Publisher Sourcebooks and social writing site Wattpad team up to bring Wattpad authors into print

Independent publisher Sourcebooks and writing community site Wattpad announced a broad partnership Thursday where both companies will work to promote each other’s authors.

First, as part of Wattpad’s recently announced crowdfunding program, Sourcebooks will publish select titles by Wattpad authors as print and ebooks under its young adult imprint, Sourcebooks Fire, and will distribute them in bricks-and-mortar stores and online. Sourcebooks is signing contracts directly with the authors of the books, not with Wattpad, but the books will have Wattpad branding and the original content will remain free on Wattpad’s site.

The first two titles, set to be published in Winter/Spring 2014, are My Life with the Walter Boys, a contemporary romance by Ali Novak that has been read over 22 million times on Wattpad, and The Cellar, a mystery by Natasha Preston that has been read over 6 million times. Fans will get to vote on the books’ covers and name characters, and Wattpad’s crowdfunding function “will drive preorders” for the books.

“We are incredibly excited about bringing Wattpad writers into the Sourcebooks family and providing new opportunities for our existing authors to engage with new audiences,” Sourcebooks publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah said in a statement. “This partnership is all about helping connect talented authors with readers.”

Other parts of Sourcebooks and Wattpad’s partnership: Sourcebooks will be a sponsor of Wattpad’s 2013 “Watty Awards,” which are designed to showcase the site’s most popular content, and “Sourcebooks will be developing channels for top Wattpad writers to have their stories secure traditional retail distribution in print and ebook formats.” Also, some Sourcebooks writers will be posting content free on Wattpad in a special promotional channel.

Sourcebooks, which is based outside Chicago, is one of the country’s largest independent publishers, publishing over 300 new titles a year. Wattpad, based in Toronto, has over 16 million members and has raised $21 million in funding.