Do you have a favorite book?
Shogun, by James Clavell, perhaps? Or maybe Pride and Prejudice? Lord of the Rings, surely.
As much as I love these books and many others, there is one I like above all.
My favorite book is not known for its literary quality. On the contrary: it is often criticized for its poorly developed characters and its romanticization of an abusive relationship. Critics have disparagingly called it: “mommy porn".
Yet, this book has had a cultural impact that many Pulitzer and Nobel prize winners could never lay claim to.
I’m talking, of course, about Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James.
I have only ever read the first book and never made it past page 5 of book 2.
Hate me if you will, but I find Anastasia and Christian insufferable.
Having written a BDSM novel, I can say with certainty that Fifty portrays a problematic picture of dominance and submission.
Despite all of the above, I still f*cking love it.
Because Fifty, sneakily but very convincingly, has single-handedly changed the publishing industry.
E.L. James has self-published her novel as an e-book, because Fifty’s content was considered too risqué for traditional bookstores. But all the ‘mommies’ wanted their ‘porn’- so they bought it as an e-book. It helped to popularize the digital format among readers. It demonstrated the potential for e-books to become a major player in the publishing industry. It brought 'racy' literature into the mainstream.
Fifty has made the path to becoming a self-published author a much easier one.
So my hat is forever off to E. L. James - thank you, thank you, thank you from all of us steamy independent writers.