Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Phenomena of Youtuber Books


Does anyone remember when YouTube was a place for crappy dance/music videos and makeup tutorials filmed on a laptop camera?  But that YouTube is now a thing of the past.  In the past few years, YouTube has transformed from a hobby into a full-fledged business where creators are sponsored by brands and offered product deals, including book deals.  There has been a huge influx of YouTuber books in the market, causing a point of contention with viewers and especially book lovers.  

While some subscribers may be excited to receive new content from their favorite YouTubers and are proud of their success, others feel off-put by the whole concept.  A common question seems to be floating around in the comment sections of videos:  did this book deserve to be published?


Books are art, and when it comes to art there is often a sense that it should come from a place of passion and creativity, not from a desire for money and popularity.  While some authors write tirelessly in pursuit of their craft, YouTubers are seemingly handed these expensive book deals on a silver platter for no other reason than their fame. While it is understandable from a marketing and business perspective for these publishing companies to take advantage of the pre-established fan bases that have proven lucrative, is it fair to all the other writers who dedicate their lives to their art?

While there is the occasional YouTuber that gets published through the traditional route, like Carrie Fletcher, the majority seem to be contacted left and right by publishers inquiring about a new business venture.  This creates a sort of stigma surrounding these type of books that have flooded the market, especially if the YouTuber in question had no previously exhibited desire to write a novel or any skills in which to do so.  In another world, if they had not been relatively famous and sent the same book in through traditional methods, would it have been published at all?



There have been some scandals when it comes to the whole YouTuber book shenanigans, like the blow up about Zoella's ghostwriter, but it hasn't just been these incidents that leave people with a bad taste in their mouths.  Every time a YouTuber uploads a book announcement video, viewers seem to utter a collective sigh.  Not this again, right?  It doesn't appear as if YouTube book deals are going to stop anytime soon, for better or for worse.  But what can I say, I've only read one.







18 comments:

  1. I'm gonna be honest here and say that I hate the idea of youtuber books. It just annoys me that aspiring authors have to work their butts off to be published while famous internet stars are being handled deals even if they never expressed interest in writing books. I've read a couple and I can honestly say that the quality of writing is not that good in my opinion. It just seems like a money grab in my opinion.

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    1. Me too (clearly). It's just completely unfair, and although I enjoyed the one YouTuber book I read, the whole route to it getting published bothers me. It really does seem like a money grab, especially since a lot of the YouTubers taking these book deals are the ones that seem to take every other deal thrown their way. Thanks for commenting, Emily!

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  2. I don't really know much about Youtuber books... I've never actually read any, so I don't feel like I can form a proper opinion, if that makes sense? Although I think they should be passionnate about whatever they're writing and genuinely enjoy it, otherwise there isn't much point, both on a personal level and why would you want to give your fans/subscribers something you didn't have fun creating? As for the whole route into publication thing...it's a messy argument...
    This is such an interesting discussion, and one I can never quite make my mind up about! Thank you for writing such a fabulous post ❤

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    1. I've only read one, but I see a new book announcement by a YouTuber every other day and only some of them seem genuine. It seems like the only real motivation for them to write a book is because they were offered another chance to promote themselves and make money, which is not what books should be about. You're so right about it being a messy argument. Thanks so much for commenting, Rebekah!

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  3. I definitely agree! I will say the Binge by Tyler Oakley was well-written, but In Real Life, Girl Online, and A Work in Progress weren't. And I don't think most YouTubers write their books because they want to write one, either - some may, but many don't.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. Girl Online especially frustrates me because of the whole ghost writing thing. It totally shows how these YouTubers don't actually want to write a book themselves. Thanks for commenting, Ellie!

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  4. Well, I honestly feel 50/50 about this. I mean, yeah, Youtubers can write books, that's okay. It's like a gift for their fans to get to know them more or something. However, I do admit that sometimes I just can't help but sigh when I hear another Youtuber's going to publish a book.

    "In another world, if they had not been relatively famous and sent the same book in through traditional methods, would it have been published at all?" That is the EXACT line of thinking I have as well! Sometimes I really so just wonder if Youtubers publish books from their hearts or just... I don't know, because publishers just KNOW the book's going to be a big hit so they're taking the advantage? I honestly don't know how I should feel about that, being a fan of Youtubers myself. That being said though, I'm still happy when I hear my favorite Youtubers publish a book.

