LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A young author has created a sensation with a book about One Direction singer Harry Styles, and Hollywood wants a piece of it.
A little over a year and a half ago, Anna Todd, 25, was working as a waitress, unsure about what to do with her life.
“I used to tell my husband if I could get paid to read, I would be set. I never thought I could actually write something that anyone would like or want to read,” she said.
Inspired by her favorite boyband, Todd started writing a coming of age story, titled “After,” and posted it online.
Slowly, she gained followers on literature-sharing website WattPad. And eventually, her readership exploded.
“I remember when I got a million reads, and it was just totally insane. I think that’s when I was like, wow, this is big. This is huge,” she remembered.
It was only the beginning. Todd’s reads today clock in at over 1 billion according to the young author, who still looks squeamish at the thought.
“It’s totally crazy to even say it. Every time I say it, I have the same reaction,” she said.
The small-town girl married to her high school sweetheart is now represented by a Hollywood agent, has signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster and is in talks about bringing her story to the big screen.
She was in town for Social Media Week Los Angeles on Tuesday and recalled being stunned when she got a phone call from her now-editor, based in New York.
“I was writing and then my pen just kind of like slides off the paper. I still am in shock really,” she said.
Todd has no formal training but has hundreds and thousands of followers on social media.
Shawn Gold, with WattPad, says online self-publishing, combined with social media, is making stars out of everyday people.
“Those walls are all being broken down. It’s really creating a democratized platform where anybody can become famous. Anybody can get a book deal and anybody can get a movie deal,” Gold said.
For now, Todd has no plans to move to Los Angeles.
The first of her four books is scheduled for release in October.