25-year-old One Direction fan Anna Todd just landed a six-figure advance when Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, bought the rights to her One Direction fan fiction titled "After."
"After" imagines a bad-boy punk version of Harry Styles falling for sheltered college freshman Tessa, whose world is upended by their relationship. Todd put the story up in daily installments -- some 300 short chapters spread out across three volumes -- on the relatively new Wattpad, where it was an almost instant hit. Wattpad's Ashleigh Gardner says that even before Todd finished the first volume, "After" was registering all over the company's internal social media metrics, with fan-generated art and custom musical playlists popping up on Twitter and Instagram. When Todd mentioned "Pride and Prejudice" or "Wuthering Heights" in "After," Wattpad had spikes in the reads (how the company counts clicks) on those novels on its site. To date, "After" has notched more than 800 million reads and ended 2013 as the site's most-shared story. Wattpad reached out to Todd, helped her build her fan base during the next two volumes and guided her toward a book deal, essentially acting as her agent.