It is becoming too difficult to write books about teenagers because they are so busy on social media they do not do enough to form a plot, the novelist Dame Jacqueline Wilson has suggested.
Dame Jacqueline, one of the best-selling children’s writers of all time, said she has turned away from writing about teenage girls because they are not “actually going out” enough to create action.
Saying she had not written a modern teenage book for some time, she added she now found it “quite difficult” to think of plots involving them.
Speaking at Hay Festival, she said she is now more likely to write about Victorian or Edwardian children instead.
Zoella’s mega-seller represents the future of youth publishing, says the ES headline above David Sexton’s review of Girl Online:
It’s a moment. Apparently from nowhere, a Young Adult novel, Girl Online (Penguin, £12.99) by 24-year-old Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, has shot to the top of the bestseller lists. It shifted 78,109 copies in its first week of publication, making it the fastest selling debut ever, outdoing J K Rowling, Dan Brown and E L James. It seems a cert to head the charts for Christmas.
It’s not from nowhere, though. Zoella already commands audiences other authors can only dream of. She’s the queen of vloggers, the role model of her generation. In her shows, made from her home in Brighton, she talks about clothes, make-up, relationships and her life — and receives substantial advertising revenue for product-placement, for she reaches young consumers on an astonishing scale.
She has 6.3 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 12 million views a month. On Instagram, she has 3.3 million followers and on Twitter (@ZozeeBo) 2.59 million. Taking into account the devotion she inspires in her girl fans the book sales don’t look so remarkable.
As for that sales record, it doesn’t tell us anything new about publishing, which has abjectly depended upon spin-off sales from other media for many years. What it tells us about is the dominance of new media over old-fashioned television for Zoella’s generation — they’re “like 70-30 YouTube”, she reckons. She should know. Clever girl.
Philip Reeve tells Girls Heart Books why he has become a digital hermit during the first part of 2014:
…for the moment I’ve stopped using Twitter and Facebook. It wasn’t that they were distracting me from writing – I work in a souped-up shed in the garden where there’s no internet access. It was worse than that! They were distracting me from reading.
Very comprehensive blog post from Sarah McIntyre… Highly recommended
We KNOW our publishers can’t do everything, that readers look to authors themselves to be inspired to buy their books, that publishers have limited budgets, and that it makes business sense not to devote quite as much of their time to a book that’s selling millions of copies versus a book that sells hundreds.
At the same time, we’re expected to be writers, artists, bloggers, e-mailers, stage performers and educators. (I itemised the jobs from my blog post, The McIntyre Way™, and added two more jobs: accountant and housewife. Possibly lobbyists, too.) I estimated that I can easily spend 70% of my time doing publicity work when, really, I’d rather spend 70% of my time writing and drawing. So what CAN our publishers do to help us so we actually have time to write and illustrate?