    But like you said, I've only read one book by a Youtuber myself too, so what can I say? :/ :(

    Really great post, Erin!

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    1. Yeah, I totally get what you mean. As much as some YouTuber books come from a genuine place to share something with their followers, a lot of them seem so fake. And I just feel sad knowing that they get handed these deals when other people may never get one, no matter how much they deserve it. I love YouTube, but the whole thing frustrates me as a book lover. Thanks so much for commenting, Mara!

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  5. I do hate the concept of youtuber's books, but I haven't read any of it, so I can't exactly be a judge. But it's just really unfair, like you said, how aspiring and talented authors tried really hard to get published, while youtubers are asked if they wanted to write the book. It's just really unfair :(

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    1. I've only read one myself, but the whole publishing situation bothers me every time I see a new announcement for a book. It IS unfair. Just because someone is relatively famous shouldn't give them things they haven't worked for or may even want. Thanks for commenting, Tasya!

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  6. Tbh, I don't really mind Youtubers getting to publish their novels. Yes, it is unfair from the perspective of those who work their asses off, while these people are just given this chance on a silver plate. But it's not like this is a new thing! Celebrities, even smaller ones, have always been given book deals if that was what they wanted, and, like it or not, youtubers are indeed incredibly famous these days. Plus, if people weren't reading their books, they wouldn't get published in the first place, which means there are people who are happy with these books. To me, Youtuber books are a bit like books by authors who I personally don't enjoy, but others love - obviously, I won't be buying them, but I try not to get mad over them getting all these great deals. Does that make sense? :D
    Amazing post!
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

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    1. That's kind of my problem, the whole celebrities getting book deals for no reason other than the fact that they're famous. And a lot of YouTubers don't even seem like they truly ever wanted to write a book until they were offered money for it. The people who read these books are primarily already fans, which is why it can be annoying when it becomes a success, not necessarily because it was good, but because there was already a fanbase for the person themselves. I can totally see your perspective, though, and some YouTuber books do seem genuine. The route to how they were published just seems a little unfair to me. Thanks for commenting, Veronika!

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  7. I've only read one too..and I only read it because I was sent it for review. It was a totally insufferable happy-fest honestly that was entirely unrealistic and I wanted to hurl it at a wall.πŸ˜‚ But like I don't think youtubers shouldn't be published or whatever, because I mean, I am 100% all for people living their dreams and if book writing is in that, then wooo go them! It is sucky though that they'll get a deal in a snap and many talented authors take years and YEARS to get an established fanbase so that publishers really pay attention to them. Still, from a business perspective, I understand why publishers hand out the deals so fast!πŸ˜‚

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    1. Yeah, I haven't heard too many great things about most YouTuber books... And I'm not really saying they SHOULDN'T be published, just that they WAY they get published seems a little unfair, you know? Especially when most of them don't really seem to be in it for the love of writing. But it definitely does make sense from a business perspective. Thanks for commenting, Cait!

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  8. I haven't read many (mainly because my favourite Youtubers haven't got a book deal!), but the few that I have read I really enjoyed. I think it's absolutely fine that Youtubers are getting book deals - they have worked really hard on writing their book, and people enjoy them. If it will get reluctant readers into reading, then I think it's great! ♥

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    1. It's not really the fact that they're getting the deals, it's the whole messy process of why and how they're getting them that seems unfair. Some YouTubers don't even seem to want to write a book, but do want the money or publicity that comes with it. And it makes me kind of sad when I think about other authors who aren't famous and don't get deals. But it does get people reading, which is something! Thanks for commenting, Denise!

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  9. Honestly, I can see it both ways. On the one hand, it's not fair to other people who have been working their butts off to get their life's work published. On the other, people are still interested in reading them. And as long as there are people interested in reading them, they'll probably continue to be published. It's no different than a random famous person writing an autobiography; it's just a specific and slightly-gray-area profession that's doing it.
    I don't really know, I guess it just depends on how good the book is- if the YouTuber really put work into it and it's just an autobiography, that's one thing. But who decides which is which?
    Ah, well, the mysteries of YouTube, am I right?
    -Amy

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    1. I agree, it is a really gray area. There are some YouTuber books that clearly have effort put into them, I think it's just that those may be published instead of other books based solely on the fact that it was written by a YouTuber that isn't quite fair. This doesn't negate the effort put into the YouTuber's book, though. It's a really intriguing subject! Thanks so much for commenting!

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