Children’s author Jeff Norton has launched his new novel Star Pressed on Wattpad rather than going down the traditional publishing route.
Norton pitched said he initially pitched the book at publishers but got the impression the story was “too diverse” for their tastes.
“One of the lead characters is wheelchair-bound and Indian. There’s an "ethnic Martian” character who is from a monosexual world and is affronted by the idea of male and female mating, an Egyptian boy king, and our two lead characters Andra and Grunge are rubbish heap scroungers,” he said. “All of this takes place in a future where India is the dominant force on the planet and everyone speaks in a mix of English and Hindi.”
He was also encouraged by his previous experience of releasing the first novel in his MetaWars series on Wattpad, even though the book was also published by Hachette Children’s Books.
MetaWars: Fight for the Future gained more than 340,000 reads on Wattpad, and posting the book online led to interest from film and TV partners, as well as increase e-book sales for the sequels, according to Norton.
With Star Pressed, Norton hopes the response on Wattpad will lead to more commercial opportunities.
“Star Pressed has had phenomenal interest from broadcasters and we’re in the process of lining up the right partners and putting the financial package together to make the show,” he said. “My hope is that readers will discover the book via Wattpad and then once the show launches, a new tranche of fans will fall in love with the characters and seek out the book to go deeper into the story world. And at that point, I expect Star Pressed will find a print publisher.”