UK YouTube video blogger (a.k.a. vlogger) Zoella (a.k.a. Zoe Sugg) has become the poster child of near-instant social media auto-stardom – and now authorial success through the pre-sales of her book Girl Online, which as at the time of writing is Number One in the UK Amazon Best Seller charts, after “92 days in the top 100.” This echoes the previous point that YouTube celebs are now becoming hot property for hungry publishers.

As the author blurb describes her, Zoella “is a 24-year-old vlogger from Brighton, UK. Her beauty, fashion, and lifestyle vlogs have gained her over 5 million YouTube subscribers, and her views often exceed 12 million a month. She won the 2011 Cosmopolitan Blog Award for ‘Best Established Beauty Blog’ and went on to win the ‘Best Beauty Vlogger’ award the following year. In 2013 she was awarded the ‘Best British Vlogger’ award at the Radio 1 Teen Awards and the 2014 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for ‘UK’s Favourite Vlogger’.” And no surprise to see Penguin, the new standard in no-holds-barred we’ll-print-anything mercenary publishing, there as the lucky publisher of the thinly glossed novelization of her stock in trade.

Parry Gripp burlesqued the whole angsty teen on YouTube thing brilliantly way back. However, seems that a hungry audience wants to take it straight – and equally hungry publishers are ready to cater to them. And Zoella looks ready to knock fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes off his perch as star UK YouTube-fostered author.

This isn’t to say that vlogging is totally inimical to maturity, intelligence, and even creative talent. Contrast, for an instructive moment, what Welcome to Night Vale has been able to do with the allied medium of the podcast. But then, Night Vale audiences aren’t desperate for makeup tips and boyfriend advice – except when the makeup is toxic sludge and the boyfriends have three eyes.

Coming soon to a publisher’s spring list near you: Parry Grip’s novelization of “Boogie Boogie Hedgehog” … Is it as cute as Zoella? Well …


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail