Q1: Hi, Karim! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Karim Soliman is my name. Next January, I will be 32. I live in Cairo, with a lovely wife and an adorable daughter. Marketing is my profession, writing is my obsession. When I don’t write, I watch football – I’m a big fan of Barcelona – I devour any kind of dessert or I ‘try’ to sleep.
Q2: How did you start writing and are there any big achievements that you are proud of?
My wild ride with writing started during the Curfew in Cairo, July 2013. My office was closing early, my MBA classes were held, and there were no places for hangouts with friends at night. And here came that crazy moment: let’s write something. Actually, writing had been my hobby since I was a little kid, but I had neither the time nor the motive to pursue that hobby after I had gone to college.
I was searching for writing societies or forums when my wife, who is an avid reader, told me about Wattpad. She didn’t need more than five minutes to persuade me to give it a shot. Since then, writing on Wattpad has become an addiction.
My books have enjoyed some not-so-bad rankings on the hotlists. Bermuda hit #1 in both Science Fiction and Action (during the dual-genre era ) and currently it’s added by the 5th Wave movie to one of their sponsored Wattpad reading lists. As for my other series Tales of Gorania: its 1st book The Warrior’s Path was ranked #8 in Historical Fiction and #10 in Adventure, while its sequel Rise of the Queen ranked #11 in Fantasy. Both books of the series are added by Wattpad to their sponsored reading lists.
Also, I’m currently selected by Wattpad to write for Sony Pictures a short Sci-Fi story inspired by their coming movie 5thWave. This particular project could be a small one, but I’m so proud of it.
Q3: Explain to us your concept of inviting people to read your wattpad stories. How successful is it?
The concept is simply about addressing the right audience in the right way.
Most of newly joined Wattpadders send random reading requests to random people, who could be:
a) Writers: they will ignore you, send a polite apology they don’t have time, or tell you to have a look at their profile where they clearly state: WE DON’T ACCEPT READING REQUESTS.
Some writers will request a read in return. This way could be useful only in getting feedback; I review your book, you review mine, but it won’t build a ‘real’ readership for my work.
b) Readers: they will be interested if they like books like yours. How would you know? You’d better check what they read.
But even relevant readers may ignore messages like “Check my story The Sword of the Rings”. Who doesn’t receive a dozen of daily junk mail everyday? Today’s customers tend to ignore anything that looks like an ad, because they are heavily bombarded with tons of marketing messages everywhere. That was the part I worked on; making my message sound human by customizing it as much as I can.
How successful was it? I don’t have a ratio of responses to invitations, but I know that my first book The Warrior’s Path earned 50 K reads after 13 weeks. Five weeks later it reached 100 K reads. Now you have a clue how successful it was.
Q4: Have you had complains about your method?
I remember one case in particular that was upset with my invitation, and it was my fault actually; she was a writer. I wasn’t that wise in my beginnings.
Q5: I have never tried your method, but do you still use it and if so, only for your newest books or all of your work?
Not anymore. I used it mainly for my first book The Warrior’s Path when I started with zero followers, zero reads, zero votes.
Q6: What are you working on now?
Updating ongoing sequels of two series: Rise of the Queen (Tales of Gorania #2) – a Fantasy book with a medieval flavor, and Bermuda 2: Evolution – a Sci-Fi, action-packed story with a decent dose of mystery. And when I find time in between, I work on my completed book The Warrior’s Path (Tales of Gorania #1). I’ve been rewriting it since August 2014!
Q7: Any advice to writers who might be reading this?
Patience and openness to criticism are critical success factors to take your writing to the next level. Do you know the best way to improve your writing? Write more. And always bear in mind that usually first drafts suck, but it’s important to write them first to have something to edit afterward.
Q8: Where can people find you?
Facebook Page: Karim Soliman
Q9: Thank you for sharing your strategy!
You’re welcome, Dilyana. Thanks for inviting me for this interview.
Have you read anything by Karim? Share in the comments what and whether you enjoyed it!
Not sure his books are your cup of tea? Maybe their trailers will help you decide:
~~~ An important side note from me, Dilyana: as someone who has gotten many, MANY read requests and also has a “I do NOT accept read requests anymore” sign on my wattpad profile, I must tell you, it really disappoints me that people don’t bother to read that and keep sending me requests to which I reply with no and have to explain why each time. I’ve even had people get angry and rude with me when I decline, although, I repeat – I’ve said I do not accept read requests and I’ve told them why. Don’t be such a person; DO NOT ACT THAT WAY!
You are NOT going to change my opinion; as a matter of fact, by being rude, you just lost any chance you’ve had of me helping you out on wattpad in any way, including giving you advice. If you are a wattpader, please make sure people accept read request before you ask them to check out your story and be polite!
For more on wattpad etiquette and wattpad in general, see my guide The Help Book. ~~~