Fifty Shades of baffled

You guys, I don’t understand.

I read the Fifty Shades trilogy and have decided this deserves its own post separate from what I’d say in July in Review.

First of all, these books are so badly written it hurts. (I get that people reading them are probably less interested in grammar, structure, plot and dialogue than I, but even I can handle some badly written stuff. This was SO BAD.)

From what I understand, E.L. James wrote these originally as Twilight fan fiction – which is very obvious when you read it – and they got super popular online, so she changed the characters’ names and sold them as original fiction on the web. Apparently she sold a bajillion copies, which prompted an actual book deal, where she has now sold a bajillion more. (The actual number is close to 20 million. Whatever, same diff.)

Speaking of numbers, try this one on for size: $1.34 million per week. That’s how much James is earning. PER WEEK.


Ok, really, I’m not that baffled. This is very much a case of popularity winning out over substance. It’s like when judges choose the more controversial contestant over the more talented one on a reality competition. They want the excitement and the ratings. Unfortunately, in that scenario I am not the controversial one. And in this scenario, I am sitting back watching a crappy writer (and her husband, who now has a book deal of his own. No word yet on whether or not he can write) reap the benefits of business people giving her a book deal because all they could see is dollar signs. Same thing goes for the news that those little Kardashians have a book deal. Because they can write? No. Because of who they are and how much money they can make.

It’s a business, I know. But it can be super discouraging to see so blatantly at work. Especially to those of us who worry about substance, and who have a big ol’ bunch of odds of being published stacked against them.

End rant.


12 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of baffled

  1. Pingback: July in Review « stefawrites

  2. I have been on hold for this, ahem, tome at the library for months. Two days ago, I was number40-something of 800ish. Today, it’s in transit. Apparently, it’s a quick read.
    I am still a little worried about how sanitary a library copy is — but i can’t bring myself to contribute to this woman’s bottom line if the writing is as bad as I hear.

  3. The good news is, when your book is published no one will be having this similar conversation about originality with your book. Sometimes the beauty of success is not just the struggle, but the journey. It makes it so much sweeter once it arrives!

  4. sadly, sensationalism in any media garners more attention (money) than quality does…hang tough, quality endures πŸ™‚

  5. My take on the situation is that a million+ a week is the low end of how much you’d have to pay me to be at the ass end of every joke about bad writing and poor taste. The work is such obvious garbage that nobody even pretends it’s good and says they like it or teaches bright-eyed college students about it in courses about literature and feminism. (Looking at you, Virginia Woolf.)

    So if she’s comfortable with that, great. I’m sure she’s laughing all the way to the bank on a weekly basis. Let her. If she decides to learn how to write, do it well and publish something of lasting value, she’ll find her struggle in trying to gain respect and get people to take her seriously as a writer as opposed to a cash cow.

    You and I are getting our struggles out of the way FIRST instead of settling for crap and immediate rewards.

    Also, HOW can Stephenie Meyer not sue her? HOW?! I would buy and read all of the Twilight books if she tried. Really I would.

    • Team Earning It, right here! πŸ™‚ And that’s a good question about Meyer – I guess since it is an original story, and the names are changed from the fan fiction?

  6. I. KNOW. RIGHT. I’m reading the trilogy and am halfway through the second book. Obviously, I’m still reading because it’s sexy, but I’m getting pretty annoyed at how Ana is just giving in to this man. She says that its not about the money and the cars, but she talks over and over about how hot he is. Duh, I want to read about them having sex, but I’ve often found myself skimming pages at a time looking for something interesting to happen. There hasn’t been one time where I was like “Ah, well written E.L James, let me read that again”. Boo. Good thing is, I didn’t pay for it. I’d be pissed if I did.

  7. Well I am glad you are the fastest reader ever cause now I’m going to read it πŸ™‚ Yep-business sucks but keep your chin up. You’ll be a respected writer and they never will be

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