Canadian online writing platform Wattpad is expanding into publishing adult books. The company has announced the launch of W by Wattpad Books, a new adult imprint that will publish a series of books based on popular stories that originated on the Wattpad platform. The initial focus is on commercial and romance fiction. The imprint will be run by Tina McIntyre, head of Wattpad Books North America, and she will be joined by Deanna McFadden, publishing director, who will focus on editorial and acquisitions.
Wattpad started publishing YA novels in 2019 and has published 36 titles, using its internal database of information to highlight popular stories on the site, which are then developed for publication.
The new adult imprint is a natural extension of Wattpad's publishing mission, as much of its early user base who were young when they joined the site have now aged into adulthood. The first W by Wattpad Books titles will be published in February 2022, and will include Lockdown on London Lane by Beth Reekles, which follows five friends through a week of quarantine during the 2020 pandemic. Reekles is best known as the author of The Kissing Booth, which was initially published on Wattpad when she was 15-years old and was subsequently turned into a Netflix movie.
Four more titles will follow, including the romance novels Drive by Tamara Lush and Out of His League by Caroline A. Richardson; the LGBTQUIA+ paranormal romance Lead Me Astray by Sondi Warner; and Stiletto Sisterhood by Fallon DeMornay, about five twentysomething friends pursuing their dreams. The adult list, like the YA titles, will be distributed by Macmillan.
“There are hundreds of millions of incredible stories on Wattpad, and our work in YA has barely scratched the surface of must-read stories and talent on the platform,” Ashleigh Gardner, deputy general manager at Wattpad Studios, Publishing, said. “W by Wattpad Books is the next step in the natural evolution of our publishing program. Over and over we’ve seen fans age up with the genres they love, following their favorite authors and stories to new adult settings in college or the workplace."
Earlier this year, Wattpad was acquired by Korea's Naver for more than $600 million in cash and stock.