In the latest book acquisition to come from Wattpad, the popular online writing and reading community, Simon & Schusters’s Gallery Books imprint has acquired After, a three volume novel serialized on the site by Anna Todd, in a mid-six figure deal that includes world and audio rights. The new adult series was acquired by S&S’s Adam Wilson in an auction brokered by Wattpad’s head of content, publishing Ashleigh Gardner.
The first book in the three volume series will be released in print and e-book editions beginning in November 2014 with subsequent volumes released in January and March of 2015. The original version of the novel will remain on Wattpad.
Todd began writing After on Wattpad a little more than a year ago and the book has grown into a phenomenon attracting more than 800 million reads on the Wattpad site. The book has also garnered Todd a large following on social media. In April this year, Wattpad signed a deal with UTA, the talent agency, to represent film and TV rights for the novel.
The novel is the latest book deal to come out of Wattpad—Beth Reekles, Brittany Geragotellis and Nikki Kelly among them. Wattpad has become a magnet for young writers looking to attract feedback on their writing. The site is also partnering with a number of major publishers to use Wattpad to build followings for other authors.
Gardner told PW that S&S is also a Wattpad partner and the house uses the site to post the works of the popular novelist team Christina Lauren as well as the works of V.C. Andrews. But Gardner said that Todd’s popularity (800 million reads) goes beyond anything they’ve seen in the past—Geragotellis’s early Life’s A Witch novels had about 16 million reads.
“She began writing on Wattpad and didn’t plan to do a novel but it became a big thing very quickly. We noticed it,” Gardner said. After, Gardner said, was the first thing Todd has ever written. The book is the story of a young girl going away to college for the first time, Gardner said, “first time away from home and navigating life and she falls for a bad boy and discovers who she is.”
Wilson, the acquiring editor, told PW “the book is very long, so we’ll edit it down and get to the core of the story. We’re committed to keeping the story people know but we want to reach traditional readers as well.” Gallery Books is publishing the book fairly quickly. “[Publishing this quickly] is not for every book but we have lots of fan-fiction writers and we’re familiar with the Wattpad community,” Wilson said. “We’ve learned to publish quickly when it comes to self-published authors.”