December 10, 2014

Zeitgeist of Zoella

Having written previously on the secret world of ghostwriting, I was curious about the kerfuffle this week in the UK over “Zoella” whose Young Adult novel Girl Online is top of the book charts and is described as “the biggest selling author since records began”. But it turns out the book was ghosted. Nothing unusual when it comes to fluff celebrities so why all the hoopla-doo?

I admit I had no idea who Zoella was but Google brought me up to speed. Seems she is considered “one of the most influential people in Britain” - although it looks as if those she influences the most are girls in their early teens. (Scary!)  This article and accompanying video sums up the ongoing drama pretty well.

I can't comment on the quality of the book or its content, but I'm guessing the exposed real author will be the winner in the long-term. The po-faced media is cynical or outraged over the actions of Penguin Books. The bitchy tabloids are gleeful at pulling down an internet icon thought to be squeaky clean. This Bookseller report carries comments by another YA author who suggests honesty wouldn't have harmed sales but that the cover-up is “an unpleasant whiff of big business trying to mislead young consumers”.

I doubt that teenage consumers who lose sleep over which shade of nail polish to wear tomorrow are going to give much thought to their manipulation by multi-nationals and the book will continue to be bought by many of Zoella's diehard fans. Or it may be that things won't quite be the same for her now that her peppy bright image is tarnished with deceit. Whatever happens, she might have to go for complete reinvention, otherwise in a couple of years from now it will be “Zoella who”?

Also interesting that her boyfriend has a blog entitled “Pointless”. Says it all really.

From the most excellent Bo's Cafe Life


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