favorites.
The site is geared mostly toward fiction for teens and young adults. One of the stars of Wattpad is Jerilee Kaye. She had more than ten million readers and more than 11,000 comments for Knight in Shining Suit, her chick-lit/romance novel.
That attracted attention from some traditional publishers, but she decided to go the independent route. She self-published the ebook using Smashwords (a popular self-publishing site), with a price of $2.99. She left ten chapters on Wattpad as a sample and to ensure the book’s continued presence on the site. She also created a trade paperback edition with CreateSpace (an arm of Amazon).
If ten million people had already read it on Wattpad for free, would there be anybody left to buy it?
The answer was a resounding yes. It is one of Smashwords’ top twenty-five bestselling titles ever. That didn’t happen by accident, though. Kaye told Publishers Weekly that getting reviews from bloggers, advertising on Goodreads and doing a paperback giveaway with them, and interacting with her readers online all were critical to her success. She also posted more material on Wattpad, which found new readers, some of whom then bought her book.
This is not the usual experience for a self-published author but it shows that having had free exposure for a book on a site like Wattpad can work for you rather than against you.