On November 25, Zoe Sugg published her debut novel, Girl Online. Sugg, otherwise known as Zoella, a YouTube sensation with over 6 million subscribers, broke records after the book sold 78,000 copies in its first week.
Suddenly, her face and her book were everywhere.
However, the book wasn't written by Sugg alone. In fact, YA author, Siobhan Curham, helped. A Penguin spokeswoman revealed to the Telegraph, "to be factually accurate you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own."
Instantly, my Twitter timeline exploded with people saying they were "fuming" and that it was an "outrage."
Related: Zoella's Writing a Book?! (Video)
I've been a fan of Curham for a few years, and a fan of Sugg for a few months. Maybe I should have felt deceived. Maybe I should have been angry. Maybe I, like many other bloggers and authors I once respected, should have been tweeting sarcastic comments about Sugg and her "mermaid hair" along with her supposed inability to write.
But I didn't. I didn't care at all.
The only thing that bothered me was that a 24-year-old woman was being attacked by millions for doing what many other famous 'authors' have got away with. Authors I once liked and respected were picking on her looks. Her looks.
Seriously? This isn't a school playground.
People are disgusted that a book was ghostwritten. I'm disgusted that there are people out there who think it's okay to attack someone because of it, no matter who it is.
I'd just like to clarify that it's absolutely fine to not like Sugg and/or her book. It's more than fine. What isn't fine is picking on her spelling, her grammar, her looks, and other things that are completely irrelevant yet have the power to make someone feel incredibly low about themselves. And why would you want to contribute to that?
No, Sugg didn't write her book alone, but she had a lot of input. The story was hers. The characters were hers. Imagine you're offered a book deal from the biggest publishing house in the world. You have to have a ghostwriter because you're a high-profile person and it's a high-profile book. You still put a lot of effort in. You're proud, and grateful for the opportunity.
Then you wake up one day to angry emails, tweets, comments and articles in some of the world's biggest newspapers tearing down your book and you as a person because you didn't say you had a ghostwriter. Aren't ghostwriters called ghostwriters for a reason?
It wouldn't be nice, that's for sure.
Related: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (Review)
Books are ghostwritten all the time. There will be books you've read and enjoyed that were ghostwritten and you might not even know it. I respect that Girl Online being ghostwritten has disappointed people, but in the grand scheme of things, it's one book in a world of many - is it really that important?
Some say it will give a harmful impression to her young fans who might suddenly think it's really easy to publish a book. I think anyone of any age who might have dreams of writing a book is smarter than that. Some say it will be harmful to the publishing industry. Admittedly I don't know as much as some about how the publishing world works, but surely the money from Girl Online's success will help to fund books by other authors?
Another argument is that Sugg doesn't deserve the book deal when there are writers out there desperate to get their books published. Is that Sugg's fault? I don't think so.
At the end of the day, books are ghostwritten all the time. Ghostwriting has been around for longer than Sugg has been on this earth and, out of the 78,000 people who bought Girl Online in its first week, I bet loads of them rediscovered their love of reading because of it. How can that be bad?
I enjoyed the book, and I'm not the kind of person who buys something just because of the name on the front. If Girl Online had someone else's name on it, I still would have gone out of my way to read it. I'm sure that would be the same for many.
It's an innocent book. Aren't there bigger things to worry about?
As Patrick Ness said, "Gosh, the outrage couldn't be because she's young, female, writes for teens, and got famous outside of traditional media, could it? Because, you know, the outrage about Wayne Rooney's memoirs was EXACTLY the same as Zoella's... oh, wait, no, it wasn't. Funny that."
If you want to support Siobhan Curham, you can browse and buy her books here, and read about her involvement with the book here on her wonderful blog. To find out more about Zoe Sugg, you can check out her YouTube channel here.
What do you think?