50 Shades of Grey

So this 50 Shades of Grey craze continues to explode. My sister-in-law (who doesn’t have time to read in her busy life) is now carving out some precious minutes to read this trilogy. These books are EVERYWHERE! And of course this month is the release of the much-anticipated movie!

So I’m doing my usual surfing around this morning and what do I stumble upon? Several erotic books jumping into the waters and riding EL James’s wave of success. It’s not plagiarism. It’s commercialism. And if I could write fast enough (or had thought of it), I totally would be grabbing my bathing suit (though I didn’t say I’d actually put it on) and jumping into these waters as well. Doing a parody of someone else’s work seems to be “in”. I haven’t read anymore than the sample and the reviews of the following books, but I’m thinking of picking up the first. It looks hot … and rather amusing. Frankly, I’m thinking of buying it just for the cover art!
 
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I’ve been writing erotic romance for about six years. I have lots of wonderful readers who enjoy my books. And though my family is very proud of all that I’ve accomplished, very few of them want to read my books. That’s fine. They aren’t for everyone. And up until the last year, most of my extended family didn’t even know the words kindle or nook. Now, many of them own one.

It’s only recently that authors have been able to take complete control of their publishing careers and self-publish their books. Many of the books on the NYT Bestseller list are now self-published e-books. But I’m not sure any of them are getting the buzz that 50 Shades of Grey is receiving. It seems every time I turn on the television someone is talking about this book. This erotic romance book with BDSM themes. Kelly Ripa was discussing it on her show. Ellen DeGeneres was sorta reading excerpts on her program.

The book world is on fire with chatter about this trilogy. And I keep wondering … why this book? Did the author, EL James, a television executive know some trick to marketing that the rest of us haven’t tried? I can’t say I’ve seen an interview of her, though I do understand she’s been on a couple of morning shows.

In the long run all this attention is helpful for all erotic romance authors … like me!

The media is terming her story “Mommy Porn” because so many mainstream romance readers are falling in love with Mr. Grey, Anastasia and their less-than-mainstream relationship. I’m not sure readers are happy with this catch phrase, but hey, why not? I’ll be the first to tell people I write smut. Of course I say it lovingly, knowing that my stories (like all good erotic romance books) aren’t just one sex scene loosely connected to another sex scene. There are flawed characters with real emotional problems all set within a plot that twists and turns and hopefully surprises my readers.

But I know, most of you stopping here already know that.

I don’t know about this particular book. Since reader reviews are all over the place on this one, I’m not sure if I want to plunk down part of my monthly book budget (don’t laugh, I can pretend I have one) just to see what all the buzz is about. But whether people like this book or not, there’s no arguing with the number of books flying off the virtual shelves. Which means these readers, many who are new to the erotic romance genre, may be looking for other sexy reads. That’s wonderful news for the rest of us working to market our books. Because the truth is, some of us are just trying to figure out what Ms. James did right to bring so much attention to her trilogy. I’d like to repeat her success.

What about you? Have you read this? Are you planning on checking it out? And if you have insight as to why this particular book has hit the big time, do share. You know me, I’m always curious about stuff like that.

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