8.12.14

Bloggers, Books & B*llshit

This will always be remembered as the year that the bloggersphere exploded. In the last twelve months blogging has become somewhat unrecogniseable from the part-time hobby it was for many, evolving into a beast of influence and churning out a new generation of celebrity. I've written frequently about how proud I am to be part of a community that's pushing boundaries and changing the landscape of British media, and that opinion will never waiver - how amazing is it that young men and women now feel empowered to establish their own path and take steps to achieving their dreams? However, the last few days have seen somewhat of a backlash erupt over a certain untouchable blogger and her debut novel, after it was discovered that it in fact was 'ghostwritten' by someone else entirely. After I seemed to 'break' this news on Twitter, I've been quoted on sites ranging from Holy Moly to The Independent and have had hundreds of tweets from those left feeling frustrated, disappointed, angry and uneasy. As a result, I thought it was time I documented my own opinions and explained why the discovery of this news really doesn't sit comfortably with me.


I'm hugely proud of bloggers and vloggers that can turn filming videos in their bedroom and discussing outfit accessorising into a worldwide phenomenon; I'm equally proud of women that feel empowered enough to share their opinion or viewpoint on anything from lipstick to politics - even if only a handful of people read it. I'm a firm believer that everyone has a voice and that everyone has a right for that voice to be heard, and blogging makes that all the more easy. However, I'm also a firm believer in taking your influence seriously and acting responsibly - especially when your audience is mainly consistent of teenage girls who follow your every word. In all honesty, the reason I feel incredibly uncomfortable about this whole ghostwriting business is because I feel like thousands of young girls have been somewhat duped into buying something off the back of a name they trust. We know that beauty lines have sold out in minutes, tickets for signings are hotter than Harry Styles and teenage girls faint at the sight of their favourite YouTube star like they did when The Beatles touched down in the 60's.

Of course a novel written by a huge YouTuber was going to be a huge success in a world where books are suffering in favour of e-mags, websites and blogs - no other debut author could ever compete with that level of success or sales, because no other author in the history of writing has had six million subscribers ready and waiting to snap up anything they put their name to. I think it's incredible that vloggers have that level of influence and salute every single one for changing the way we consume words and ideas; if one more kid picks up a book and reads for the first time outside of their English Literature class as a result of this book, that's definitely an achievement. However, if you put your name to something and expressively insinuate it's your work when it's not, then you have to wise up and expect a little discontentment. It's like ordering takeaway and claiming you spent hours cooking over the stove. You may have curated the contents of the meal and made it look pretty on the plate, but you didn't do the hard graft did you?

As a community, we spend so much time attempting to prove our worth and substantiate our integrity that it's incredibly frustrating when the 'Queen Bee' at the top acts in a way that's being perceived as a bit shifty. I have no issue with ghostwritten books (hell it's the norm in the world of celebrity,) but they're mostly overly honest about the attribution of the words - Katie Price has had what seems like hundreds of ghostwritten books launched, but the difference is we know there's not a chance in hell that she's written them herself. When a young girl, known for her ability to write eloquently, discusses her dream of writing a novel - you expect her to actually have gotten out a pen and written that novel. If she'd have been honest from the outset, saying she was writing a book and that the characters and ideas were then brought to life by someone more qualified to write 80,000 words in six weeks, then I really don't think we'd be in the issue we're in. There's a massive difference in my book from saying you 'had help' creating a book and letting someone else ghostwrite it in its entirety - the tweets I've had from Zoella fans after my comments were published in mainstream press only further prove that they don't understand the concept.

There's been much discussion that ghostwriting is normal (especially in the music industry) and that we all need to be a little more realistic. However, in my opinion, when something as groundbreaking as a vlogger releasing a debut novel happens it's time to re-write the rules. I see blogging and vlogging as an extension of an individual, their life and opinions being shared with their readers and viewers; we love to feel like we 'know' a person and that their struggles and dilemmas are the same as our own. The success of the bloggersphere has been down to the honesty and rawness it brings, turning glossy magazines and carefully constructed 'reality' television shows on their head; if that's why we're so successful as a community then how can we go against everything we're known for and start pulling the wool over readers' eyes?

