As a long-time self-help writer on Wattpad, I’ve put out a ton of advice over the years, but as my blog has taken off, I’ve been getting more and more questions from non-Wattpad authors who want to become authors, and they want to know where to start. There are many publishing services where you can put up your books for free or for money. In order to help grow my user base, I’ve even used many of them.
This is a guide to what I’ve learned about each Web novel hosting service I’ve used and my typical impressions of these services. If you have finished or have started a Webnovel, and want to know the best place to publish it, you can use my words to help you just a bit. However, I warn you, this is just my impressions of things, and they are not always accurate. Some of these services I only used briefly. Some, I’ve used years ago. Some, I’ve only used for very specific goals. Other people likely have different experiences.
I also must give a warning that I don’t really know about niches I don’t work in. I can tell you my experiences about the kind of things I write, but I can’t tell you where the best LGBTQ books are, since I don’t read them, and I couldn’t help you with mystery books because I don’t read those. I also won’t mention fanfiction.net or translations. Original novels are my tastes. Thus… this is mostly going to focus on my interests: science fiction, fantasy, erotica, and the supernatural.
I’ve written an entire other essay on why Webnovel is just the worst place ever. If you have any desire to monetize your work, this is the worst place to do it in. They censor your words, including words associated with monetary requests. They allow extremely erotic content but will censor any inappropriate words within that content.
However, if you just want your work read, this is an okay place. The interface could use some love, and overall formatting control is almost zilch. You won’t be able to advertise yourself, link to other websites, ask for Patreon support, sell your books, or do anything else that you’d normally want to do when trying to grow your base. The only thing you do get… is a fair amount of views.
Unless you’ve cut a deal with Webnovel to publish for them and collect money from “gems”, they are not the best place to earn anything. Very few readers will support authors outside of the gem system that is set up there. As far as comments, they are a mixed bag, but generally positive.
The important thing about Inkstone is that you release frequently and in large numbers. Unless you plan to release 5 times a week minimum and plan over 100 chapters, I wouldn’t even bother. This is a service that thrives on a constant stream of readily available chapters. If that isn’t the kind of writer you are, this place isn’t for you.
Wattpad is a social platform and learning community almost as much as it is a writing community. Few people on Wattpad are skilled, experienced, published authors. Most are just getting their start and using Wattpad as a sort of proving ground that they can handle it. The website is known for being heavily populated by females between 13-20. There is a lot of fanfiction on the website, usually centered around a popular boy band. There is also plenty of werewolf and vampire fiction.
There is a little something for everyone there, including Wattpad After Dark, their erotic section. It has an app which has always been glitchy for me, and a website which has also always been glitchy for me. I’ve used Wattpad for five years, and for five years I’ve dealt with streams of glitches. There is always something on the website going wrong, and features that should be intuitive are not.
Furthermore, the site advertisements can be pretty intrusive and annoying, and literally will break up the text of a book to make you look at it. This wasn’t always the case, but Wattpad has sort of slipped in the last few years, even introducing a microtransaction system similar to Webnovel.
As far as profits go, most Wattpaders won’t support authors financially. Rather, the trading system seems to be reads for readers, where you star someone’s work and comment to get them to star your work and comment. Unless your story really takes off, don’t expect it to get much buzz. It takes a lot of work to get noticed on Wattpad and almost certainly involves you socializing a lot in the forums and doing things to get people invested in your stories.
If you write very short chapters, it is not uncommon to see people with 500 word to 1000-word chapters. Furthermore, the community is generally quite positive, with only a little bit of ranting in the forums and various “rant books” which are also popular on Wattpad.
To date, I still like Wattpad’s interface well enough. Its app is not as good as Webnovel. If you’re catering to women, this is the place to try. Cliched romances do the best on this site. If your writing is really bad, don’t worry, you’ll fit along fine with the Wattpad community, as most writers are in the high school range.
If you could say Wattpad was for teenage girls, then Royal Road is for teenage boys. Where teen romances do well on Wattpad, Royal Road is about wish-fulfillment fantasies. Usually, a teen boy becomes powerful in some way and then shows up all his bullies and what not.
Unlike most on this list, Royal Road does not tolerate too much ero. It has no Booksie silk, Wattpad after dark alternative service for adult-themed content. In fact, overall, even stories that try to use sex to sell are often looked down on by the commenters there.
One good thing about Royal Road is the extreme extent they take to keep stolen content from being posted on their site. They will check, and often make you go to extreme degrees to prove a work hosted somewhere else is yours before they will let you host it. It’s a shame they don’t put that same effort the other direction, as anyone can right-click and copy the text and steal it from their site without any precautions.
Wattpad and even Webnovel both go to the extent of trying to protect words from being easily taken, but Royal Road does not.
Royal Road appreciates reliable releases. They also are a site for “self-help”, and if you don’t take their help, they actually get kind of angry. As many of you know, I don’t usually “correct” my spelling and grammar other than big plot holes until I put out my ebook, giving those things reasons to exist. So, I’ve had people get angry at me for not taking all their microedits and admittedly applying them to my story.
