LONDON, United Kingdom – Young British YouTube star Zoella, whose debut novel sold a record number of copies in Britain in its first week, has admitted she had “help” writing the book.
Girl Online became the fastest-selling work by a first-time author in Britain since records began in 1998, selling more than 78,000 copies in seven days when it was published last month.
Zoe Sugg, 24, became a YouTube sensation under the pseudonym Zoella when she started a “vlog,” or video blog, in 2009, filled with fashion, beauty and lifestyle tips for young women and girls.
She built up more than 6 million subscribers and went on to sign a two-book deal with Penguin Random House earlier this year.
Speculation had been mounting, however, that the first book, which tells the story of a teenage blogger and her relationship with a US musician, was ghost-written.
Responding to the claims on Twitter, Zoella wrote: “Everyone needs help when they try something new. The story and the characters of ‘Girl Online’ are mine. I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to support the book.”
A spokesman for publisher Penguin Random House confirmed Monday, December 8 that “Sugg did not write Girl Online on her own”.
“For her first novel, Girl Online Zoe has worked with an expert editorial team to help her bring to life her characters and experiences in a heartwarming and compelling story,” the spokesman said.
Girl Online was an instant hit, outselling the debut offerings of Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling and Dan Brown, author of the The Da Vinci Code, as well E L James’ bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.
Its success even led campaigner Bob Geldof to invite Sugg to sing alongside superstars One Direction and Bono on the Band Aid 30 single released to raise money to combat Ebola.
Rumors started building that Girl Online was not Sugg’s own work, however, with The Sunday Times newspaper highlighting similarities with the world of author Siobhan Curham.
In the Girl Online acknowledgements, 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.”
Penguin Random House said it was “proud to be have been able to help Zoe tell her story”.
“As publishers our role is, and always has been, to find the very best talent and help them tell their story and connect them with readers,” the spokesman added.
Sugg has announced that she’s taking a break from the Internet following these events.
Bare with me on vlogmas. I'm taking a few days out and off the internet because it's clouding up my brain. Thanks for understanding ❤️— Zoë (@ZozeeBo) December 8, 2014
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