Not for a minute would I ever not celebrate these power-house bloggers that are carving the way for the rest of us, nor do I begrudge them any level of success - after all, if we were offered a two book deal how many of us would turn it down? However, I do think the bubble is starting to burst and that a handful of vlog-celebrities are becoming over exposed and cashing in rather than staying true to their interests and dreams. I'm starting to feel the same way about a handful of vloggers as I do about Myleene Klass and Kerry Katona; they'll put their name to anything if it means a handful of cash. It's sometimes better to say no, turn things down and reject proposals than collaborate with a brand or work on a campaign that's just not right; I turn down hundreds of pounds worth of work every month because I don't want to jeopardise my integrity and the trust it's taken me nearly five years to build. Unfortunately I think this viewpoint isn't always adopted by those with the most influence. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm just frustrated, or maybe you agree...?

I don't have the answers, I know there are plenty that disagree with me and I will never prevent others from expressing their own opinion on matters that affect us all - but personally I've seen this whole shebang as a bit of a kick in the face. The mainstream media are constantly out to 'get us' and label bloggers as vacuous girls of no importance; episodes like this make the community as a whole come under fire and make us all feel like we're once again under the microscope. We're continuously criticised for not being impartial, for our opinions being up for sale for the cost of a jumpsuit and for our dedication lacking. (I was recently told by a beauty journalist that she'd been working in the industry for over 30 years and that she'd "yet to see that kind of dedication from a blogger" - if writing seven posts a week in your spare time for five years isn't dedication, then I don't know what is.) Zoellagate has just given the media another stick to hit us with and another hurdle to jump over.

(On a side note, I hate the nervousness there is in the air around expressing opinions that relate to popular bloggers and YouTubers. As long as you're not being hateful or being bitter, every opinion is valid. So many bloggers I know write tweets or blog posts, only to delete them for fear of being trolled by obsessive fans that don't understand that it's perfectly acceptable for adults to hold an opinion different to others and express that in an eloquent fashion. The internet is infinite, as are viewpoints - lets all make a pledge to share our own and not let the possibility of a fourteen-year-old searching Twitter for key words putting us off.)

Whether you agree, disagree or are sitting on the fence, I'd love to hear your thoughts...
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73 comments

  1. You have written this post so well. I agree with what you have said and feel the same.

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  2. I completely agree with this! It undermines the hard work of author's who are trying to write for a living, and also breaks the trust of fans and the public in general.
    It's one thing to have help writing an autobiography, when it's the celebrity's feelings and personal stories that are important, but a whole different thing when you're having a fictional novel ghostwritten. A novel is about someone's writing style. It's about the nuances of their language. If it's ghostwritten, how can any of it claim to be by the celebrity 'author'?

    alittlesoapbox.com

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  3. AGREED. Zoe is a great role model, and has obviously worked hard to build up her reputation and 'brand'. However, claiming to have written something when you haven't is just dishonest, and is a way of making money out of false pretences. I think that Zoe may have shot herself in the foot with this one; surely this will massively undermine her credibility and affect the success of any future novels that she actually writes. Being honest from the beginning would have been so much better.... After all, Zoe is so successful that I think even her being loosely associated with the book would have guaranteed its sucess. As for the argument that other people use ghost writers... Just because other people do it, doesn't make it right! Good luck with the hate, I feel like this is going to get messy! X

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  4. Well said! This is such a well written post and one that perfectly sums up a lot of the opinions and comments I've read over the last few days on various blogs & social media. Bloggers like Zoella are now big business to some Simon Cowell-esque type who is rubbing his hands at the thought of millions of subscribers buying ANYTHING the blogger puts their name to. It's shameful. Xx

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  5. Anonymous7.12.14

    i just wish she hadn't lied to us about her book. I just wish she had been striaghtfoward, then maybe i wouldn't feel so betrayed

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    1. I'm so sorry you feel that way. Thanks for taking the time to comment though. I'd love to find out more of what Zoella fans think if you would like to share?

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  6. Agreed! How can you offer your opinions and such and then not even bother to write your own book? I understand its the norm now and a lot of celebs do it (my day job is a librarian) but cant help feel bloggers and bloggers who do have great success need to be more transparent. They have fans & followers of young ages who are inspired by them and should know the truth!
    I hope this post doesn't get you any hate as its a great & valid point!
    Becca xxx

    Www.queenbeebeccabp.com

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  7. I agree with you 100% and that doesn't make me a hater. I love Zoe's vlogs and videos. She was just dishonest and, like you said, should have said she was getting help from someone more qualified from the beginning. Because her fans genuinely think she wrote it and she didn't, so it looks so shady and very dishonest.
    But I mean, it's great she got more teens reading, that's always a plus. However, I do hope Siobhan gets something out of this too, like her books getting more recognition. Writing 80,000 words in 6 weeks is the real achievement here!

