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Two successful new writers

8 December 2014

Two extremely different but very successful novels have launched new book-writing careers.

On the more traditional side there is Milena Busquets' This Too Shall Pass, a thinly-fictionalised second novel about her relationship with her mother, the publisher Esther Busquets, who developed the Catalan family publishing house, Lumen, into a successful business with an international reputation for literary publishing and died in 2012. The book is now sold in 26 countries and will be publishing in the UK and the US next spring.

Originally, Busquets started writing a fashion blog. "When I wrote the blog, she [my mother] said I should write about more serious things. She said I was frivolous," said Busquets adding that fashion wasn't important to her mother in the least. "But I always liked clothing, maybe it was because it was a territory that I didn't have to compete with her in. She learned to like clothes with me."

The blog didn't evolve into a novel but started her writing for the public. "I wanted to say that even in the deepest sadness there are moments of enormous light if you pay attention. I wanted to explain that sadness is background music but there are places for joy, and love is where you find it..."

Another, more commercial, success this week is Girl Online, a YA novel by 24-year-old Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, which has shot to the top of the UK bestseller lists. It shifted 78,109 copies in its first week of publication, making it the fastest selling debut ever, astonishingly outdoing J K Rowling, Dan Brown and E L James. It seems a cert to head the charts for Christmas.

Zoella has 6.3 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 12 million views a month. On Instagram, she has 3.3 million followers and on Twitter (@ZozeeBo) 2.59 million.

Taking into account the devotion she inspires in her girl fans the book sales don't look so remarkable. She already commands audiences other authors can only dream of. She's the queen of vloggers, the role model for her generation. In her shows, made from her home in Brighton, she talks about clothes, make-up, relationships and her life - and receives substantial advertising revenue for product-placement, for she reaches young consumers on an astonishing scale.

What about the book? Well, it's hard to say unless you've read it, but it seems well-designed to capture her female teenage audience. So what if there are already rumours that it was ghost-written. Penguin has confirmed today that Siobhan Curham "helped Zoe [Sugg] tell her story".