This week, Wattpad began posting book excerpts from writers who will be featured at Toronto’s International Festival of Authors, billing it as the “first-ever Online Festival.” So far, samples of Carrie Snyder’s Girl Runner, Paulo Coelho’s Adultery, Ian Hamilton’s The King of Shanghai, and others are posted at wattpad.com/IFOA.
The Online Festival will run throughout October until Oct. 23, when the (IRL) IFOA begins at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. “As part of the Online Festival, Wattpad will feature a different IFOA author every day and promote their works to its global community of 35 million readers and writers…. [The site] will be used to promote featured Online Festival authors as well as IFOA readings, round table discussions, interviews, and performance,” Wattpad says in a statement.
Two of the company’s most successful authors, Anna Todd and Emily Lindin, will participate in a Harbourfront Centre panel discussion on writing in the digital age on Oct. 30, along with Sina Queyras and Emily Gould.
This is Wattpad’s first appearance at IFOA, and is part of what appears to be a push to integrate into mainstream publishing culture. In a panel discussion on publishing at Word on the Street Toronto last weekend, Wattpad publishing marketing manager Caitlin O’Hanlon said that when she began working for the company three years ago, “we could barely get publishers to return our emails.” This year, the company facilitated a six-figure publishing deal for One Direction fan-fiction writer Anna Todd with Simon & Schuster, and is appearing at literary festivals across the country.