    Joelle
    xx
    FebruaryGirl.

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  8. At last! Someone saying what most people think but are afraid to say.

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  9. Judging by some of the reviews on Amazon, all you did is confirm something that some reviewers had already worked out for themselves. Most aren't bothered, but a fair few are pretty pissed. Lying to your audience isn't a great move.

    Sending you good thoughts and a Teflon overcoat.

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  10. I love that you have been so frank about all of this; my only thought is that I think it is ironic that everyone is slating Zoella so much considering most 'celebrity' stars don't actually write their own songs, create their own fashion designs, write their own books...or even publish their own blog posts or tweets! You comment on how the blogging world is under so much scrutiny from the media...but surely bloggers not backing Zoella just makes the hated so much greater? I love that you have posted this, it really does demonstrate that blogging is such an open and trusting community to allow people to freely discuss relevant topics like this. I just feel like the young girls and guys that buy the book are completely entitled to their own choices as to whether they do buy the book or not and Zoella has declared all over the place that she has 'had help' with her book...so it does feel like people are just making a big fuss out of nothing! (I mean the media, not you!) www.clashingtime.co.uk <3

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    1. I can see where you're coming from - but I think there's a massive difference between saying you're 'having help' (assumed to be an editor) and having your novel completely ghostwritten. This is where a lot are feeling uncomfortable, especially as the teen fans don't understand what ghostwritten even means. And in regards to your comment about the blogging community not backing her, I don't think we should back someone just because they came from the same place - if we don't agree then it makes no difference who she is; I hate the fact that everyone assumes we have to stick up for bloggers if we're one too! The big issue is really the fact she's not part of the community anymore as is very much on her own because of her success... Fair play to her, but unfortunately that comes with baggage. Thanks for your comment!

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  11. Well done for standing up and writing this... like you said - far too many with the same opinion would feel scared after the recent backlashes on anyone who has said something about Zoella that isn't 100% sunshine and rainbows. I agree - I'm so sick of seeing my favourite bloggers and vloggers suddenly seem to cash in and fill their feeds with outright advertising, ignoring everyone and anything that got them to where they are. I now tend to stick to the lesser known bloggers, girls who are just starting out and write exactly what they want when they want - at least I can guarantee what they right is real that way!

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    1. It's such a shame you feel this way, but I can understand why. I do a lot of collaborations, but I only work with brands I love or on projects I think would be genuinely interesting... Plus I still fill my site with 95% of my own rambles. When money and agents get involved the game changes though.

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  12. Wonderful post! I totally agree. I don't begrudge Zoella her success, but I am disappointed that she had a ghostwriter when she said writing her own book was a dream of hers! There's no shame in help from editors, but not to be doing the bulk of the work and claiming it as your own is shifty in my opinion!

    Hope the Zoella fans won't be too mad with you!

    Tara / Headline Beauty xox

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  13. As someone who has been writing for years and could only dream of getting my book published after all the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into it; these sorts of book deals are a kick in the teeth. I think it really lacks integrity and is a cynical move x

    Magpie Jasmine || GIVEAWAY!: Urban Decay/Nars/Charlotte Tilbury/Too Faced

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  14. I had been on the fence about this latest controversy but after reading this I have to agree with a lot of what you have said. If this had been public knowledge from the start then no one would be talking about it now. I believe given the time she could have made an attempt at writing this and why wouldn't she want to seeing as it has been her dream to do this. This was a rushed job by her publisher to get this book out whilst the hype surrounding her is still so high which makes me think her brand is being spread to thin and I think that this is decreasing her shelf life somewhat.
    The only thing I don't like is the bitchy personal attacks on her. Everyone has their opinion but the nasty comments I have read on social media about her seem harsh and make some of the blogging community come across as petty and jealous. After all, I'm not sure everyone would not have done the same thing had they been in her position.

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    1. Totally agree - I've seen some real vitriolic stuff which is completely unnecessary. She's not killed anyone, just put her name to something and acted a bit shifty. I would never attack her personally, I think she just made a bad decision on this one.

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  15. Anonymous7.12.14

    I never comment on blogs but felt obliged to express my admiration for your bravery and honesty. The way you expressed your opinion was maturely yet informatively and you had me nodding the whole way.
    I 100% agree

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

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  16. Great post. It's so well written and elegantly puts across what most of us are thinking. She has definitely shot herself in the foot with this and she should have been honest from the start.

