I think we can all agree that YouTuber books are a thing. Publishing companies have become infatuated with the massive viewing numbers an internet star like PewDiePie or Zoella tends to rake in. I think we can also agree that criticizing YouTuber books is a huge thing, too.
Whether you work for Vice or not, you've definitely judged at least one book brought out by a YouTuber. That's understandable. In a year that saw Dan and Phil, Tyler Oakley and PewDiePie all release books, you probably have the distinct feeling that a YouTuber book is waiting for you at every corner. But, even if that's the case, is it such a bad thing?
YouTubers like Tyler Oakley are constantly subject to headlines like the one above. Kyle Smith, a New York Post writer, describes Tyler Oakley as the following.
Despite being a "chortling youth", Tyler Oakley's autobiography, Binge, climbed to the top of the New York Times Best Seller's list in a matter of days. Tyler probably didn't imagine getting a book deal when he first started recording videos in 2007. But that was not the nature of the industry then. Today, book deals are common among internet stars with large followings. If you author a viral tweet that gets in front of the right pair of eyes, you could get a book deal.
Then there are the books that draw some fair criticism. Alfie Deyes' Pointless Book was described by the Guardian as "a bit like the activity sheets given to children in museums and on planes to keep them quiet". Alfie's book was a commercial success but a critical flop and drew a lot of comparisons to Wreck This Journal. But does it matter?
The fans were happy with the book, the book didn't physically hurt anyone, and we can only assume the proceeds went to maintaining and cultivating Alfie's slow transition into Harry Styles. Everyone wins.
Not all YouTuber books are created equal. Of that, we're sure. But I think its fair to assume most YouTubers accept book deals to advance their careers. The same thing applies to professional athletes, actors, chefs, and other public figures who accept book deals without actually being writers.
It's a way to make sure your brand can move forward and expand beyond your primary source of income. Our favourite YouTubers probably wont make videos forever. These books mean they can build a life for themselves beyond sitting in front of a camera.
image via New York Times
While some YouTuber books are definitely a load of old bollocks, I think it's time we pull back the criticism and respect the hustle. Anyone putting in work to ensure they can find themselves in a position to write a book is clearly on their grind. And who knows, one day you could be the one at the heart of a ghostwriting controversy.