Zoella book launch: Teens, tears and tissues as YouTube star hits Waterstones

Online phenomenon Zoe Suggs was a bestseller even before her book was published

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The Independent Culture

“I’m a crier!” gasped one girl in the queue of teens outside the Bluewater branch of Waterstones in Dartford, Kent. “I’m not going to be able to stop myself when I see her!”

There was a smugness among the lines of expectant youths getting their tissues ready yesterday while waiting to get a glimpse of Zoella.

Most new authors would want as many people to know about their book launches as possible. But such is the level of fan devotion to the video blogger – real name Zoe Sugg – among her 6.5 million adoring YouTube subscribers, her book signing for her debut novel yesterday could only be organised in strict secrecy.

The 24-year-old’s Girl Online is expected to become an overnight bestseller thanks to her legions of teenage fans, having reached number three on the Amazon bestsellers list before the book was even released. It was therefore little surprise when the Waterstones website crashed last week when the dates for the vlogger’s events were announced last week – meaning the location of yesterday’s event was released to ticket-holders just a day beforehand.

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Fans queued around the shopping centre waiting for their turn to meet their web idol (Justin Sutcliffe)

Disappointed fans begged the lucky ones among Zoella’s 2.54 million Twitter followers to give away the address, only to be told “ticket-holders only, soz babes” by one of those with a ticket.

Many young fans sacrificed school for the event, plenty with their parents in tow. As Heather, the mother of 11-year-old Lucy said: “Zoella may slap on a lot of make-up, but I’d much rather my daughter see her as a role model than someone like Justin Bieber.”

Best friends Molly, 11, and Holly, 12, said they were inspired by Zoella to set up their own YouTube channel – and considering that the star is rumoured to make up to £20,000 per video, it’s a business plan Molly’s dad apparently approves of. “Her make-up tutorials are really amazing,” said Molly. “I’d want to be like her one day.”

 

Holly was disappointed to learn that ticket-holders were not allowed to get photographs with her idol, but said: “We’re just going to try and take videos and then jump in before anyone can stop us.”

Tilly, 14, sat in the queue drawing pictures while she waited. “I’m going to give them to Zoella,” she squealed, “And I’ve got her some Lucky Charms cereal because I know those are her favourites.”

And when the doors finally opened to the sacred signing table, tears indeed fell in their thousands. “Why are you crying?” one girl was asked. “I just don’t know!” she replied.

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