The latest fiasco, of course, is the publicity around the Twitter Q&A around #AskELJames which seems to have backfired on very many levels. I did a quick scroll through the hashtag and after feeling like I needed to wash my eyes out with soap, clicked out of it. So much negativity is not good for the soul.
In saying all the above and knowing I will cop flack for this, let me tell you why I am not dissing E L James or joining in in the bashing.
For starters, this woman took something she loved and turned it into a commercial success and let's face it, my entire argument hangs upon this one fact.
I will be the first to agree the Fifty Shades books are not literary masterpieces and they are not the most well written pieces of romantic fiction out there but it is one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride. I can name many who write in the same genre who are outstanding writers, who convey emotion better and tell a better story.
But ... and there's the HUGE but ... this series of books hit the market at the right time and it captures the hearts and minds of millions of people. $95 million worth of people to be exact and let us not forget the $570 million from the first movie!! Even my husband who has not read the books watched the movie with me and enjoyed the sex scenes. He thought they were excellenty choreographed. You can read my review of the movie here.
E L James went from a relative nobody to a huge success writing fan fiction because she loved a story so much she wanted more of it with her own spin.
She made it acceptable to read erotic romance in public and has opened up the genre to the mainstream. I've been reading erotic romance for ... well, forever but it has never seen the light of day till E L James and Christian Grey came along. Even amongst friends, we never really talked about it and now even my mother has heard of the book though she has not read it.
There is an argument that she may or may not have represented the BDSM lifestyle accurately but does it really matter? Are people really that mindless and stupid that they will take what she has written as fan fiction as gospel? She's brought the lifestyle to light and she's made it okay to read about it and talk about it, and for other authors of the genre, to write about it and make money from it. It may or may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it has certainly demystified it.
As an offshoot of its popularity, rope sales in hardware stores has gone up too. :-p
So, out comes Grey. Fifty Shades from Christian Grey's perspective and people are dissing the book, the poor writing and her. (At the time of writing this, I have not read the book, but I plan to).
But here's what is interesting.
It's #1 on Kindle and #1 on Amazon Books. It's also topped the bestseller list for Barnes & Noble.
They originally planned a 1.25 million print run but because of demand increased it to 1.6 million.
The book has 13,000+ ratings / reviews on Goodreads out of which 43% of them are 5 star reviews and only 4% are one star reviews. I'd say that's a fairly decent spread with more people loving the book than hating on it.
But haters are gonna hate and dissers are gonna diss.
Thing is, it's not going to change the facts that with all the negative articles, the dissing, making fun and even the negative publicity around the #AskELJames Q&A session, it's all still publicity.
It's keeping E L James at the front of everyone's mind. It will make people curious and want to check it out, see what all the fuss is about. Hello ... do I hear the cash register ringing with more sales?!?!?
And let's face it, it's keeping the book on the top of the charts and the money continues to roll in for Ms James and her publisher.
I say, diss all you want, call her a one hit wonder or a one series wonder, but until you achieve this kind of success, you won't realise that all this dissing is merely and likely noise to E L James and her publisher. Perhaps she may feel somewhat hurt by all the negativity being thrown at her, but her publisher is probably already planning another print run and they are both laughing all the way to the bank.
And shame on you, everyone who is hiding behind the anonymity of the internet to say horrible things to and about her. Would you be brave enough to say it to her face?
What about you? Have you read the books? Do you plan to?
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