Penguin Random House is to publish Wattpad Books’ launch list into the UK this autumn.
The Toronto-headquartered user-generated story platform announced the launch of its new publishing division Wattpad Books in January. The division will use "data-driven publishing", using data gleaned from Wattpad’s 70 million global community, aiming “to identify the trends, voices and stories that are the future of publishing.”
Wattpad is working with Macmillan as its official sales and distribution partner in the US, a role Raincoast Books will play in Canada. But in the UK, Wattpad’s launch list of six YA titles will be published by Penguin Random House Children’s, under PRH’s own branding and copyright.
Philippe Bartscher, strategy director at Penguin Random House UK, said: “Wattpad is a very active community for readers, writers and book-lovers. Wattpad are highly innovative with their technology, marketing and insights, particularly with regards to a Young Adult readership, and we hope we can learn much from each other during our collaboration.” PRH Children’s Books m.d. Francesca Dow added: “We are excited to be collaborating with Wattpad to bring the stand-out Young Adult novels from the millions of uploads written on the platform to the UK and other territories in the English language. This new publishing strand sits alongside our existing list of the very best, ground-breaking books and authors, diversifying and enriching our young adult publishing in a very exciting way.”
The publisher said Wattpad would introduce “diverse, new and undiscovered voices to book lovers everywhere”, adding: “Readers will find new genres, category-bending spins on traditional genres, narratives that tackle the experiences and struggles of marginalised communities, and stories that speak to the diversity of Wattpad’s global community online.”
To date, Wattpad Books has announced six titles for its autumn 2019 list and six for winter 2020. In the UK, PRH Children’s will bring out three books in paperback and e-book editions (£7.99/£2.99) on 17th September: The QB Bad Boy & Me by Tay Marley (a student set on a dance scholarship to escape Colorado, then the bad-boy star quarterback from the football team crashes into her life), which has gleaned over 29 million reads on Wattpad; Trapeze by UK writer Leigh Ansell (a tragic accident compels a 17-year-old trapeze artist to leave her aunt’s circus behind), over 2.6 million reads; and What Happened That Night by Deanna Cameron (Clara has always been in love with the neighbourhood golden boy, so why did her older sister kill him?), over 1.2 million reads.
Three more titles follow in October: Cupid’s Match by UK writer Lauren Palphreyman (in a world where everyone has their perfect match, Lila learns that her match is the banished god of love, Cupid, himself), which has totalled close to 50 million reads on Wattpad; Saving Everest by Sky Chase (a high school senior is suffering and suicidal, but his life is changed by a friendship, which then turns to love), over 19.2 million reads; and I’m a Gay Wizard by V S Santoni (a gay teen and his trans best friend perform a vengeance spell against a group of bullies and find themselves whisked away to Marduk Institute, a school for wayward wizards), 545,000-plus reads.
Ashleigh Gardner, deputy general manager at Wattpad Studios, said: “Wattpad Books is about creating real, meaningful space for diverse voices and their stories on bookshelves, in bookstores and in libraries. These stories already have a massive readership, with passionate fans who have spent hundreds of millions of minutes with these stories on Wattpad. We’re thrilled to work with Penguin Random House UK to bring these stories to bookshelves in the UK.”