Vlogging has exploded in popularity and many of the best known vloggers have turned their popularity into bestselling memoirs.
In its most basic form, a vlog is a blog created primarily with video content. With the rapid growth of technology, anyone with a stable internet connection and a cheap handheld video camera or webcam can make a vlog. Viral videos dominated the early 2000s and vlogging as we now know it started with the web series Lonelygirl15, when Bree Avery (later revealed to be actress Jessica Lee Rose) uploaded quirky blog-style videos dealing with typical teenage issues that quickly gained a huge following. From viral videos and basic video diaries, vlogging turned towards observational humour and the creation of characters in order to present a persona to the outside world. The fame associated with vlogging has given birth to a number of memoirs. These are three of our favourites.
Shane Dawson is one of the world’s most popular vloggers, with over 6,963,000 subscribers on his main YouTube channel, Shane Dawson TV. His signature style mixes madcap humour with commentary that pokes fun at pop culture, and he isn’t afraid to get dressed up for a few laughs. His secondary “personal” vlog channel, shane, has a more personal feel and runs segments such as Tasting Weird Food, Try Not To… and Follow Me Around. Recently, Shane used his main channel to come out as bisexual, further blurring the lines between his personal and public lives.
While Shane is no holds barred when it comes to documenting his life, his book I Hate Myselfie gets inside his mind and shows the transition from introverted observer to beloved YouTube star. Peppered with constant obscenities (the F-bomb is one of his favourite words), this is a messy and yet delightfully honest collection of personal essays. Each chapter title is also accompanied by fan art from his many followers, with an About the Artist section on the reverse side. Read more about Shane’s book here.
Connor Franta is another popular vlogger whose personal and public lives have collided on the YouTube stage. His self-titled vlog channel currently has over 4,940,000 followers, and his style is easily recognisable: every video thumbnail features his face and a basic white typographic, often coupled with other graphics such as photos or emojis. Like Shane, his vlogs are peppered with observational humour, and his topics range from how YouTubers act off camera to making out with strangers.
Connor is also involved in many side projects away from YouTube. He is a philanthropist and celebrated his 22nd birthday in 2014 by fundraising for The Thirst Project, a group that seeks to end the world water crisis. With his help, a campaign to build wells in Swaziland raised $230,000, almost doubling the original goal. He has also released his own line of coffee, with $1 from every bag sold being donated to The Thirst Project.
In Connor’s memoir, A Work in Progress, he opens up about life in a midwestern small town, where he was one of five in a classroom. He also talks about deeper issues such as coming to terms with his sexuality, realising his creative dreams in his twenties, and his new life as a YouTube star and entrepreneur. Beautifully illustrated with personal photos, A Work in Progress feels like an organic extension of his vlog channel, blending Connor’s past and present. Read more about Connor’s book here.
When Louise Pentland began vlogging as SprinkleofGlitter, she never thought it would grow into a successful channel with over 2,287,000 subscribers. Even at first glance, her style is very different to the rainbow colour scheme of Shane Dawson and the clean lines of Connor Franta – Louise’s channel is full of pastel colours and her own quirky style. Following on from her successful craft and interior blog of the same name, Louise began with vlogs focused on beauty, fashion and lifestyle, as well as her pregnancy (daughter Darcy was born in 2011). By responding to fan comments, she expanded her content to motivational and advice videos, and began a second channel, SprinkleofChatter (with over 1,026,000 subscribers), to talk about more personal aspects of her life, such as her Baby Glitter (Darcy), and issues that she cares about – most recently helping Syrian refugees.
As you would expect from the name, her memoir Life with a Sprinkle of Glitter is an expansion of her vlog and carries the same signature pastel style. Split into four parts, Glitz, Create, Need to Knows and All About Love, Louise talks about beauty, creativity and craft, coping with tough teenage issues such as bullying, and how to deal with boys and dating. Every page is filled to bursting with craft projects, sage advice and gorgeous illustrations, along with the bubbly enthusiasm that made her so popular. Read more about Louise’s book here.