Publishers took a long time to see the potential in books by online celebrities, according to Dom Smales, whose company Gleam Futures manages YouTube stars Alfie Deyes and Zoe Sugg [pictured].
Speaking at the Publishing for Digital Minds Conference yesterday (13th April), Smales revealed how he had taken book proposals from his roster of talent to publishers several years ago, with no success. "It was very different coming from the online world towards publishing," Smales said. "Publishing is a business which has been around for hundreds of years. We've talked for years with publishers about doing these books and they said no, they couldn't see who would want it. It's only recently that the penny has dropped."
He added: "Publishers were used to doing things in a certain way. I will say though, that if anything TV is being slower to adapt than publishing."
Zoe Sugg, known online as Zoella, became the fastest-selling debut author in charts history with her YA novel, Girl Online (Penguin), while Alfie Deyes, Sugg's boyfriend, has also seen success with The Pointless Book and The Pointless Book 2 (Blink), which also hit number one on the bestseller charts.
Smales said he thought the phenomenon was a positive move for publishing and reading. He said: "Last week I went with Alfie to a signing at Bluewater shopping centre. There were a queue of a thousand people there, all with their head in a book, which has to be a good thing."