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  17. Anonymous8.12.14

    Fantastic post, I totally agree with you and with the comments I've seen so far. As a big fan of beauty blogs this doesn't give me much faith in Zoe's, sadly. Also as a writer myself I have to admit it makes me a little resentful; I'd like nothing more than to have such a willing audience for my own work. I feel it's a squandered opportunity for her to receive attention for her work, not her ghost writer's. Good luck to her though, she must be so popular for a reason.
    I too hope this post doesn't garner any hate for you, you're just speaking your mind after all, and not unkindly.

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  18. Great post...and so well written! haha

    I totally agree with everything you stated here, glad you put yourself out there, not easy...

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  19. I totally agree - I was really disappointed it's diferent an accomplished writer not writing her own book . One thing I admired from girl boss is yes she had help but she wrote it herself - great post x k x

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  20. Great post. Lately I've seen so many hatred on the comment section of youtube videos, blog post and reply to tweets that is actually refreshing to see actual opinions and truthful comments on such a "controversial" matter (controversial in the sense you could get a whole fan base attacking "just 'cause")
    I've struggled from the begging with the idea of suddenly all this you tube stars writing books, on one hand I was really happy for these fellow bloggers who were able to work on such amazing projects but on the other hand the amount of "new book releases" just seemed like an obvious and lazy marketing move and make me wonder how many of them would actually contribute or create serious interesting content.
    I gave Zoella's book the benefit of the doubt and actually purchased and read the book, the lazy and expected plot and the flatness of its characters made me think "ok I don't like it but if I was 13 probably I would enjoy this" and since its a bit poorly written I actually think she might have written it (with no literature background behind, its like if suddenly I wrote a novel on my own) but reading that it was actually ghostwritten, not only makes me feel ripped off but it actually worries me the quality of the novel if it was actually written by someone who "knows"
    Great post and beautifully written.
    Jules.- http://thekiwidiaries.com

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    1. Thanks Jules. I feel sorry for the ghostwriter - I think anyone asked to write a book in 6 weeks for a 14yr old audience would struggle to be honest!

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  21. Anonymous8.12.14

    great post. i had no idea she didnt write her book. If i was one of her fans I would be feeling quite let down to be honest, and agree with some of the above posts that this was a poor decision on her part, to not be more honest regarding how the book was written. However I doubt this will dent her popularity as I seem to be seeing her everywhere at the moment and she appears to have a large fan base with teenagers.

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  22. Your post is so eloquently written I love it :) to be honest, I had a strong instinct the book wasn't entirely written by her. What I love about the blogosphere tho is that it is the one field where people don't have to come from privileged backgrounds to succeed!
    Emma Louise xx

    theemmalouise.blogspot.co.uk

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  23. So well and eloquently written, well done. Zoella is one of those Marmite people. You either adore her or can't stand her. Her success is mainly due to luck, rather than hard work. I was very suspicious about her book, so it came as no surprise. And I am disappointed almost to the point of disgust. She IS a role model...and that has just sullied her role. I edit books by independent authors and know a great deal of their struggle to gain just a smidgen of recognition. Along comes a youngster, barely out of cotton socks and creates a bestseller, just like that? Hmmm. Beauty bloggers and vloggers are indeed being recognised as good PR agents. Which is nice for them, but it's going to make for a very suspicious audience. I've been spotting some incongruity in the products hailed by some...without mentioning names...let's just say upper-class vloggers. When their night-time cleansing routine adds up to the price of a second-hand car, you just get the feeling they wouldn't entertain the addition of a Rimmel lipstick into their make-up bag. Readers and viewers now have to decide whom they can trust and whom they can't. Unfortunately, that's what happens when a craze turns into an industry, almost, and a huge one. Someone always suffers.

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    1. This is the comment of the year: "their night-time cleansing routine adds up to the price of a second-hand car" LOVE IT! Totally get where you're coming from ; ) Thanks for your comment.

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  24. Amen! There is nothing wrong with having a ghost writer but saying it your 'dream' and saying how hard you are working and getting others to vlog you writing to cover your tracks is a totaly cop out. Frankly the book is crap (i read a sample and its not worth reading at all) and so many bought it for her name, those are the ones who have been duped! This is someone who writes for a living, youd think if she was actually any good she could be able to write a half decent novel with a good editor. Its a fine example of someone striking whilst the iron is hot instead of taking the time, taking it slow and writing a book she should be proud of. How you can be proud of a best seller if you put little work into it?

