Zoella, Ghostwriting and Assigning Value

hello happy Monday earlier this year I
uploaded a video called white or
youtubers writing books after it was
announced that some popular youtubers
had been given book deals and their
books would be published later this year
it’s not later this year and people have
started clicking on my video again and
been commenting on it and getting that
discussion going again and I feel like
because some of those books have been
released I need to jump back into that
discussion in particular I want to talk
about so Ella zoe sugg she released her
first book I think it was two weeks ago
the book is called girl online it’s a
fiction book aimed at 12 to 16 year olds
and it’s the first in a two-book deal
that she has with penguin in its first
week this book sold seventy eight
thousand copies breaking all sorts of
records and then yesterday in a piece by
the sunday times it was revealed that
they had talked to her publisher and the
publisher had said that they could not
confirm that all of the book was
entirely written by Zoe herself meaning
that some of it if not all of it was
ghost written in case you don’t know
when you write a book and you finish it
the book then goes to an editor editor’s
edit books they make them better they
make them coherent they make the plot
makes sense they clear up any little
inconsistencies a ghostwriter on the
other hand is a professional writer who
gets paid to write books but not take
credit for them that sounds a bit
strange I know what you’re thinking
however they sign contracts they signed
a contract that says that you’re getting
paid you write this but you don’t seek
credit that’s how it works lots of
popular books have been ghost written
and I’ll get back to that later it’s a
lots of people had suspected that Zoe’s
book was go straight and simply because
the turnaround for a 350-page novel was
so fast it just appeared on shelves so
quickly and she documents a lot of her
life she’s been really busy over the
summer with like a beauty product range
and so people realized that there is no
way she had time to write a book because
reading books takes a really long time
especially if you have a dump for it but
now that it’s been confirmed that the
book was ghost written or at least
partially go straight and people cannot
stop talking about it and so I want to
make this video firstly I want to make
this video for people who are annoyed
it’s alway forgetting a book deal in the
first place
make this video for people who are
annoyed that she used a ghostwriter and
I want to make this video for people who
are annoyed the people who are annoyed
because you think that you should just
live and let live and let people do what
they want if you fall into one of these
categories or if like me you haven’t
read the book you don’t watch these
videos you just find all of this very
interesting then I think you need to ask
yourself what do you value first of all
we need to think about what we value in
terms of writing do we see Zoey’s book
purely as entertainment like some sort
of pre-teen equivalent to Jackie Collins
novel I think we’re all aware that
there’s a literary canon and that cannon
consists of books that scholars have
deemed the best books and they go in the
Canon and there’s some people who will
only read within the canon there are
some people who will only read I decided
and there’s some people who don’t really
know about if they just read because
they love reading then we’ll read
anything in terms of books for children
and young adults there isn’t that seem
sort of elevation I guess you know we
knew that zoe sugg wasn’t going to be
nominated for a man booker prize and
people are arguing that reading in
itself is the valuable thing and we
should just be glad that 12 to 16 year
olds and the people outside of that age
group who are picking up Zoe’s book we
should be happy that they’re reading it
doesn’t matter what they’re reading as
long as they’re doing it out of choice
and they’re enjoying it so should we
just move on with our lives and let
preteens and teenagers read what they
want to read and not really worry about
the quality or the content or should we
be thinking that the idea is perpetrated
in these books can actually affect
people’s perspectives going out into the
world I think in particular I worry
about the way romance and relationships
tend to unfold and yell out books on how
that can change like people’s own
thinking about relationships and kind of
normalized behavior that shouldn’t be
normalized secondly we need to think
about the value with which we hold
publishers what do we know about them do
we respect them I was in the booktube
panel at summer in the city earlier this
year and the Wonder
rosianna channel link in the description
mentioned that of publishers big
publishers like penguin if they didn’t
pick up celebrity autobiographies and
books like Zoe’s that they know are
going to do well in seals if they didn’t
sell lose books then they couldn’t
afford to approach new authors and say
here’s an advance on a novel you know
they couldn’t publish books from people
like JK Rowling who had never been heard
of before we tend a few publishers like
penguin is the sort of institution
representing something brilliant a bit
literature and kind of publishing the
best of the best but it’s not like that
and the money generated yes does make
huge profits that I’m sure you go into
people’s pockets but like i said it also
creates money and that money is used for
really productive things that is someone
