Let me start by saying that I have mixed feelings about Wattpad. It seems like a great idea in terms of building a fanbase, but it comes at the cost of sacrificing being paid for that particular work.
This is the crux of my quandary with Wattpad. I don't want to give away good work for free when I know I could be selling it. I feel like I would be putting the "second string" line of stories up on there. And that comes with a little bit of risk.
On one hand, I could find people really like my also-ran stories and flock to my "good" ones that I'm selling on Amazon. But more likely, I'm not putting out enough quality work on Wattpad to generate interest for anyone to want to pay for the better stuff.
I believe that every artist has an innate sense of when something is truly good versus work that isn't quite as good. Music albums are filled up with mediocre or middling songs spread around the "hits" on the record. I have no doubt that the artist is keenly aware of which songs are likely to be a big hit the minute the song is created. The same thing goes with my work. I know when something is excellent, and I know when it's passable.
And I just can't bring myself to give away anything great.
But I'm at a point where my sales are pretty flat and I have to try some more drastic marketing strategies to get my name out there. There's no point in writing anything great if no one knows about it. I probably have to drop one of my better works out there for free on Wattpad for the sake of trying to gather some more followers.
As with all my ventures, there is a careful balance to be struck in terms of time. I can't afford to spend too much time on things that have no quantifiable way to measure their value. I just don't have much time to spare, and I don't feel like I have much of a guarantee that publishing on Wattpad will pay off the way I'd like it to.
I am going to start off on Wattpad with some stories that I have already published for free on my website. These are not my best work (though some are pretty good). From there, I'm going to progress through an "organic" stage, where I see how much traffic I get just leaving it sit there; then a "promotional" stage, when I'll advertise it a little on Twitter. I'll post back the results in an update in a few weeks.
I'll probably try a few of the integrations as well, putting it out through Smashwords and Goodreads as well, to see what happens. At this point, I don't have much to lose. At least maybe I can help set some expectations for others looking to make the same plunge into the world of giving your work away.
I learn something new everyday.