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Zoella Used A Ghostwriter On Her Fast-Selling Debut Novel

The YouTube star authored the fastest-selling debut novel ever. "Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own," says her publisher.

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YouTube star Zoe Sugg didn't write all of her novel Girl Online on her own, according to her publisher.

Luke Macgregor / Reuters

Girl Online is a novel about a girl who blogs "her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, high school drama, her crazy family, and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life", before being whisked away to New York.

It sold 78,000 copies in its first week, while book signings around the UK have been total sell-outs.

But Sugg's publisher has now confirmed that her team employed a ghostwriter to anonymously write parts of the book.

"To be factually accurate, you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own," Penguin told the Sunday Times.

The use of ghostwriters is relatively common in the world of young adult fiction and celebrity books, although Sugg and her team had not previously mentioned that she had assistance on the project.

But there are clues: in the acknowledgements of Girl Online Sugg thanks "everyone at Penguin for helping me put together my first novel, especially Amy Alward and Siobhan Curham, who were with me every step of the way".

Alward is Sugg's editor while Siobhan Curham is a prolific author of young adult fiction. It is not clear to what extent or in what role Curham was involved in the writing of the book.

On Sunday afternoon Zoella confirmed she had "help telling my story" but said all the story and characters are hers.

This might answer some of your tweets! X

Zoë@ZozeeBoFollow

This might answer some of your tweets! X

4:48 PM - 07 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Depending on your point of view, this is either a depressing indictment of the publishing industry:

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Success of Zoella's ghost written novel just shows how powerful a brand can be. Money talks, I guess.

Chloë Hamilton@chloehamiltonFollow

Success of Zoella's ghost written novel just shows how powerful a brand can be. Money talks, I guess.

2:28 PM - 07 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Zoella's book was ghostwritten? You mean a publisher abused an online sensations young followers for monetary gain?! SHOCK HORROR.

Luke Brown@gr4sshopp3rFollow

Zoella's book was ghostwritten? You mean a publisher abused an online sensations young followers for monetary gain?! SHOCK HORROR.

1:47 PM - 07 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

people are srsly comparing zoella to jk rowling sellout blogger that released a ghostwritten novel vs. a real literary author ??? just no

❁claudia❁@justholdmefastFollow

people are srsly comparing zoella to jk rowling

sellout blogger that released a ghostwritten novel vs. a real literary author ??? just no

7:12 PM - 05 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Or a perfectly acceptable behaviour for someone whose main talent lies in making vlogs:

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In other news along the lines of Zoella's book being ghostwritten, water is wet and the Pope is Catholic.

Ebenezer Scrooge@BarryPierceFollow

In other news along the lines of Zoella's book being ghostwritten, water is wet and the Pope is Catholic.

1:36 PM - 07 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Why the stressing re Zoella? Nobody minds that tv, sport or film stars are ghostwritten cos, like her, their day jobs aren't being writers.

Caitlin Raynor@BookywookydoodaFollow

Why the stressing re Zoella? Nobody minds that tv, sport or film stars are ghostwritten cos, like her, their day jobs aren't being writers.

1:01 PM - 07 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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