YouTubers vs. Established Authors

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If you’ve never heard of Zoella, the popular English fashion and beauty YouTuber, then you’ve been living under a rock—because this 24-year-old has recently obliterated records for highest ever first week sales for a debut writer. With 78,000 copies of GirlOnline picked up in its first week, Zoella has outperformed both EL James and JK Rowling during their debuts!

Now that’s impressive.

With a rising trend of publishers throwing book deals at vloggers, we wanted to see whether their efforts for getting fans to post on social media are actually effective. By doing so, we pulled data from four books that have been released around the same time and compared the Twitter buzz generated by YouTubers to those of established authors.

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The Pointless Book: Started by Alfie Deyes, Finished by You is anything but pointless. Filled with fun activities and challenges, it is no surprise that vlogger Alfie Deyes—who boasts over 2.9 million subscribers—and his book were mentioned more than two thousand times on Twitter. A barrage of self-advertising tweets and interviews (along with constant mentions from girlfriend, Zoella––yes, you read right) helped a great deal. Grace Helbig’s (1.9m subscribers) Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-up—a tongue-in-cheek handbook for young adults— also derived an impressive two thousand tweets. Helbig’s relentless campaign on Twitter and live launches have done well to promote the guide that is flying off bookshelves.

No surprises there, but when we pulled up tweets for Anne Rice’s Prince Lestat, we were blown away—the Queen of Gothic Fiction’s new novel inspired almost four thousand mentions. We guessed that the continuation of sexy vampire Lestat’s story had something to do with it, but Jodi Picoult’s novel, Leaving Time about a daughter determined to find her missing mother—generated a whopping five thousand mentions!

We’ve got to be honest— we suspected that the YouTubers (who are all in their twenties) would win out, especially over older authors who lack a younger fan base, but we were wrong. Although the graph (below) suggests that The Pointless Book and Grace’s Guide boasted the highest spikes in discussion, Prince Lestat and Leaving Time had the most consistent buzz throughout.

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Make no mistake––although young social media mavens are currently all the rage, veteran authors are still the ones who reign supreme over the literary world.

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