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    1. I definitely think her management are telling her to take every opportunity right now, rather than thinking long-term and about building her brand. It seems it was all about getting it out there quickly rather than the quality - which is a real shame.

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  25. spot on,and fair play to you writing this as I can imagine that after your initial tweet there were certain mindless fans who are prepared to jump on anything that might contradict the person they look up to.

    You've got it right on the button really.x

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    1. I've had a few, but I've also had fans let me know they feel a bit betrayed and lied to - which is very interesting. I think they're a bit split and not sure what to think.

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  26. Aya Ito8.12.14

    This is a great post so much so that whilst I don't normally comment on blogs, I felt that I wanted to contribute my two pennies' worth. I agree with everything you've said here, although I am not surprised that Zoella had a ghostwriter to write her book. If I am really cynical (which a part of me is), it's really not the story of the book here that's important, it's Zoella's brand that's selling the books to her target audience (tweens and teens) and as a brand setter, she is probably currently able to sell practically anything she puts her name to. Zoella needs to be more savvy about what she puts her name to even if the people around her are telling her otherwise just because she's hot property right now, this will probably be a big lesson for her in the longer term. People make mistakes, the important thing is how she learns from it going forward. Be interesting to see how the '2 book deal' turns out ;)

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I think this has been a big learning curve for the blogging community as a whole. Interested to learn how it progresses and impacts us all.

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  27. I definitely agree. I think there is a huge difference between bloggers/vloggers and other celebrities. One of the big reasons why bloggers and vloggers became so successfull was that people felt they were really getting true and honest oppinions. Oppinions about products and services like you would get them from a friend, raw and honest and not influenced by money and endorsement deals. This is atleast why i turn to them. Especially on some bloggers i have been following for some time, i start to build a trust and a certain feeling of knowing them. When my favourite blogger recommends something i will probably give it a shot because i feel if she would like it, chance is high i will like it. It is up to every blogger to sell out and make their blog all about paid collaborations etc but if i want that i can go for a fashion magazine or any other commercial site. So while i do not mind that bloggers get paid, i take issue when i have the feeling that their voice has stopped beeing their own.
    So yes i put higher standards to bloggers then to other celebrities when it comes to them beeing honest about their own work and values.
    If some pop starlet has a ghostwritten book, to be honest i wont be suprised and i will expect it. From a blogger, i expect better.
    As you said, it would be a different issue when we would be talking about e.g. a beauty book where she would have had the ideas and somebody else would have put it in words but a fictional book?
    In this case i did not purchase the book either way since the target group is about 10 years younger than i am, however, that does not change my oppinion that she should have been honest with her readers. If bloggers stop beeing real, then the whole point of blogging dies in my eyes. But okay to each their own.

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    1. I agree with your point about blogging being about honesty and a personal opinion/skill. I think that's why the rules are a bit different on this one and I can only assume Penguin made a big mistake by not realising the values the blogging community are built on.

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  28. 100% agree. You've inspired me to write a post about this, and I'm totally going to link your post in. It really makes me vomit how she claimed to have written the book herself and didn't give any credit to the author.

    There's no way deluding young girls into thinking she did something she didn't do is right, and there's no way that she could have written the book herself.

    She could have received just as much success by saying that she has worked on a story with Penguin, or come up with a sotry and formed a partnership to make it into a book.

    It['s either that she wanted all the sucess for herself, or wanted the money as if it was '''written by her''' it would sell more.

    Disgusting.

    Beauty Soup || UK Beauty Blog

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    1. I have a feeling she is being managed by people that don't have her long-term interests at heart. I don't for a second think she came up with this plan alone, it's bad management I think. Such a shame.

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  29. Anonymous8.12.14

    You seem to be in the know...is there any truth in the rumours that she doesnt even write her own blog anymore? I feel like the Gleam manager is really to.blame here...she would have followed his direction which is a shame. He should have known better!

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    1. I've no idea and to be honest I doubt that rumour has any substance whatsoever. I don't see why she wouldn't write it when it's her baby.

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  30. A very well written post. I think you have probably summed up exactly what a lot of other people think of the whole situation as well. It just goes to show you that if you do not tell the truth in the first place than you will always get found out in the end. It is a shame that this might give other bloggers a bad name because for a lot of people who blog they do it just because they like doing it and not because they want to be famous and make loads of money. You see it with a lot of celebrities, they come out of nowhere and then suddenly they are everywhere and at every event, advertising everything and then people soon get bored of them. You can get over exposed and this is probably what is going to happen here.
    I hope you do not get anymore hate for writing this post.

