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Fifty Shades of Grey

Oh, in this crazy world of publishing, what is going to happen next!

If you haven’t heard, Fifty Shades of Grey is the NEXT BIG THING, with seven-figure book deals (jealous!) and a movie deal to boot.

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating.  Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind – until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him.  Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too – but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success– his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family –Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master?  And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

What you might not know is this started as Twilight fan-fiction.

Twilight. Fan-fiction. Honestly!

It goes without saying (although a lot of people have said it) that it isn’t a very good story craft-wise (then again nor’s Twilight, so can you blame it?) but it’s the story, the adventure that has had millions of people captivated around the world.

There’s a really nifty ‘ten things you might not know’ about it article, which has fun facts about the book and the author.

There’s another interesting article, which says about the comparisons between it and Twilight:

“Shortly after the book deal announcement, Vintage acknowledged that James began Fifty Shades of Grey as fan fiction: “She subsequently took that story and rewrote the work, with new characters and situations. That was the beginning of the Fifty Shades trilogy. The great majority of readers, including fan-fiction aficionados, have found Fifty Shades deeply immersive and incredibly satisfying.

The mainstream press dropped the issue, but book blogger Jane Litte continued to compare the two books on her site. She plugged the book into Turnitin, the academic plagiarism detection program that teachers use to nab cheating students. The program ruled that Fifty Shades of Grey and Master of the Universe had a “similarity index” of 89 percent.”

There’s also a great article from The New York Times, which says, among other things:

“Conversation about the book online has fed many of the sales, said Patricia Bostelman, vice president for marketing at Barnes & Noble. “I think this shows very clearly what the blog network can do,” she said. “The word-of-mouth so thoroughly outpaced the availability.”

Which is something that was brought up on The Today Show, which discussed the book a week and a half ago.

Mia Freedman, who speaks below, also wrote about the book here.

Have I read it? No.

Am I going to? No.

But it’s interesting to watch everything unfold: when the trilogy is published by Vintage, the movie, everything.

Have you read it? What did you think?

4 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey

  1. The book, in material form, isn’t actually available in Australia yet, it’s just been picked up by Random House a week or two ago, I think they’re planning on having it out here in the first weeks of April…
    The amount of people that have been coming in to work (Dymocks) to ask for it, though…whoa. And funny attitudes when I ask, “You mean the romance/erotica novel?” (which I have to ask a lot, because most people ask for “Shades of Grey”, which is a Jasper Fforde book…) – most women get really embarrassed or offended when asked if they’re looking for an erotica book. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out and if it continues to be marketed as erotica or if they shy away because it’s a bit taboo.

    • If I had to bet, I think they’ll call it fiction.
      There’s also ‘Between Shades of Gray’ by Ruta Sepetys – lots of books with similar titles! I do love when people get almost offended by suggesting they are reading that!

  2. I have read the first book in the trilogy – I got it from my local library of all places. It was possible to order it from the publisher she was with previously (pretty much a vanity publisher really)

    I won’t be reading more for a number of reasons, most notably being that it isn’t that well written, the main male character who has women all over the world swooning over him didn’t grab me at all, and the main female character annoyed me a lot!

    Having said that, it has been interesting watching this phenomenon travel around the world. People who wouldn’t be seen dead reading a romance are loving the whole trilogy, and word of mouth has caused the spread to happen as quickly as it has!

    Just goes to show that you can’t really predict exactly what book is going to catch the reading public’s imagination.

    • I suspected it was a vanity publishers, I mean it’s very rare that something starts at fan-fic ends well! (cough Cassandra Clare cough!)

      I too am very interested in the journey it’s going to take.

      And this is a very good example of word of mouth: it talks about that in the video and one of the articles. You can’t beat the power of word of mouth!!

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