Thursday, 11 December 2014

Girl Online Ghostwritten - Does It Really Matter?

Unless you've been living under a rock lately you will know all about Zoella, her first book debut and the eventual announcement that she, in fact, used a ghostwriter and did not actually write Girl Online herself.

Before I start this I just want to say that I do like Zoe, I've been watching her videos and reading her blog for about a year now and I think she's a really likeable person, her make up tutorials and fashion hauls have given me a lot of inspiration and I wish I had had someone like her around when I was growing up. But, I just have a lot of thoughts about this whole ghostwriting thing that I just need to write down because i'm really conflicted with how I feel about this whole situation.

Back in June when she first made the announcement, it was implied she would be writing it. Her blog post also seems to imply this.

"I'm sure a lot of you will have heard by now that I'm writing a book [...] I absolutely love writing and ever since I was a  young'un I have dreamt about my very own book, and so this is an absolute dream come true."

She has mentioned quite a few times, the most recent time in a tweet after the news broke, that she received help when writing the book ("everyone needs help when trying something new") and she seems to be using this as a defense against any criticism. Yes, people writing a novel get help from editors and the like, but this is more than just a bit of tweaking or polishing. She didn't write the book, her ghostwriter did. 

I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the concept of ghostwriting, but that's a thought for another day. What matters to me more is the fact Zoe lied. Yes, she said she would be receiving help, but to me, "receiving help on a book" means spellchecking, proof reading, doesn't mean having somebody write the whole book for you. It would have been so easy for Zoe, when announcing the book, to say "I will be writing this with Siobhan [her ghostwriter]" or "I have so many ideas but I need someone else to write it down for me" I think if she had done this, it would have been fine, it's the fact she implied she was writing it herself which bugs me.

I don't blame Zoe entirely, If someone offered me the chance to bring out a book and make some money without actually doing most of the hard work I would probably take that offer. But the fault must also lie with her management, I feel like they see Zoe as a quick way to make money. She could so easily have brought out a different type of book, Tanya Burr is currently writing a lifestyle type book I believe and I feel like that would have been far more up Zoe's ally (I mean, when has Zoe ever expressed any interest in reading or actually writing a book apart from when she was a teenager?) but Gleam and Zoe knew that her fans would lap up this book, for goodness sake she could bring out a range of toothbrushes and her fans would go crazy. It just seems a shame that Youtubers like Zoe seem to spend more time making money off teenagers than doing anything else these days.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I do like Zoe and I feel like the media has been taking the story a bit too far, it seems a bit wrong that this is practically headline news when Sam Pepper et al never once got a mention, that to me seems like a far more important subject to be talking about. It just frustrates me that this sort of thing is allowed to happen without consequence, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter but I do slightly resent these people being able to make all this money from gullible, impressionable and young teenagers.

I'm sure this whole fiasco won't affect Zoe in the slightest, at the end of the day Zoe will always be the winner. Whilst, we're all sitting here giving an opinion on someone we've never met, she's in her expensive house with her book and her freebies laughing all the way to the bank. Her second book will come out and her fans will happily lap it up and praise Zoe, but I know that I won't be able to take any of her book signings or interviews seriously when I know she hasn't written any of it. If it were me, I feel like the best thing to do now would be to write a blog post or make a video explaining the whole situation, what the ghostwriter's involvement was and apologise, then everyone can move on. Who knows whether Zoe will do any of this, but I feel like something needs to change here.

I'd love to hear your thoughts because I think this is a really interesting discussion, let me know in the comments what you think!


  1. I really don't like the fact that her book is ghostwritten, I think it's misleading for her fans as a lot of them are incredibly young and I feel that the actual author should be getting the credit rather than Zoe herself, it should have been the two authors names on the book!

    Definitely agree where you said that its frustrating that celebs are allowed to exploit their young fans and make so much money in this way! // UK Fashion Blog



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