Girl Online Was Ghost Written: Why It Matters | Weaving Pages: Girl Online Was Ghost Written: Why It Matters

Monday, 8 December 2014

Girl Online Was Ghost Written: Why It Matters

Okay. I'm wading in here. I think I've expressed before that I don't particularly agree with Youtubers publishing books. In short, my argument is that whilst they've worked extremely hard for a Youtube following, it doesn't mean that they should now go and write a book without any passion for it, and without ever realising the work that actually goes into a novel.  I feel that it's extremely unfair to writers who pour their heart and soul into their work only to have a book that was produced with the aim to make money completely over rule that passionate book.

Despite still not completely agreeing with it, I have agreed to those around me that it's not as bad in the case of Zoella's book, Girl Online. My friends have all preached to me that she has always wished to be a writer, and that she actually has a very nice writing style. With this information, I admitted that it wasn't as bad because Zoe actually has an appreciation for writing and therefore it was nice that she didn't just accept the book deal because it was another opportunity for money. Even then, I don't completely agree with things because she was offered the deal, whilst most writers go through a long, hard process to achieve their dreams. 
Anyway, turns out that I had a reason to remain sceptical: The nice writing style isn't hers, it's someone else's. That's because Girl Online was just revealed by the publisher to have been Ghost Written, and as you can guess, I'm not exactly happy about it, even though i'm not surprised either.

Many people, like me, are angry, and many think it's not a big deal. But the thing is: It's not about the ghost writing. A ghost written book is fine- like lots of people have said, it can get people into reading and that it an amazing feat. What I don't agree with is that the ghost writing was never mentioned until people started questioning it.

A book is not made great by the following a person has, but by the passion that they put into it. If I was a fan of Zoella (I don't watch her videos by the way- I'm not a big Youtuber person though I used to watch them occasionally.) I would be extremely upset by this revelation. I would feel as though what I thought was quite a personal book suddenly turned out to be the exact opposite: not personal at all, but instead something quite unreal.

Like I said above, I'm not angry about the ghost writing particularly, but about the cover up. And since I'm not a fan, I don't feel as disappointed about realising the book wasn't written by her as I think I would. What annoys me is that they didn't announce it was ghost written!!

The article that I linked to above states that the back of the cover quotes Zoe as saying: 
"My dream has been to write a book, and I can't believe it's come true. Girl Online is my first novel and I'm so excited for you to read it."
All I can think is no, no, no. A million times no. The book was ghost written, but not only was that omitted, but it's talked about as if it was written by Zoe, and that annoys me so much. I simply can not agree with stating you are proud of something you haven't done. If it were me, I would not be able to even pretend to have written this book. I would feel like I was deceiving myself, and those who were to read it. I can not think of one situation where it is reasonable to pretend that you wrote a book and to cover up the fact that you didn't.

Girl Online has even broken records and beaten Harry Potter. Personally, it's just even more reason to be annoyed- does it even deserve those records when it wasn't the alleged writer's work?? Does it count to compare a ghost written book to a magical story that was born in the mind of one woman who made her future without an automatic book deal or any help whatsoever? I'm not sure I think they should even be compared...

UPDATE: Zoe later posted the following about the issue:

Unfortunately, I don't believe this deals with the issue very well. Whilst I'm sure Zoe had the best of intentions with the release of Girl Online, this response completely skirts whether it was ghost written or not. She always states that everyone needs help when they try something new. But, I'm sorry, that is just not true. The fact that the book deal was offered in the first place means that Girl Online was already at an advantage- it didn't have to go through getting an agent and a publisher. That being said, the idea that everyone gets help implies that each new debut book had some other author's contribution in it. Yet again another mistake. Every new author has put so much work into their manuscript and polish it as best as possible before anyone even looks at it. This book deal and the fact that Zoe 'had help' means that the work that normally goes into a debut book was lessened a substantial amount. Though I'm not an expert on publishing, I feel like I know enough to be able to say that you write your manuscript alone without any help. Only when it's finished and you have an agent does it normally get anywhere near a publishing house. A unpublished author is very much on their own until they finish their manuscript. No ghostwriters in sight.

What are your thoughts? I would love to see people discuss this in the comments! However, please be mindful that we must respect everyone's varying opinions. Be friendly!

rita xo

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