Will A Ghostwriter Controversy Destroy Zoella’s New Book Career?

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Just as Zoella was starting to look like the new “It Girl” of publishing with her massive launch of her debut book, Girl Online, some news has emerged that taints the sweetness. Or does it?

Zoe “Zoella” Suggs and her publishers have taken the hard-line steps of corralling the controversial rumors that the YouTube beauty vlogger turned author employed a ghostwriter … by confirming it.

According to the UK’s Telegraph, “Today, a spokesperson for Penguin Random House told the Sunday Times that ‘to be factually accurate you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own.’” Later Zoe took to Twitter to confirm as much:

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The rumors began over a telling statement on the book’s “Special Thanks” page: “I want to thank everyone at Penguin (Random House) for helping me put together my first novel, especially Amy Alward and Siobhan Curham, who were with me every step of the way.”

While Amy Alward is an editor at Penguin Random House, Siobhan Curham is a noted writer of young adult fiction. Additionally, bloggers have made claims that a now-deleted Facebook post from Curham mentioned a project where she had six weeks to write a book — a project that seems to fit the timeline of Girl Online. And now Zoella has taken a few days offline to let the heat die down and “clear her head”:

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But with the news being out there and confirmed, does it really change anything? Penguin Random House has a two-book deal with Zoella, a deal they seemingly very much intend to keep, and Zoella’s fans have responded to her Twitter admission pledging their support. So even if this attention detracts from the purity of the initial story about the YouTuber-turned-author, clearly there is still an audience for this thinly-veiled fiction about a girl vlogger.

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And in Zoella’s defense, this book sold not because of the words on the page, but because of Zoella’s attachment to it. At the end of the day, that is likely what will matter most to fans. Still, people handle strange truth in interesting ways. We’ll just have to wait and see. Really, this now puts heat on her fellow published YouTubers — how much of their own hit books did they actually write?


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