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  31. What an absolutely well written post. It's nice to see such honesty without the fear of a backlash. I was brought up with the saying "if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say it" and this tends to make me hold back from sharing certain opinions of mine. This post expresses exactly how I feel about the stars of the blogging world. I feel like a lot of people are.. How can I put it.. Selling out to make a quick buck whilst others are out there working hard to make their dreams come true. The fact that it was not immediately revealed that the book will be ghostwritten makes me feel cheated should I wish to go out and buy it. When Kendall and Kylie Jenner released their book, they mentioned how that they didn't actually sit and write it. I wish she'd just done the same to avoid this uproar.

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    1. Exactly - there's no issue with the ghostwriting specifically, just the lies told to cover it. I think a lot of people have expressed issue with the fact bloggers are supposed to be credible and this has just blown it all away... For all of us in some way or another.

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  32. I'm not a huge Zoella fan but neither do I dislike her and I think her success is incredible - wouldn't we all love to make a living doing something we love so much (talking about clothes and makeup!). I watched the video where she announced her book deal and she seemed so excited and passionate about it, it was 'something she had always dreamed of doing'. I guess she found it too much in the end? Or maybe her writing just wasn't quite of the right standard. Who knows, who cares, it's just a shame that her perfect bubble has been burst!

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  33. Wonderfully written and a welcome refresher after the thousands of comments and posts I have read about this issue that seem to be very rash and outraged or else defending the blogger in question.

    I really feel like a lot of the 'big' bloggers have now 'sold out' for lack of a better word, it's all about fancy equipment, new houses, expensive cars and lavish getaways. The same products and company's are featured on every blog and vlog they do, it's like deja-vu when I sit down to watch my subscriptions list. They have lost touch with reality, they don't even give accurate reviews anymore, it's the same script over and over being mechanically repeated week after week only the products change.

    I'm only new on the blogging scene, I've wanted to write a blog for a while (read 3 years) but my lack of professional equipment, anxiety and slight dyslexia have held me back so much. I love to write, I love to spend money I don't have on things that I don't need and I want to share my love of products (and my creative criticism on those that fall short) and I also just want to make friends, but this community has become more and more exclusive and it is leaving us aspiring bloggers out in the cold.

    This comment is becoming more of a post in itself, I just have so many things I want to add to this, but I guess what I am trying to say is I have found the community of bigger bloggers are being micromanaged so much by their PR teams that their passion is gone, they are cash cows now, feeding of the young teens that latch onto their every words.

    There is no sincerity any more and all this ghostwriter shenanigans has just been the straw that broke the camels back. I'm done with YouTube stars, I'm breaking up with them.

    Good on your for writing this post, someone needed to speak up and you pulled it of with such poise. Looking forward to more original content from yourself.

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and express your opinion and concern. I have the same worries about the community of huge vlogstars that are more concerned with raking in the cash than anything else - but I genuinely blame their management, who should be ensuring they stay in touch with their roots. I don't begrudge anyone's success or anyone making money from their blog (hell, I do) but it's about still being transparent and remaining credible with your collaborations.

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  34. I really agree with this post, and especially the part at the end about bloggers feeling too scared to speak out about those more 'successful' than them because some fans (young and old) can be scarily loyal.
    I unsubscribed from zoe recently because she does seem to lead a dream lifestyle, which is irrelevant to me in the same way as tv shows about super rich celebrities. From my point of view it seems like she's being really pimped out, but to be fair if I was handed a book deal I would jump at the chance too. What got me was the story of her starting a book when she was still in school, because I did the same, and from that and having loved writing at school I would've been really saddened at the idea of my novel being written by someone else even if the basic ideas were mine. I don't blame people for taking the opportunities they're given, but as you've said it comes down to integrity when you have a big audience, so the whole thing has come off as seeming quite money hungry.

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    1. I agree with you - it's all been pimped out like her ultimate dream, but if it was then why the hell didn't she take a year and write it herself. It's so obvious it's been rushed out for Xmas and to launch when her wave is still on the up, maximizing sales. It's sad to see such a backlash.

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  35. It's beyond me how people thought she wrote the book herself anyway? I agree though, that she should have atleast been honest about it.

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  36. I wish I'd put it in my own post on the subject, but nobody has raised the point that she COULD have written it herself, given time and a strong editor. She's articulate and intelligent so there's no reason why she couldn't have turned her hand to a good book - you have, I have.. I believe that if you have the writing bug anyone can! Questions I'm asking on this one are more about why she or any of the team didn't think she could.

