Today I’m pleased to welcome fellow Wattpadre author (Wattpadres is a group of 12 Wattpad authors) Darly Jamison to the blog. I hope you enjoy learning about Wattpad from Darly and don’t forget to check out her book!
My journey on Wattpad began in the early morning hours of February 20, 2014 after reading an author’s bio that mentioned the site. The idea of millions of stories available to read for free completely intrigued me, and when I discovered anyone could upload content I quickly opened my account.
I lurked around for quite a while, reading and just trying to figure out what made the place tick. Then one day, I decided to dive into a story of my own. I’d had a couple of ideas rolling around inside my head and now I finally had a place to put them. Growing up, I’d always dreamed of writing but figured something like that would never be possible. My college education consisted mainly of journalism and medical courses, how would someone like me ever be able to write a story?
But I did! The first novella I added to Wattpad, Chasing Neverland, is complete at about 26,000 words, and my second, Strawberry Wine, came in around 38,000 words. I had actually done it. I’d completed two short stories and low and behold, I even had a few readers! That’s when things became interesting.
My third story, The Secret, inspired by the movie Sleeping with the Enemy, finished at nearly 60,000 words and today has over three and a half million views. It also won a 2014 HQ Love Watty Award which came as a huge surprise! Readers became so involved in that story they asked for a sequel, which is now complete as well. It’s called Secrets and Lies. The feedback I receive from readers and writing friends is invaluable, and every story I add feels stronger than the last. And right now that’s my goal: to improve my craft.
My biggest accomplishment to date came when I added my story Strawberry Wine into a contest sponsored by Wattpad and Kensington Publishing. I didn’t think anything would come of it. In fact, I felt silly after submitting. After all, I was a novice writer! But several weeks later, after Wattpad readers voted on their favorite submission, I found out Strawberry Wine had made it into the finals. I couldn’t believe it! Yet still … I didn’t think I stood a chance at winning the grand prize, a publishing contract with Kensington, so I forced the entire competition out of my mind.
When I received the congratulatory message in my inbox from Kensington on April 13, 2015, I thought I was dreaming. I walked away from my computer and then came back only to find the message still there. Then I logged out of Wattpad and logged back in and the message was still there! All I could do was stare. How in the world had they chosen me as the winner? I had read some of the submissions … they were amazing. I figured it had to be a mistake, or worse — someone’s idea of a cruel joke. I remember calling my husband at work and the first thing he asked was, “Did you hear about the contest?” He actually remembered the date the winner was to be announced even though I’d made it a point to forget. I told him about the message I received and he yelled out to the guys at work, “She won”! On one hand I was horrified he had told people my secret (no one in my real life, other than him, knew I’d started writing) but on the other hand, I was touched that he cared about it as much as he did.
I contacted the editor assigned to me and wrote everything she said down … and it’s a good thing I did because that conversation is a blur! She told me I would need to add 40,000 words to the original manuscript because it was not long enough to be considered a romance novel, and she advised me to start a Facebook page and Twitter account, along with a website and blog. To be honest, I walked around in a daze for the first couple of weeks. I was so overwhelmed! But Kensington has been so helpful and supportive. They’ve welcomed me into their family and I feel so lucky to be working with them.
Strawberry Wine is set to be released on January 31st, 2017. I recently had the opportunity to view the new cover and it’s beautiful — the art department did an amazing job! I can’t wait to share it with the world.
I still have to pinch myself when I think about everything! To know that my book will soon be sitting on the shelves of stores like Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million never fails to bring a tear to my eye. And the kindness and encouragement I have received from Wattpad and readers and writers alike is humbling. None of this would be happening without their support.
Recently, my editor asked me to pitch another story idea, perhaps even a series based in the town where Strawberry Wine takes place. Nothing is set in stone but it sounds promising!
I still can’t believe this is happening, but it is. And my publication story is only one of many. Finding Wattpad has changed my life. It can change yours, too.
About the Author:
Darly Jamison is a Midwestern girl who lived as a Southern Belle in a previous life. She has an incurable addiction to John Hughes movies and is possibly the only person in the history of the world to be fired from the library for reading on the job.
When not writing, Darly can be found hanging out with her husband and children or trying to perfect her chocolate cheesecake recipe. Her debut novel Strawberry Wine will be released through Kensington Publishing January 31st, 2017.