It is unfortunate. Writers are being rejected, not for poor work, but because they don’t have a big enough ‘following.’ How can an author create a following without first being published?
But like everything else, the book publishing industry must evolve. However, it seems to be (kind of/ sort of/ anyone else getting a hinky feeling here?) chopping away at marketing. Instead of figuring out new ways to gain ‘personal’ relationships with fans, they are targeting people who already have that relationship with their fans. Approaching them with book deals, while the approached is none the wiser that the publisher may just be drooling behind closed doors at their following. Is it a matter of ‘I love your blog, let’s work together,’ or ‘I love your channel, let’s work together.’ Or is it more or less, ‘I like your millions of followers. And I’ll do what I have to do to put your name on the cover so I can sell to them.’
It is the newest trend to offer youtubers book deals. Youtubers like Zoe Sugg and Tanya Burr who have admitted that ghostwriters were employed. Zoe Sugg’s Youtube fan base is close to seven million followers.
“YouTube star Zoella, whose real name is Zoe Sugg, famously quit the internet in late 2014 after it emerged that the editorial team at Penguin helped with the writing of her book.” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2901810/Tanya-Burr-latest-YouTube-star-land-book-deal-unlike-Zoella-admitted-ghost-writer.html)
“Vlogger-turned-author Zoella insists she’s not leaving YouTube despite backlash over ghostwritten book.” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2866840/Vlogger-turned-author-Zoella-insists-s-not-leaving-YouTube-despite-backlash-ghostwritten-book.html)
Should youtube stars, bloggers, and anyone else who wants to, write their own book or have one published? Of course they should!
Why is it kick-ass awesome?
Youtube stars landing book deals is a good thing for the industry because these stars are generally young people with a young fan base. They get young people reading, and may even inspire some to start their own youtube channel or begin writing their own novels.
Because they could be great reads!
But should they rush into temptation when publishers come knocking? Really, maybe it’s the publishers who should know better. Do they understand fans? In this case, readers? Unquestionably: you don’t do things at their expense. You don’t do things where they are going to feel cheated or exploited. You don’t do things where they are going to feel conned. And you certainly don’t put your authors in situations where they are going to be slandered by their own fans (not fans that the publishers gained for them, but their own fans).
Instead of stating things like, “The factual accuracy of the matter is simply that Zoe Sugg did not write Girl Online on her own.” They should be stating things like, “Every novel takes team effort in editing, designing, and overall creating. The factual accuracy of the matter is that this is Zoe Sugg’s awesome novel and we’re all excited to be a part of it.”
Or, hell, if it really was Ghost Written, the publishers should have put the other writer’s name on the cover as well as Zoe Sugg’s name.
“I absolutely love vlogging, but the comments recently mostly made me sick to my stomach. To the point I couldn’t bare to scroll down and read them in the fear that the top comments would be so mean, whether that was a personal attack on me, or someone else I loved. I’ve never felt this way before, and it’s so disheartening. That once fun, happy place that I uploaded content had all of a sudden turned so evil.” (http://www.zoella.co.uk/2014/11/why-i-stopped-daily-vlogging-hate-on.html)
But I would like to add (I don’t know how many of you have experienced slander, negative comments and such, and how consuming it can be) that Zoe Sugg hasn’t left youtube and you can find her channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gejL03izgc
I think authors everywhere (published or aspiring) can learn from this. Taking away from this, not only to take precautions and protect yourself and your fans, how to rise above negativity and slander, but how to also reach out and get personal with your fans. Writers are being rejected not for poor work, but for poor fan base (although, why settle for 10% of royalties when you can create a book and receive 100% of royalties if you have the fan base is beyond me).
For writers needing to connect and build a fan base, Zoe Sugg’s channel and blog are wonderful places to get inspired. http://www.zoella.co.uk/p/pradvertising.html