If you’re someone looking to interact with the users, they have pre and post author’s notes built into their post submission, as well as easy to use polls. I should note though that of all the websites I’ve used, commenters on Royalroad are some of the least helpful. Fixing spelling errors and “Thank you for the chapter.” are the only two comments a Royalroader ever seems to make. That said, if you do want someone to critique your work, royal roads is a good place for it as long as you ask.
Also, if you have desires to spread your name and monetize, it includes a PayPal and Patreon button integrated into every chapter. Anyone who wants to make a comment must also scroll across your author’s information if they wish to comment. I consider that a plus.
There are a few minor complaints. The fanbase can get a little toxic and downright mean if you don’t do things the “Royalroad” way, and not all of the tools are intuitive and easy to follow. However, it’s a decent publisher all the same.
I actually really like scribble hub. It’s a lot like Royal Road, except that it does allow erotica into its lists too. Like royal road, it includes buttons for supporting paypal and Patreon. Any new story is given a bit of time on the latest series homepage to give it the power to pick up steam, and then getting on a trending list isn’t too difficult.
The algorithm supports steady releases, so if you want to be seen, you’ll need to pump out 5 chapters a week minimum (or just be really popular). That said, Scribblehub isn’t a giant place, and even being on the top ten list isn’t going to net you tons of reads. I’ve had a book on the top ten for nearly 2 months, and that ended up netting me only about 200,000 views. That might seem impressive to some of you, but you can net millions of views on Webnovel. On that note, my own website gets ½ million views a month.
One of the biggest problems with Scribblehub is the trolls. If you do make it on the top ten trending list, other authors will use troll accounts to try to smack talk your book, and even go so far as to downvote it to try to knock you off the list. The commenters can be downright toxic at times, and get real indignant if you decide to make a change at all.
Most commenters have a “shit happens” attitude and understand if an author needs to change releases or whatever. Scribblehub is one of the few places where some people seem to feel like they’re personally wronged by this action.
I should also make the note that I’ve had 4 stories stolen from me so far. Three of them were taken off of the blog I started out on, machineslicedbread.xyz, which doesn’t make this list because it’s kind of niche. The last one was taken from Scribblehub. However, the person who took it from Scribblehub actually gave me credit for it. So…. You know… what’s that saying… they’re assholes, but not 100% dick.
Booksie is getting into the area of sites I only have a passing experience with. I did not like Bookie during the time I used it. I thought the interface was meh. It’s a reading writing community. I personally feel it’s geared for romance novelists and adults just on the cusp of trying to write their own content.
Booksie Silk is their sex-filled half, but once again, this is mostly for romance novels geared towards women.
This website is way more hardcore. This is for people devoted to wanting to be in writing groups and exchanging reviews and such. It had a karma system that sort of encourages participation. If you purely are looking for fellow authors to befriend and write a manuscript alongside, this is probably the best place for it. Don’t expect to build a fanbase or make money from this site.
The longest-running erotic fiction website on the internet, and still looks the same as it did back in 96′. Literotica is a site to read porn. The interface is shiet, as is the means of reading, but it’s been around forever and damned if it isn’t the place most people go to read smut.
There is very little you can do to advertise yourself on Literotica. Other than Webnovel, this is the only other place that makes any external links near impossible. You’ll get a lot of hits and views, but whether you can turn that into fans and followers is unlikely. Few people come looking for more than a quick tug, and information requires them to go out of there way to find it.
On that note, you’d think short chapters would be appreciated, but they aren’t. This is oddly a website where the readers expect most chapters to be >6000 words. On average, 10,000-word chapters do best on Literotica. Yeah, I think that’s nuts too, but that’s all there is to it.
I also found Literotica’s comments section to be 90% negative. You kind of have to expect it here. Negative comments are the ones people are most likely to make, and no one wants to go out of their way to make a positive comment on their jerkoff material.
I was referred to this site, so I figured I’d mention it. CHYOA is a choose your own adventurer erotica website. It’s built around the concept of choice. Every chapter ends with you posing a question. You can write all the choices yourself, or you can wait for other people to do it. Basically, it’s social writing at it’s best, allowing anyone who wants to to carry on any story to do so. There isn’t much on here to benefit the individual author, but if you had hopes of crowd sourcing a story, this is your best option.
This is supposedly a thing. I’ve tried to do it a few times and it seems fundamentally broken. At the moment, it’s mostly just a forum where some people post their stuff for some reason. The views on it are abysmal and so far there is only one novel (from what I can see) that made it into the front page. As to who the author is, I have no information given other than the words “Translator: daman”, so is it a translation or an original? I don’t know. Wuxia World was last on my list by chance, but it’d probably be last on my list in actuality too. You’d be better off posting literally anywhere else at the moment.