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Zoella and Girl Online

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I don’t know much about Zoella (Zoe Sugg), but this whole ordeal is pretty interesting. It’s not uncommon for a celebrity to have their autobiography written by a ghost writer, but what’s the norm when it comes to fiction? I’m not on either side of the divide surrounding Girl Online, but I do have a couple of thoughts on this.

Here are a few articles on the matter with somewhat differing perspectives:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/wo...are-who-wrote-her-novel-and-neither-do-I.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices...stwriter-as-long-as-you-admit-it-9910453.html

http://www.theguardian.com/children...fending-zoella-zoe-sugg-girl-online-matt-haig

What do you think? Is Zoella’s immediate success with her novel Girl Online (regardless of whether or not it is her novel) a good thing because it brings in more young readers? How do you feel about fiction being sold under the name of a celebrity when in fact very little may have been penned by them? Lastly, in the Independent article, what do you think about Lucy Hunter Johnston’s final comment? I’ve pasted it below for anyone who doesn’t want to click on the link.

“[…] the money made from the sales of Girl Online may well be funnelled back into signing up talented new writers. Because Zoella hasn’t really written a book, she’s written a cheque.”

Personally, I like Matt Haig’s approach to this, especially his final point. It seems a lot of fire is being thrown at Zoe Sugg, and although I believe she should have been more open about it being a collaboration (or completely ghost written, who knows?) given that her target audience is largely made up of trusting young girls, I feel it’s definitely more of an industry problem than one created by a YouTube celebrity.

I’d love to read your opinions, even if it isn’t anything to do with Girl Online. Also, for those who have been in this game for a while, if you have any knowledge of similar events then please share!
 

Katie-Ellen

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I haven't got an opinion, really. Only a response. She looks like a sweetie, my 19 year old capers round the place in just the same way, with just the odd snapchat. Been telling her to make stuff on Youtube, she's a drama student, she should write something, write and perform something. Make something. SUBSTANCE with style please. But then I'm a crone, a harridan, witch of Endor say my daughters. Lancashire hag; even at 19, I wouldn't have found this stuff interesting. This little lady is a marketer, a self-promoter, and a publisher has enabled it. But then, there is nothing new about celebrity books, ghost-written, even if this one is fiction, or faction.

https://www.youtube.com/user/zoella280390?gl=GB&hl=en-GB
 

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Yep, I agree, and I've no complaints about Zoe's character, other than how I feel about transparency (but, I have my doubts she had any control over that). I think she's been thrown to the sharks in all honesty.

I was looking for a discussion on the industry in general when it comes to celebrity ghost written fiction (and the integrity behind it) and the feuds that appear to be going on in reference to what has happened with Girl Online - how this could be a positive for aspiring writers as opposed to the negative light it is being shined under.

But then I'm a crone, a harridan, witch of Endor
What Katie said. :)

Since I said "Me, too!" I feel like we should be arranging our meeting out on the moorlands. Although, I'm thinking more Pratchett's "Wyrd Sisters", than Shakespeare's. I'll bring the tea. :p
 

Katie-Ellen

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@ "...how this could be a positive for aspiring writers as opposed to the negative light it is being shined under."

I haven't read it, to enter into a fair and fully informed discussion. Based on my current information and understanding of the published product, I see no positives here for serious writers, but no negatives. I see it as something apart. It can't crowd fiction out, it can't crowd quality non-fiction out, it's money from a zeitgeist. I always feel sorry for ghost writers, anyway. No laurels for their hard work, skill and talent. Only money. One might say what do you mean, only money. I would love to have royalty cheques still coming to my orfspring and pet projects when I have gone. But you know what I mean.

Paddock, anon.
 
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It can't crowd fiction out, it can't crowd quality non-fiction out, it's money from a zeitgeist.
Yep, I agree with this. It reminds me of the debate that came up when Twilight became so popular (or maybe it was 50 shades). In the end people can't be told what to read, well I guess they can because word of mouth seems like a great seller! Maybe more so, people can't be told what not to read. It only makes them want to read it more anyway!

I find the whole ghost writing fiction thing really weird. Wouldn't it be like someone deciding they wanted a singing career and then paying someone else to sing for them and taking the credit? Wait, I think that was a film. :confused: I guess I just don't understand why it has to be so secretive. If a publisher is banking on the name being what sells the book it would sell even if it was Mr Fred in collaboration with Ms Fregglestone, wouldn't it?
 

AgentPete

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The industry has traditionally, and rather pompously, informally divided its product into “Literature” and “Commercial Publishing”, with the understanding that the latter supports the former, financially. This has engendered a pretty cynical attitude to commercial projects... i.e. the aim has always been to go for the cash, in any way possible. So ghosting etc has always been an integral part of the celeb autobiog, fiction, etc etc.

I do think this attitude, largely based on a narrow, intellectually-snobbish world view, is in retreat.
 

Katie-Ellen

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An agent submission form required one to tick which category one's sub belonged to. Gawd.
The best surely have got to be both.
 

1408

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I do think this attitude, largely based on a narrow, intellectually-snobbish world view, is in retreat.
Sorry, which attitude? That one only exists to fund the other? Or that there should be a divide between "Literature" and "Commercial Publishing"?

An agent submission form required one to tick which category one's sub belonged to. Gawd.
Oh, I would definitely tick "Literature" for mine. The talking bats have some wonderful conversations! :p
 

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@Katie-Ellen Hazeldine Oh, they are so sweet! I wish they were my bats. :p I don't know what it is about bats I like so much, I just find them adorable. :confused: I'm ashamed to admit I watched that video more than once, haha.
 

AgentPete

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Sorry, which attitude? That one only exists to fund the other? Or that there should be a divide between "Literature" and "Commercial Publishing"?

The disdain that much of publishing used to have towards anything that wasn't Literature. Not so prevalent now, mercifully.
 
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