Sunday, January 4, 2015

Anna Todd's "After" Series: A Wattpad Success Story

Have you heard of Wattpad? Having a teen daughter helps keep me in the proverbial loop, but in case you haven't heard of it I'll give you the short version. Wattpad is an app that allows users to read, write, and share stories. So basically it's a free platform for budding writers and anyone interested in reading their work. When Bethany first told me about Wattpad, specifically that she is using it during her daily free reading time at school, I was a little skeptical. Okay, actually I rolled my eyes and implored my child to read a "real" book. But then my mind was abruptly changed.

I received a package in the mail with a book inside: After, by Anna Todd. My mind was immediately blown by that statement you can see on the picture of the cover up above: "1 billion reads online." That's B-illion, with a B, which is a massive number for ANY book, let alone one that was created on an app. Sick in bed with the flu, I read After in one day. Then I immediately ordered book #2 in the four part series, After We Collided, and read that the next day.

And then, you guessed it, I wasted no time ordering book #3, After We Fell. I was a little dismayed that it was a pre-order, and I had to wait a few days for it to be delivered to my Kindle. I've been distracted by life and haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but it's on the agenda for this week. These are 500+ page books, and I'm devouring them in binges.

The fourth and final book in the series, After Ever Happy, is due to be released next month on February 24th. I already know I'll be ordering it.

My point is, these books are good. And they were created on an app. Who'd have thunk it?

So who is the face behind the After series? Anna Todd, a young military wife and first time author.

The series actually falls into the category of fan fiction, which I'll admit I had to Google because I wasn't really sure what it meant. Fan fiction is when writers create fiction based on characters that already exist or real people. A famous example would be the Fifty Shades series, which is actually Twilight fan fiction. Having read all the Fifty Shades books and the Twilight books, I can't see the connection, but my understanding is that the characters (or real life people) provide the seed, or inspiration, and then the writer just takes off on whatever imaginary tangent they can dream up.

Todd is a huge One Direction fan and based her series on a fictionalized depiction of band member Harry Styles. In the printed version of the books, his name has been changed to Hardin Scott, and he is the bad boy love interest of naive college student, Tessa. The series is sexy (R rated), well-written, and fun to read. And get this...Todd wrote it all on her phone! Simon & Schuster, impressed with After's massive success on Wattpad, picked it up and turned it into a 4-book (expanded and revised) series. Paramount has acquired the film rights, so be on the lookout for After on the big screen.

What I find interesting about Todd's writing is that she created the books with ongoing, daily feedback from her readers and fans. Traditional book writing will never end (I have to believe), but this kind of interactive writing is not going anywhere either. Kids these days don't do anything without constant interaction with their peers, so why should writing a book be any different?

Find Anna Todd on Wattpad as Imaginator1D, on Twitter as @Imaginator1Dx, and on Instagram as Imaginator1D. Her books are available for purchase from Barnes and Noble or HERE for your e-reader.

Disclosure: I participated in the After by Anna Todd blogger campaign as a member of One2One Network. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are my own.

1 comment:

Liz Parker said...

Thank you for this - I received all 3 in the mail a few weeks ago and they are HUGE, so I was debating if I should review them or not. Sounds like they're worth reading, though!