27 October 2014

When Harry Hardin Met Anna

Anna Todd’s After is taking the English-language publishing industry’s exploration of fanfiction to the edge of legality.

Originally published on Wattpad as a series of erotic adventures with Harry Styles of the pop group One Direction, the 2,500-page saga is being republished by Simon & Schuster as a series of erotic adventures with…a college boy named Hardin.

According to the Washington Post, Todd first wanted to keep using the names of the One Direction singers:
“I felt like, ‘Are you sure we have to do this? Can’t we just give Harry Styles all the money?’” Todd said in an interview.
But the S&S legal team rightly said no. The singers have whatever rights to control their public images that they haven’t already signed away to Simon Cowell.

What’s more, Todd’s original text might be considered libelous. Though Harry Styles is “the cute one” in One Direction, in her story the male lead is a boozing, lecherous bad boy—something a lot of Styles’s fans have resented.

The New York Times reported some additional changes for the print edition: “leaner punctuation and some extra content — mostly added and extended sex scenes.” So, given One Direction’s popularity with teen-aged girls, there’s a third minefield: potential complaints about selling pornography to minors.

Meanwhile, Todd’s original files remain intact on Wattpad for free instead of $64. This is quite an publishing experiment to watch.

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