Vlogger Autobiographies – making friends or making money?
First came the autobiographies and biographies written by celebrities from the music, acting and sporting industries.
Then came the less well received autobiographies and biographies telling the life struggles of reality TV stars, and if the cast of the likes from The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shore can get a book published surely anyone can?
Now the shelves in most high street book shops are lined with the life stories of the people who are mostly only known for displaying their private lives online.
Drawing on Joshua’s article Youtubers and their books posted last month, this article explores a bit further the points he made; whether or not the books published by video bloggers have, or have not, produced anything meaningful.
It seems that most vloggers are barely out of school themselves and are now seemingly exploiting the young adult genre to make more money by posing as a friend (separated by a camera lens) with the sharing of childhood struggles, stories and lifestyle tips. The question is if they are indeed contributing anything important to an already very populated book type.
The growing number that have published include that of Zoe Sugg (Zoella), Jenn McAllister (Jennxpenn), Connor Franta, Tanya Burr, Louise Pentland (A Sprinkle of Glitter) and Joey Graceffa – plus many more with more preparing to publish. The likes of which all sign Youtube as their main job and source of income.
Now, the concept of writing, filming, starring, editing, producing and promoting a video is not condonable, instead it’s rather a creative way to build a career especially in a modern TV-obsessed society and culture, but why on top of this insist on then proceeding to follow through with a book? Isn’t the sole purpose of most of these videos to use the process of visual media to share memories and advice, why is it then all summed up and thrown into book form?
Overall very little have contributed anything new to what has already been shared. The main stand out autobiography that breaks the cliché of the pointless vlogger autobiographies and/or book is Carrie Hope Fletcher’s (ItsWayPastMyBedTime) All I know Now, in which Carrie’s main aim is to act as a guiding friend through the years of growing up and school. Carrie herself is not What Carrie does though, is not just recite her memories and struggles, but delves into what she knows now from it; how she should have acted (if she believes she didn’t act correctly at the time), how this has affected her future decisions and what you as the reader can also learn from her mistakes or choices.
However, despite the genuine intention behind Carrie’s book, it does share at least one thing with the poor Pointless Books produced by the like of Alfie Deyes; most of the buyers will be under 18, an audience of which surely shouldn’t be made to feel they have to buy a book because it has a vloggers name and face attached to it. It all seems when scratched below the surface one way to make even more money. For these faces are watched by thousands daily and if they haven’t already shared all that they want the public to know, why make it bought knowledge (or in Zoella’s case, why sign your name on ghost-written work) and not express it in another video other than for money?
Indeed, the vlogger autobiography mostly seems very unnecessary, yet the demand for such books cannot be denied. Which, as a result, because a new and young adult reader should be purchasing a book because it sounds interesting to them, and if the books of such YouTube vloggers does do so, then so be it.
Nevertheless, the YA genre will feel slightly tarnished by such endorsements in at least one opinion.