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Fifty Shades of Green

One of my fave blogs, Jezebel, recently reported on a CelebrityNetWorth article about the Fifty Shades of Grey author, E.L. James,  making one million dollars a week.  Yes, that's right -- A WEEK. For poorly written Twilight fan-fiction turned BDSM erotica.

I feel a mixture of emotions when I read those words. I'll start with the good.

  • As an author myself I always want other authors to do well for the time they spend writing their craft.
  • The fact that such a high proportion of her 20M copies sold were e-books bodes well for the future of the medium.
  • It's great to see erotica and the discussion of the genre hitting mainstream. I think it's a good and interesting thing for our overly sexually conservative culture in the US.
  • If she can write such terrible books and sell well, perhaps there is a chance for the rest of us, especially those of us who are writing fiction within a particular genre might not be terribly well-read.
  • It gives me immense pleasure to hear about how someone accidentally gave it as their gift to their grandmother, or how a book club decided to all read that (not knowing what the book is about). I wish I were a fly on the wall watching the reactions.

But the bad, oh the bad.

  • Twilight was difficult enough to slog through the first chapter (I couldn't make it past chapter 1 in either of the series), but this one was even more atrocious. Other people have said it better than I have, so I'll just send you here.
  • The main character in the novel really set my teeth on edge, for reasons best said in the link above. I have a hard time when women are just rag dolls for a man. Especially in the genre in which the author writes. It shows she knows very little about the subject and unfortunately she's perpetuating the helpless female Twilight ideal.
  • It's hard for me to be excited about the success of an author of such terribly written books, especially when they were mostly written on a lark.
  • It sucks when people suggest that maybe I should write shitty stories to get published. Because it implies that good writing is no longer rewarded and when books like this get so much attention, it makes me wonder if they are right.
  • I feel angry that such great erotic fiction has been ignored for so long and then it's the terrible fiction that ends up breaking into the mainstream. Let me suggest Anais Nin, Anne Rampling (aka Anne Rice), Pauline Reage or Alina Reyes if you want to move beyond the mediocre Fifty Shades.
  • And really, a movie already???

I suppose we can be comforted though, that we have the option to laugh at it all off:


Featured photo and thumbnail of the handcuff on this post used with a Creative Commons license by Flickr user Ciorda.