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    1. More than likely they wanted it out in time for the Christmas market, and while she could have written it herself, I'm sure. It's doubtful whether a first time writer could write a book in 6 weeks as requested from the ghost writer.

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    2. I'm sure she could have, given the time - but it's like they took the easy and lazy approach just to ensure they could get it out in time for Xmas.

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  37. I think that it's really not fair that other people try so hard to write a book and they get nowhere and then there's Zoella, who won't bother writing her own book but wants to get all the credit for it. I think she's a nice girl but did she really think that this would never come out? ;/

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  38. Lorraine Caldwell10.12.14

    So eloquently put and bang on.

    However I do disagree with your comments about Myleene Klass and comparing her to Kerri Katona. Myleene has reinvented herself from pop star to solo artist to presenter; from wife to a single doting and loving mother. She is honest about her struggles with her weight and whole-heatedly promotes her fashion brand. Therefore, if putting her 'name to anything if it means a handful of cash' contributes to her 7.5M GBP net that provides for her family, then all the more power to Myleene. You go girl!

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  39. Great post hun, completely agree with all thats written, people are too fearful to speak opinions but I love the fact you have, hats off to you xx

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  40. I love the title of this post (and the content of it) so much. I've always blogged as a hobby and never intended to make money off of it or become famous for it. I simply like to write. I have no issue with ghostwriters either, but I do have a problem with this "queen bee" blogger touting this book as something she wrote herself. Give me a break. I'm not surprised at all that it was ghostwritten, but she should have shown a little bit more grace about the entire situation. I think if she was upfront about using a ghostwriter her fans still would have purchased the book and no one really would have been that shocked about the information. But I read that she's now taking "a break" from the internet because of the backlash and all of that...come on. That I have to shake my head at.

    Also, anyone who walks on eggshells regarding these more successful bloggers is foolish. They are not curing cancer or doing anything that doesn't deserve a healthy amount of constructive criticism. I don't support trolling these bloggers/vloggers or being outright rude to them, but hey--sometimes people need to be called out on their bullshit and forced to face the truth.

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    1. I have the utmost respect for your last sentence!!

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  41. As soon as I heard that Zoella was going to be releasing a novel I wondered whether she would actually be writing it herself. When I heard that it had indeed been ghost written, or at least that she'd had help writing it, I was disappointed. Obviously a large portion of her fans were going to rush out and buy it and I'm not sure how they'll feel now they've discovered she didn't write it. Even if the ideas and characters were hers it's basically just her name on the front of a book written by somebody else. I also see it as a slightly strange move. If she wasn't actually going to be writing the book herself why go from beauty blogging/vlogging to just putting her name on a novel.

    Although it's not quite the same I've just approached my first literary agent and am waiting to hear back from them. It's not quite the same because the book I am looking to publish is the results of my PhD research, so non-fiction. I'm really nervous I'm going to be rejected left, right and centre, even though, at least in my area of research, what I found was important and should really be put out there. I'll be devastated if I can't get a deal, or get a rubbish one that doesn't reflect the time and effort I've had to put into this.

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    1. A lot of struggling writers have express their disgust at the whole situation, knowing how hard it is to write and get a book deal - it does make a mockery of hard work and talent. Good luck with your PhD!

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  42. I love how articulately and eloquently you have expressed your opinions here!

    I 100% agree with EVERY WORD you have written!

    Here's what bothers me about this whole issue:
    1. Bloggers/Vloggers/YouTubers are all personal brands. All their credibility stems from being "one of us" and hence, their followers try what they recommend because we trust them. Increasingly, on YouTube and on multiple blogging platforms, we have seen these "stars" not understand something this basic- that their success hinges upon connect and trust. So, every time someone lies about getting and pimping a freebie product or this whole ghostwriting shindig, it brings down the credibility of not just that blogger/vlogger but of the whole medium itself.

    2. Zoe lied to all her followers. She led them to believe that she is writing the book. And NO, ghostwriting does not equal "having some help" or whatever ridiculous euphemism she has been using to placate her little kiddie army of fans. The real "victims" here are these teens/tweens/perhaps even younger kids who blindly idolize her and are fighting her wars on all forms of social media whereas she is conveniently on an internet sabbatical!

    3. There is a huge difference between a celeb using a ghostwriter and a blogger with a book deal, supposedly stemming from the fact that they have a blog, using a ghostwriter and then lying about it. It would have been so much better had Zoe been honest about using a ghostwriter from the beginning! I am sure the book would have still sold as many copies and she would have gained rather than lost the respect of people/her fans etc.

