Stephanie here! I'm super excited to have Ashley Royer on the blog today. Ashley's debut novel, Remember To Forget, just released. Ashley is seventeen, and when I read her story about how she became a published author, I begged for an interview.
I've lost track of the amount of times I've been asked if publishing stories on public sites like Wattpad is a good idea, and with the ever-changing industry, I've struggled to keep up on the "right" answer. So if you've been wondering if you should publish stories on Wattpad or if fan fiction is a waste of your time, I think you'll find Ashley's story very interesting:
your website, you tell the story of how you started out writing fan fiction on Wattpad. For those who don't know, could you summarize it for us?
I started writing on Wattpad in 2012 after one of my friend’s told me about the site. I had no idea how fanfiction or Wattpad worked, but I decided to write a story of my own. I wasn’t expecting any reads, so it was really surprising when my first story gained hundreds of reads within the first week. Those hundreds turned into millions.
I started writing on Wattpad because I wanted to share my stories with others. I wanted to share stories that people could connect to and learn something from, whether it was about themselves or life in general. I had written the beginning of stories, but never did anything with them. At the time, I loved One Direction and I loved writing, so what could be better than combining the two?
In 2014, I started writing Remember to Forget. It deals with depression and anxiety, which I know a lot of teenagers deal with every day. I wrote RTF so I could help people get through their own problems. I tried to make the story as realistic as possible so my readers could relate and connect to the characters.
After two years on Wattpad, my mom found my account. I hadn’t told anyone about my writing except for a few close friends. It was a secret for a very long time.
Writing a story from beginning to end is a difficult thing to do. What is it about Remember To Forget that you loved so much you kept working on it?
For me, writing Remember to Forget was easy. I was very motivated and excited to write. It was my secret and I loved writing it. I would write a chapter one day a week and post it onto Wattpad. I think the reason it was so simple for me was because of my readers. On Wattpad, people can comment on the stories or message me. I love seeing people’s responses about my stories. I’m able to see what they like or dislike, and their reactions helped shape the story. It wasn’t me doing it alone, I had an extremely supportive group helping me out along the way and encouraging me to continue. Without my readers, I don’t think I would ever have finished it.
There are lots of stories on Wattpad. What do you think it is about Remember To Forget that caused it to gain so much attention?
Remember to Forget is a story that people can relate to. It touched a lot of readers quite personally, which I think is why it has gained so much attention. I constantly receive messages from people telling me how much RTF has helped them through their struggles or how they could relate to the characters as if they were their friends. It deals with common issues that people should be talking and learning more about.
What advice do you have for other writers who are considering putting their work on Wattpad or similar sites?
My advice would be to go for it! Wattpad has helped me become who I am today. I have a great support system that I can always turn to, and I’ve even made some of my closest friends from Wattpad. I’ve been able to improve my writing because I’m constantly posting. And I’ve become a more confident person all because of Wattpad! It is a great site that allows people’s imaginations to go wild and write about whatever they want. Even if you don’t get many reads, don’t give up. It’s not the numbers that matter, it’s the experience you’re having.
Ashley, thanks so much for sharing your story with us!
You can learn more about Ashley and Remember To Forget on Ashley's website.