who wants to write a book one day really
appreciates the alternative would be
like some other countries have that it’s
very hard to get a book published and
publishers only publish what they deemed
to be the best books which means as a
reader you don’t have as much choice and
you’re almost being told what to read
and you’re being told what’s good and
that’s not really a good system either
finally we need to think about the value
we place on youtubers and the value that
the entertainment industry places on
youtubers we tend to think of youtubers
as friends and if not friends we
definitely see them as people who are
closer to us than say our favorite
actors or singers they really let you
into their lives there’s daily vlogs
from a lot of people you really feel
like a part of their life and you know
that when you tweet them they read that
tweet and I think that personal
connection is why a lot of zoe’s fans
who’d bought the book felt really let
down and disappointed that she hadn’t
choose to disclose that her book had
been somewhat ghost written and she
hadn’t given credit to sad ghostwriter
this video and these conversations that
people are having are not a personal
attack on her because I think we have to
recognize that this whole thing is a lot
bigger than her as a person zoella is a
brand and we live in a culture that’s
obsessed with brands you have to realize
that the appeal of someone like Zoey to
a company is that she can make them lots
of money because
her audience is this sort of key
demographics for spending money and that
is teenage girls so I think we kind of
have to accept that this isn’t really
about Zoe this isn’t really about books
this is about money and making money and
money talks money makes things happen
when a singer or a band releases an
album and you buy that album you
understand that you’re giving them money
you understand that they’re making money
because you’ve bought it but you’re
happy to hand over your money because
you feel like there’s something of
artistic value in that album let me use
a literary example James Patterson is a
very famous author he’s best known for
his work in the crime genre and he sold
millions upon millions upon millions of
books so many books and his early books
were written by himself but as he became
more popular he hired a team of ghost
riders they write the books they help
contribute to the stories and it means
that he can always have original stories
and he can keep producing books and he
can purchase books more quickly which
sounds like a really weird thing to do
but we know James Patterson can write
because he wrote his earlier books and
probably still continues to write some
of his books I don’t really know the ins
and outs of it and so when you see a
book with James Patterson Anna you think
this book is going to be good this book
is going to be readable it’s all of a
certain standard because it has his name
attached it it’s kind of like James
Patterson is a brand and when you see
his name it’s like seeing the starbucks
logo and knowing that you’re going to
get a really nice coffee that might be
slightly overpriced similarly one of my
favorite series of books of the child
where the animal ark books and their
author is always cited as loosely
Daniels it turns out lisa daniels was
the pen name of a group of authors
mostly man i think who all wrote various
books on there were loads and loads of
those books published but you see I
didn’t pick up those books because I was
connected to Lucy Daniels I picked up
those books because I really liked the
stories they always followed a similar
sort of arc and I’m arc I’m Mellark get
it with all that in mind where does that
leave us wins well it produces a book it
turns out that it’s ghostwritten she
doesn’t disclose
information and then it turns out that
the book isn’t all that good i know i
know that’s a very subjective statement
and i haven’t read the book however have
read some reviews from people i trust
people who are within the sort of target
age range people here right sided and i
don’t think it’s a particularly
outstanding book and so we’re left
wondering what it is that we’re supposed
to be valuing in this whole process i
would say that this isn’t going to
change the backlash to this whole
ghostwriting controversy isn’t really
good to change anything youtubers are
continually going to be seen as brands
more money is going to be put into them
they’re going to create more money I
think the most productive thing that we
can do is readers and as writers is to
seek out books by new authors to ask for
them in your library to pick up books
that you think you’d want to read
regardless of you know what genre they
are read the trashy romances are read
the books by the people who you’ve
supported as youtubers for four or five
years and you want to support them and
you don’t really care that the books not
very good if you want to buy that book
and read it then read it we should all
the freedom to read what we want to read
but this failure was filmed in the
spirit of not kind of picking the side
of stopping me into Zoe are not picking
the side of what’s the big deal about
ghost riders and realizing that there’s
a much bigger picture here and that we
need to be having conversations about
what that bigger picture means to us let
me know where you think the value lies
if anywhere and I will one day read girl
online I promise I’ll get round to it
eventually a new book review will be
coming at you very soon thank you very
much for watching farewell