Tag Archives: Ghostwriter

My thoughts on the Zoella ghostwriter controversy

As a lot of you know, YouTuber Zoella has recently released her first book, entitled “Girl Online. Since the release of her book it has become a best seller. Selling 78,000 copies in seven days, controversially beating the first week sales figures of any author on record, including J. K. Rowling!

You have to admit, that is pretty impressive to begin with. For me, it is awe inspiring to see a fellow YouTuber achieve such a huge success. To me, J.K Rowling is a goddess. She is pretty much one of my all time favorite writers. So, to see Zoella achieve something on par, if not a little more extraordinary than J.K Rowling, in regards to the sales of her first book, is eye opening.

Zoella has since been under fire for hiring a ghostwriter to help her with her first publication. The ghost writer’s name is Siobhan Curham. Siobhan has written a blog post explaining that for legal reasons, she is not able to disclose any specific details about her involvement with Zoella’s book.

A representative from Penguin publishing stated “To be factually accurate you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own. Girl Online was very much a collaboration between Zoe and her editorial team.” After receiving backlash online about hiring a ghost writer, Zoe Sugg (Zoella’s real name) tweeted the a status saying “taking a few days out and off the internet because it’s clouding up my brain. Thanks for understanding.” 

Since all of this information has been published, there has been a lot of opinions posted online questioning Zoella’s integrity. As a fellow YouTuber and child of the 21st century, I don’t think that Zoella should be sent to the gallows for hiring help while publishing her first book. Think about it, do you really think that Zoella would have the knowledge and resources to publish her own book without any outside help? I sure wouldn’t expect her to.

Zoella is a YouTuber first and foremost, not an author/writer. It’s very common for celebrities, from the online variety or otherwise, to hire ghostwriters.

Let’s be rational about this for a second, do you really think that Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga or any other world famous person with a best selling fragrance made it themselves or had the knowledge to do so before the fragrance was made a reality? No. They obviously hired outside help, shared their vision with people who could make that fragrance  a reality, to become a product that they could sell to their fans. That is just a simple example but there are many, many other examples like celebrity clothing lines, makeup lines etc. I can guarantee you that most of the people who set up these lines or companies, are not chemists or trained fashion designers.

They are a brand, who want to expand, just like Zoella.

I think what some people fail to realize, is that Zoella is no longer a girl in her bedroom,  recording videos just for fun, she is a brand. There are a lot of YouTubers out there who are trying to establish a brand from their YouTube channels and Zoella is no different. I do think that Zoella could have been more clear about her involvement with the book, especially for younger viewers, who may not understand the in’s and out’s of the publishing world. In my own personal opinion, it was rather obvious that she had a lot of help to create it and I don’t believe that to be a crime.

I think that being an internet celebrity can be just as intense as being “proper” celebrity. I say that in inverted comma’s just to distinguish how people see a difference in online celebrities, to say, singers or actors. I think that internet celebrities can sometimes have even more of a burden on them to be seen as perfect, because they are considered to be “normal people” and have more of a responsibility to stay grounded and respected by their viewers and fans alike.

Zoella apparently thanked Siobhan Curham in the acknowledgments section of her book. Curham stated “Whilst I was very grateful for the acknowledgement, I didn’t know that my full name would be in the book. I did not invite any of this attention upon myself.

I think there is a lot of transparency in celebrity publishing and we need to take it with a pinch of salt. Zoella obviously worked with an editorial team to produce her first book. Her book hit number three on the Amazon bestsellers list before the book was even released, I think the girl knows what she is doing and shes’s doing it well.

Should she be berated for hiring a ghostwriter? I don’t think so. I do think that any celebrity who does use a ghostwriter should be more forward about it, there is nothing to be ashamed of by getting help, in order to publish a first novel. There is also no need to hide the fact that you hired help to create something of worthy quality in order to publish it.

Anyways, that’s just my opinion!