What’s up with all the buzz around the book, Fifty Shades of Grey? Every time I turn around, I see another article on how popular this erotic novel is—and the articles make it sound as if this book is a brand new kind of fiction that’s catching female readers by storm.
First, I’ll confess I haven’t read it. The theme of male dominance and female submission is not one that personally appeals to me. I’m not putting it down, just saying that there are fifty shades of sex and that particular one doesn’t turn my crank.
But it’s obviously turning the cranks of thousands and thousands of women. That in itself doesn’t surprise me, but what surprises me is that so few of these women seem to be aware that erotica and erotic romance, including books with the dominance-submission theme (and forty-nine other shades of sex), have been written in the hundreds (more likely thousands) over the last 6-10 years.
E-publishers like Ellora’s Cave, Samhain, and LooseId were leaders in bringing these books to the public, but other publishers and lines—like Kensington’s Brava—were also testing the waters with spicier books. Then Kensington launched Aphrodisia in 2006 (I know the date well, because my Champagne Rules came out in the second launch month) and other mainstream traditional publishers like Penguin, St. Martin’s, and Harlequin came on board as well with erotic romances and erotica.
And not only have there been specific imprints and lines branded as “erotic,” but the general trend in contemporary, historical, and paranormal romance (leaving aside the “sweet” and “inspirational” lines) has been toward the steamy side.
Yes, women like reading sexy books. Most of us in the industry are very aware of that. I can’t even imagine how many sexy books, how many erotic romances, and how many erotic novels with dominance-submission themes have been published in the last half dozen years.
So, what’s up with Fifty Shades of Grey? Why is that book the one that’s suddenly grabbed the mainstream public’s attention, and that of the media? Why is that the book that women on the subway, clicking away on their e-readers, are most likely to be reading?
Did the author come up with a brand new idea? Obviously not. Is her writing head and shoulders above that of the other authors who write erotica? I haven’t heard anyone say so. So what magic has she discovered? And how do the rest of us get ourselves some of that? LOL.