A few weeks ago I was intrigued by a hefty old queue snaking from the entrance to our city centre Waterstones all the way down the side of the shop and into the next street where it curved around the front of several other shops. In fact there were so many people in this queue that it had actually been split into two with the second part starting in the middle of the pedestrianised walkway a short distance away. All of the queuees were young and mostly female so I assumed that the latest pop sensations were in town. As I wandered to the head of the queue to find out what megastar was in attendance I spotted the book that was the cause of this lunchtime commotion. Turned out it was the new title from vlogger Tanya Burr entitled `Tanya Bakes` in which she does just that. So a book about baking written by a vlogger attracted a crowd this big? Not even Dame Mary Berry would surely command such an army of admirers? Not for the first time it alerted me to the way both media and celebrity have changed. Increasingly where once pop, tv and sports stars were the pin ups of the young, nowadays it is just as likely to be an online star. However these online stars are now migrating like birds seeking warmer climes into traditional media. 
Actually Mary B might be slightly horrified with the recipes which Tanya has in the book which apparently include such `delights` as salted caramel cheesecake, rhubarb and custard muffins and - oh my word - Smarties flapjacks. I think Jamie Oliver will be equally horrified by that little lot! `Tanya Bakes` is merely one example of an expanding publishing sub genre which Waterstones and WH Smiths have already given its own space which is YouTubers publishing books. It started off as lark probably; early examples (and by early I’m only talking about two years ago) were more frivolous extensions of each particular vloggers’ own style. Hence Alfie Deyes' Pointless Blog had two books published which were supposed to be equally pointless in that you had to complete them. Maybe incidentally this is how the weird trend of adult colouring books originated?
Anyway the mould breakers were the Suggs which sounds like a medical condition but of course I’m talking about Zoella and her brother Thatcher Joe (nothing to do with a former Prime Minister btw, Joe actually was a roof thatcher). Zoella’s debut novel `Girl Online` caused some controversy when it was revealed she had help writing it but nonetheless it broke all kinds of sales records. “Under the alias Girl Online, Penny blogs her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, high school drama, her crazy family, and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets Noah, a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American. Suddenly Penny is falling in love - and capturing every moment of it on her blog.But Noah has a secret, too, one that threatens to ruin Penny's cover - and her closest friendship - forever.” 

Bro Joe published a graphic novel titled `Username: Evie` which raised the bar further and from this synopsis sounds good; Like anyone who feels as though they just don't fit in, Evie dreams of a place of safety. When times are tough, all she wants is a chance to escape from reality and be herself. Despite his failing health, Evie's father comes close to creating such a virtual idyll. Passing away before it's finished, he leaves her the key in the form of an app, and Evie finds herself transported to a world where the population is influenced by her personality. Everyone shines in her presence, until her devious cousin, Mallory, discovers the app... and the power to cause trouble in paradise.” You can almost imagine the films that will one day be made of both of these.
There are loads of others. Oli White’s recently published `Generation Next` also goes fictional but eschews fantasy for a more down to earth tale of the social media generation of which he is a part.  Marcus Butler delivered `Hello Life ` which according to the blurb is “Funny, cool, fully illustrated and totally readable” and offers advice about healthy living and dealing with those pesky teenage issues. Niomi Smart offers an alternative to Tanya’s sugary confections with her book `Eat Smart` which includes the altogether healthier likes of  Roasted Fennel and Lentil and Fig Salad. You could probably still have a smarties flapjack at the end of it, go on you know you want to. Tyler Oakley’s `Binge` sees him relating various anecdotes about his seemingly incident filled life. In the midst of all this you’ve got to admire Danisnotonfire and The Amazing Phil whose offering `The Amazing Book is Not on Fire` is silly and a bit bizarre. Plus it mentions llamas.
All of these and other books have been hugely successful doing what Harry Potter did for a previous generation of teenagers and keeping the printed word in view. Most of the vloggers have promoted their books with signing tours in which large shops or shopping centres are invaded by excitable fans willing to queue for hours for a hug and a selfie with the vlogger. Well, not a selfie more of a twofie. 
Where will it all lead? I suppose as vloggers get older they’ll develop careers in radio (Radio One have already had the likes of Dan and Phil doing shows), tv and even films; Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee enjoyed one of last year’s most successful dvds with their travelogue film Hit the Road. Not sure where this will leave vloggers though some have already expressed concern at the increasing commercialisation of You Tube itself. Perhaps like everything, vlogging will become absorbed by the traditional means of making money and becoming famous? Of course, by then someone will have invented something else.

The Best of This Way Up Volume One includes features and reviews on The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Watch with Mother, The Feathered Serpent, Sky, Tom Grattan’s War, Richard Carpenter, Strange, Firefly, Out of this World, Handmade Films, Jaws, Nigel Kneale,  Second Coming, Phillip Saville, The Comic Strip Presents, Adverts, War Horse, Pluto, The end of record shops and much much more! Available now from Amazon in print or Kindle ebook format
Buy Tomorrow Is Now- The Best of This Way Up

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