The Ghost Written Girl Online

Thursday, 11 December 2014
My my my, what a week its been in terms of Zoella's new book. After becoming the fastest selling debut novel of all time, its had a little crash. After Penguin told the Sunday times that "Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own". After that, the internet erupted and it seems to have created a divide. It seems that quite a lot of people don't care whether Zoe wrote the book or not. It sold over 78'000 copies in its first week because of Zoe's enormous fan base which, she built up by herself. In theory, people would have bought the book no matter what it was about, because it has her name on it and her fans wanted to support her. The other half of people feel angry, betrayed and lied to. Zoe mentioned several times in her vlogs that she was writing a book and now we are unsure how much of it she actually wrote, if any at all. Did she do this for the money? Did she do it for the extra views? To widen her network etc etc etc. There are a lot of things we don't know the answer to. So what are my thoughts?

To be honest. I have absolutely no idea where I stand on this, and maybe I'm writing this post so that I can get all my thoughts written down. But first of all, I really don't agree with the way that Zoe has handled the situation. After all the drama came out she tweeted that she was going to be taking a few days off of the internet. and since then there has been complete radio silence from her apart from one tweet explaining that she is not quitting YouTube for good as a few reporters are saying. And to me this says 'I can't handle criticism, I'm outta here.'. I think the best thing for her to do would to make a video, explaining in detail how much of the book was written by her and how much of it was not and apologising for any confusion that may have caused.

Because despite all of this we don't know how much of the book was written by her. There was ghost writer involved for sure, but did she write the whole thing or just help bulk it out a bit. When I was reading Girl Online, there were a lot of bits where I thought that Zoe's voice was really shining through. Admittedly, this was mostly during the cringey bits but hey, it was still there. If I had to put my money on it I would say that Zoe wrote a 'skeleton' of the book which was then filled out by someone else. I spend a lot of time running this blog. And its a small blog, I don't even edit my photos or anything. I can't even begin to imagine how much time Zoe spends just filming and editing her videos, never mind all the meetings she has to go to, emails she'll have to reply to etc etc. Full time YouTube really is a full time job, even if it is a rather cushy one. Was it naive of us to think she had written the whole thing in the first place?

When I subscribed to Zoella, the channel had about 800 subscribers, so I've really seen Zoe grow up on YouTube. I don't think she ever estimated that she would become this successful out of it. But she has and therefore she has to learn to deal with that, and that will involve a lot of criticism. It sucks, but its part of the job. I think she needs to come out of her 'hiding' and sort this mess out. I do think that people are being quite harsh over the whole thing. Yes, she isn't 100% innocent but we don't know what went down in the meetings over her book. Maybe she wanted to write the thing herself and we just don't know. I can imagine that when entering a new industry they know nothing about, people can be very easily swayed.

And the final thing I want to talk about. YouTube culture and books. A lot of people are unhappy with the fact that YouTubers and bloggers who did not set out to be writers, are now being offered book deals left right and centre. Some people will work their whole lives trying to become writers and never get published. And it sucks. A lot. It sucks mega balls and there is no denying that. But the thing is, the big people at the top of these publishing companies probably care more about making money. And that is exactly what Girl Online has done. But does this have to be a bad thing? Girl Online has probably boosted the profits of a lot of book shops. That can only be a good thing right? And hopefully, Penguin will use the money they made from Girl Online to sign up new authors, and publish loads more books.

So that's everything I have to say. In summary: I don't think Zoe is 100% innocent in this situation but I think people need to stop being so harsh towards her(online hate is not ok) and wait to see what she has to say about the situation. We want an explanation.

What do you think? If you'd like to see my review of Girl Online, you can read it here.

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1 comment

  1. As someone that would love to have a novel published, the whole ghost writing thing really pisses me off. 'Celebrities' can write whatever they want/get someone to turn their ideas into actual novels and it will be published, yet regular people will often be overlooked simply because they are 'nobodies'. I would actually really like so see ghost writers get more credit for the stories that they write.


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