‘Writing is a passion of mine,’ she says, ‘so when they asked me if I had ever wanted to write a book I said, “Yes, that’s my dream.” It’s the most exciting thing I’ve done so far.’ Her first novel, Girl Online, will be on sale in every English-speaking country in the world on November 25.It is all pretty impressive for a few kids who started making videos for fun in their bedrooms. Media interest in the vlogging phenomenon has tended to focus on how much the big names are worth.It is as though we want to be outraged by their success because it is such a departure from what we are accustomed to.We do not begrudge Jennifer Lawrence her million per film, but the thought that an ‘unknown’ internet personality could be earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year seems to rankle.
Smales says he and his team of 12 ‘talent managers’ act as facilitators, fielding approaches from companies such as Unilever, negotiating contracts, organising publicity and sorting out the logistics of the vloggers’ schedules.
While being asked for a picture in the street can be exciting, followers turning up at your house expecting a chat is a little daunting.
‘They feel much closer to the talent than they would to someone like Katy Perry,’ Smales says.
‘I was amazed by their power – to publish a video on You Tube and be in the top five or 10 being watched in the world almost straightaway, right up there with Ferraris crashing, man falls out of tree naked and dogs on skateboards.’ Soon he was helping them with commercial decisions, and now they are among the biggest names on Gleam’s books.
The British vlogging community is close-knit, and through recommendations Gleam’s roster has grown into a who’s who of You Tube’s leading lights.