    4. Finally, what has really annoyed me the most is the mainstream media taking Zoe's name in the same breath as JK Rowling, Zadie Smith etc. That is a travesty if there ever was! How dare they?! This is a girl-woman who does not know the difference between 'bare' and 'bear' (her last tweet) and the other two women are WRITERS who are masters of their craft. Book sales numbers or not, there is no comparison here in any way!

    Thanks again for saying this- I don't have a blog, but if I did, I would do a post about this and link back to you! :) 14 year olds don't scare me! :)

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    1. I agree with every one of your points - especially the fans that have been mislead and the fact she's being compared to great authors. You can tell from her blog she's not the best writer, so it's unfair to make comparisons with some incredible talent just because 80,000 people rushed out to buy a book that had her name on. The whole thing has become ridiculous and incredibly frustration. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a well thought out comment!

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  43. Anonymous13.12.14

    I think you're somewhat bitter and jealous, in that she had the chance to get a book published rather than knock together a dodgy PDF e-book and sell it for 43p online. Where's the integrity in a blogger making a living out of copy and pasting press releases and helping to prop up a superficial industry that does nothing but distract the human race from wholesomeness and selflessness? Good luck to Zoella doing everything she can to milk her 15 minutes of fame for all its worth. You, and we all, would and do exactly the same thing.

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    1. Bitter and jealous?! You obviously haven't read the post - nor the huge amount of comments agreeing with every word I've written. It's got nothing to do with jealousy; good luck to her. But it has got masses to do with integrity and credibility as she's the poster girl for the whole bloggersphere. And as for copy and pasting press releases, clearly you have never read this blog so I won't even justify that with a response. Similarly, 'propping up a superficial industry' may be your personal opinion but it's an industry that makes billions of women feel better about themselves and the industry Zoella herself has made her fortune within.

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    2. Hi Anon,
      Why is it that when someone, anyone points out the obvious and glaring lack of integrity on Zoe, Gleam and Penguin's part in this whole fiasco, people like YOU come out and label them jealous or bitter or both?!
      Do you not understand debate and discussion?! I think a speak for a lot of people commenting here and on other such posts when I say that we are not jealous of Zoe! Heck, she is a young girl, who has made the most of a great opportunity and so, good for her!
      We all are only taking issue with the blatant lying and misleading. For someone whose brand is based on supposed authenticity and being real, pretending to have written a book when you clearly have not and then going on to calling a ghostwritten book " having help from an editorial team" is erroneous and misleading to her legions of fans who, anyway, seem unclear on what ghostwriting really is.
      All the best to Zoe for everything... but in my experience, building a brand based of omissions and selective honesty has not worked out well for anyone.

      Cheers!

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    3. Anonymous17.12.14

      I just don't think you'd bat a fake eye lash if it wasn't Zoella. The majority of other books and music you consume is most probably not by the people stated as the creator. Frankly, it's somewhat naive. I thought all of you 'brands' of all people would be a bit more clued up and less surprised in the first place. I guess you were too distracted defining your positions and working on your comms plans. You know, what with being 'brands'.

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    4. Again, it's not about music or celeb books - this is about a blogger who has supposedly built up a huge audience based on HER personality and HER passions/talents. It's completely different and can't be swept under the carpet as 'just the way it happens' in other industries; she's created a whole new type of blogger and a whole new type of platform that's based on credibility and authenticity. You know when you buy a Beyonce album she's probably not written it, but you buy it for the vocal. When you buy a book supposedly written by a YouTuber you buy it because you think she's written it and it's an extension of her.

      It's not naivety, it's outrage from a whole community that are appalled. You clearly have a dislike for all things blogging so I have no clue why you're sticking up for her but bitching about the rest of us... It makes about as much sense as a ghostwritten blogger book.

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  44. I don't think it's personally acceptable that her book was ghostwritten. It's misleading and I think her readers would appreciate an arguably less well-written book that was written by herself than a brilliantly written one done by someone else. I totally agree with the fact that she shouldn't be compared to brilliant authors too! It's a completely different world

    www.BarelyThereBeauty.com | UK Lifestyle, Health & Beauty Blog

    xx

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  45. I feel like all the negative comments on this post have been taken out. Not cool love, not cool

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    1. I don't ever 'take out' (aka not publish) comments unless they're rude, abusive or defamatory. Everything you see is everything that was submitted. Maybe check your facts before you make accusations next time?

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