Zoe Sugg, also known as Zoella, is a YouTube sensation who has been given a two-part book deal with Penguin. Though it is not unusual for YouTube personalities to receive book deals, Sugg is unique in that her books will be works of fiction.
As shown in yesterday’s post with the example of Alfie Deyes’ book, YouTubers who receive book deals usually work with their publishers to produce a product which ties in with their blog, be it a recipe book, an activity book, or a book filled with advice. For Sugg, whose videos are perhaps more varied and more about her life in general, a YA novel seems to be a logical step.
Though Sugg’s blog seems to consist mainly of pictures rather than prose, her book, Girl Online, does sound rather original. Her protagonist is very loosely biographical, and so marks a first in young protagonists with internet fame. Sugg and her main character also both suffer from an anxiety disorder involving panic attacks, and so the novel may be of great help to young readers unfortunate enough to be in a similar position.
I feel that one great thing that has come out of Sugg’s first novel so far is that she has documented parts of her publishing process on her blog and YouTube channel. She has given her followers a peek into how a book physically comes about, and her fans even had the chance to get involved with the design of the book cover. Hopefully, this might have inspired some youngsters to look into the possibility of a publishing career in later life.
Though the book is likely to be a success for Penguin (and also possibly for Simon and Schuster, who are publishing the novel in the US), I’m not sure whether it is right or fair that Sugg, who previously only had experience in blog-writing, was approached to write a book when there are so many talented authors with unpublished novels out there. At the same time, the novel will presumably fill a gap in the market of YA celebrity authors, and will hopefully encourage her teen fans to pick up a novel instead of watching videos for a couple of days at least.
Sugg’s novel comes out towards the end of next month and will no doubt be up there with the Christmas bestsellers, as it seems right now that everything a YouTuber touches turns into gold.