As I’ve said before, I’m on Team Meh when it comes to 50 Shades.. I can’t comment on the book because I haven’t read it (and to be honest, I don’t plan to) but the hype surrounding it is your typical “OMG THE LATEST THING” pandemonium.
From a reader POV, it’s beyond silly. I have friends who disagree on the book who no longer speak to one another. And let’s not discuss my Mom reading all three of the books (seriously, don’t even mention it. I will shun you.)
But from a writer point of view, I’m reading every blog post I can on the subject. For some, the subject matter of the book is disgusting — folks who have been reading and writing BDSM for years have something to say about the sex in the book, and they’re not impressed. Others are tongue-in-cheek about how OMG THE LATEST THING has prompted publishers to repackage old smut to resemble 50 Shades. And then there are some who just enjoy making fun of the phenomena that is 50 Shades.
However, there is one theme in blog posts from some writers that never fails to piss me off: “50 Shades is important, and no matter who you are, you should be reading it, reading it, and reading it again, and learning from it.”
The more I read these types of posts, the more condescending they come off. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the intent of such posts, but to me there is little to be gleaned by a writer from studying 50 Shades itself. There is no magic formula to create the kind of buzz and success that 50 Shades has garnered — if that was the case, erotica and erotic romance would have been on the bestseller lists long ago.
Today’s post at Dear Author by Jane, who is unabashed in her disdain for the book, outlines what (in my opinion) should really be taken away from the 50 Shades craze:
Publishing needs books like this. It makes a publishing house healthy and then they can take chances or bring us books that are less well known but deserve to be published. Authors need books like this. A book like 50 Shades is a book most authors say to themselves that they can write. The success of 50 Shades emboldens authors to keep writing. We readers need that.
How is what Jane described supposed to happen if some writers are leading new authors to write a 50 Shades fanfic for the sake of breaking through?
Open the door and let readers and writers find one another. That is what 50 Shades is doing. Don’t make it harder for this to happen by telling new authors that they should insult potential readers by offering a shoddy knock-off, because readers aren’t stupid and that door will slam shut.