Many times, I find people on Wattpad asking me how White Stag became popular or someone venting about how a novel that isn’t very well written (in their tastes at least) has so many reads, etc. I get a lot of people asking what I’ve done to make White Stag where it is and how they can also do it too.
I’ve thought long and hard for an answer that is helpful and satisfying but I’ve realized that really, there is no magic thing one can do to have their writing be popular. Of course, there are variables that help. Being active and updating often, being friendly and engaging on the forums, promoting where it is appropriate to do so, making sure you have an alluring cover and description, practicing your writing skills so your story is appealing, etc. etc. All of these can help, but in the end the choice is down to the readers.
People read what they want to read and usually that’s a lot more subjective than we think. Sure, we have rules over what makes good writing. But those are objective rules. Someone’s personal opinion could totally disregard them–books that are considered ‘bad writing’ by a lot of people also have large fanbases. Then there are books that are great in that area but don’t have many fans.
In the end, popularity is subjective and in the control of the readers. Once you’ve done all you can to get a book out there, there’s really not much else you can do. At least, on Wattpad. I don’t wanna go down the traditional publishing rabbit hole at the moment.
So interact with your readers, reply to their comments, let them know how grateful you are for their input (even if you actually feel like throttling them because for the 99th time they’ve spelled your main character’s name wrong), and be sure to keep an open profile.
When all is said and done, there’s not much you can control in how your novel gets popular. Instead of focusing on growing the numbers, focus on the writing and those who are currently reading. I find that is the best way to get results.