So, ‘Girl Online’ is ghost written


I had not heard the name Zoe Sugg until I read about her last week. Several news outlets were reporting that her new book, Girl Online, had sold more copies on release than any debut author since records began. Impressive? Of course, although I am always a little wary of these figures due to their overuse. We get a little snow and it is the heaviest snowfall since, er, last winter? Mmm.

However, I was happy to read that a twenty-something debut author was selling a large number of books. I am always happy to hear of a large number of books being sold. This generally means that bookshops are making sales and that people are reading books. In my view both of these things are good.

Then, this weekend, my twitter feed was filled with outrage as it emerged that Girl Online was ghost written. I must admit to feeling a degree of disappointment at this news coming so close on the back of the reports of the author’s success. I felt the same when I discovered that the best selling author James Patterson employed a team of ghost writers to churn out his numerous titles. With so many talented writers struggling to be published it felt wrong that he was little more than a brand. Why though should this bother me when I am unlikely to read his output? If others are enjoying the books then this alone is a positive.

Some on twitter were seriously bothered. There were discussions about openness, literary quality and how sad it was that so called trashy publications outsold Booker novels. There was judgement and snobbery. There were also a pleasing number of people pointing out that tastes vary and questioning what made a book good.

For the book industry to survive it needs to sell its output. Zoe Sugg is, apparently, popular amongst teenagers who find her inspirational. If they are now buying her book then I see no difference between this and the many people who choose to buy celebrity autobiographies which are also ghost written. People read these books because they are interested in the name on the front.

Readers have differing tastes. I do not choose to read chick lit or formulaic thrillers. I do not buy cookery books or autobiographies. I know a great many people do, and these purchases enable publishers to release the sorts of titles that I want to read, books that may not sell in such large numbers. Why should any of these books be considered better if all are enjoyed?

I have one widely read friend who does not like the works of Margaret Atwood as she finds it depressing. My daughter does not enjoy Jane Austen preferring the likes of Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss or even Agatha Christie. When looking to escape into a book we choose a work that we hope to enjoy. I am thankful for differing opinions on books as they encourage variety. If that did not exist then readers would be deprived of the pleasure of discovering something new.

When I read a book that I consider good I am eager to recommend it to others but recognise that they may not be as enthralled. This does not make either they or me more discerning, merely different. I feel better seeing someone read any book rather than a magazine designed to make the reader feel bad about themselves. Even the much derided Fifty Shades of Grey (which I have not read) showed many non readers that books can be enjoyed.

Girl Online is selling and I hope that the furore around this weekend’s disclosures does not have a negative impact on those sales. I also hope that the author is being supported as she copes with the negative comments being made. It would be sad indeed if detractors tarnished the celebrations of such a successful book just because its method of creation did not meet with their approval.


2 comments on “So, ‘Girl Online’ is ghost written

  1. Ella says:

    I can’t say that Zoe wrote it all by herself, but she did write most if not all of it. You can see in her daily vlogs that she speaks about being excited by ideas, sitting down to write, commenting on the messages she put in… in one of her most recent vlogs she talked about book #2. So that doesn’t mean that she did all of the writing, but it’s not just her name stuck on the front.

    • zeudytigre says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. It sounds as if there may be some mixed messages doing the rounds. My understanding is that her publisher responded to rumours by admitting that the book was ghost written. Whatever Zoe’s contribution to the actual writing, great or small, the book is selling because of her name on the front. If readers are enjoying it then I hope that she continues to be excited and that she enjoys her success. I know nothing about her fan base but am always happy to see anyone pick up a book.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.