A new publishing venture appears ready to make waves – beach waves, permanent waves, Marcel waves, and just every other kind of styling, highlighting, and other image-enhancement that you could ever wish to see on a book jacket. StyleHaul, a YouTube channel which claims to be “the leading global style network where brands, creators and the style-obsessed unite,” is partnering with Hollywood multi-channel production outfit Adaptive Studios (“Films. Television. Books. Graphic Novels. Digital Series. Social Media Storytelling. Whichever platform best fits the story.”), to create StyleHaul Books, bringing StyleHaul’s stable of YouTube celebrities into print form.
In fact, with all the media and fashion industry hype around StyleHaul, it’s hard to distinguish exactly how much value the originating platform really has, let alone what StyleHaul Books can do to develop a new publishing franchise. Media types – and presumably Big Publishing execs – obviously warm to the news that “StyleHaul Books is a new joint venture from Stephanie Horbaczewski’s StyleHaul network and Adaptive Studios, the prodco behind the Emmy-nominated HBO reality series Project Greenlight,” but Project Greenlight certainly had zero impact on my viewing schedule – or my reality in general. And Stephanie Horbaczewski may be a name to conjure with in certain circles, but a professional career rigorously focused on online/social media communications has never until now brought her StyleHaul YouTube network to my attention, despite its claimed “thriving community of over 500 million individuals all over the world driving 1.6 billion monthly video views.”
Still, you can see why traditional publishers are interested. “Digital talent may single-handedly be saving the publishing industry,” claims one commentator on the news. With Big Publishing so desperate to find new author discovery channels as its own cultivation mechanisms for new talents and names apparently dry up, YouTube celebs have already become a hot area. And the cynical disgrace of the Zoella ghostwriting scam didn’t prevent Penguin Random House from profiting handsomely by lying hard.
“We have been watching the rising trend of creators like Zoella hitting the bestseller lists, so this is an opportunity we wanted to offer to our network,” said Olivier Delfosse, Chief Operating Officer of StyleHaul, with no apparent shame. “It’s exciting to have a partner like Adaptive, who understands both publishing and the digital space.”
Personally, I’d rather rent Zoolander 2 than sit around watching life imitate the most scornfully satirical art, but for the terminally vacuous, StyleHaul Books may be just the platform they’ve been waiting for.