Sunday, 1 April 2012

Fifty Shades: Seducing women's grey matter

Have you been intrigued by the hype surrounding the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the other two titles from the Fifty Shades trilogy, by E L James?

We have!

What is the attraction to this story? Why has it garnered discussion on everything from morning TV and chat shows such as The View in the USA, to newspaper columns in Australia, and blogs everywhere else—all around the world?

Women who would never have admitted to reading anything like this are now talking to all their friends. They are reveling in the delicious allure that is Christian Grey. Secretly wishing they could have just a moment with someone like him.

How did this book leap from free fan fiction less than 18 months ago to #1 on the New York Times E-Book Fiction Best Seller List and land a deal with Universal Pictures and Focus Features to adapt it for the big screen?

Regardless of whether you think it’s right to publish reworked fan fiction or not, this story generated a whole lot of interest in its free form, garnering unheard of reader numbers.  Released in chapter format over the course of many months, each chapter was eagerly anticipated, and as soon as the posting went live on, readers literally dropped everything to read the latest installment about the relationship between a na├»ve young college student and a slightly older, emotionally damaged billionaire who was into kinky sex.

As soon as each chapter was posted, office workers mysteriously disappeared in droves, housework was put on the backburner, some even pulled over to the side of the road to read it.  News of each chapter spread like wildfire in social media circles and then each chapter was discussed, dissected and sighed over.

When little known independent publisher, The Writers Coffee Shop, released the first story, quickly followed by the two sequels, many fans of the free form followed the author and purchased the "official" version. Following that with reviews on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads, generating interest in the book for new readers who’d never even heard of fan fiction.   The publisher couldn’t keep up with the demand and the print books became scarce … suddenly the cry went out, “Where can I get a copy of Fifty Shades?”

What is the "secret ingredient" of this book, and books like it, that has so many people hooked?

The Fifty Shades trilogy is seducing women through words … sensual, erotic words that stimulate their brains as much as they titillate their bodies.  Women need more than visual stimulation to get turned on, unlike many men who can simply glimpse a nice cleavage or a bit of leg and be ready for some action, hence the popularity of "girlie mags" for men.  Fifty Shades, and books like it, are a woman’s equivalent.

Gone are the days when you would hide your cheap romance novel in the bottom of your handbag, only daring to bring it out when there was no one else around. Gone are the days of openly denying any enjoyment of the genre, but secretly loving the romantic plots lavished with sexy male leads and quietly submissive femme fatales.

The choice of book covers for the trilogy is genius too.  Without a chosen picture of the characters on the cover, just a well-tailored business suit with a designer tie, it has allowed the reader carte blanche on how they visualize Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.  And imagine they do …

Fifty Shades opens the door on what women want, or more to the point, what they are willing to do and ask for in the bedroom. Sure, not everyone who reads the book and loves it secretly wants to have kinky sex themselves, but reading books like these in many ways gets the point across to women that it’s okay to experiment in the bedroom.  Time and again we hear how this book and others like it has revitalized many readers' sex lives … and saved more than one marriage.

We caught up with a friend for coffee recently and, as per usual, our conversation turned to what we’d been reading.  We’d never really discussed personal things on more than a superficial level before, but as she excitedly told us she’d read Fifty Shades of Grey and was onto Fifty Shades Darker, she said this:

“… I’m so loving this book, girls. I can’t put it down, except to molest "Dave" (fictitious name to protect the satisfied husband). We’ve had more sex in the last week than all of last year. He’s reading the first book right now. I can’t wait to get home and see what he thinks.”

Knowing that others love and appreciate the sexy sensuality of a story like Fifty Shades, and are openly discussing the story and sex in general, is bringing romantic and semi-erotic literature out of the closet too.

Add to this increased appreciation of semi-erotic literature, the new ease to which readers can enjoy it—eBooks and eReaders.  The advent of the eBook, and the prolific sale of eReaders in the last twelve months, is making it possible for independent publishers (like ourselves) to compete with the big guys on this platform.  Not only is access to books in this format fast and convenient, and cheaper, but it allows the discretion some people still feel they need to openly enjoy their renewed passion of books like Fifty Shades of Grey.

Has Amanda Hayward from The Writers Coffee Shop publishing house paved the way for small publishing houses to publish their own Fifty Shades? 

Random House certainly seems to think so. Nikki Christer, their publishing director, recently said in an interview printed by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper that she expects to see more publishing from the bottom up.

"Books are emerging from everywhere so the possibilities of finding new authors is really opening up," she said.


Universal Pictures and Focus Features win Fifty Shades of Grey

Our website - publishers of romantic and erotic eBooks

Bottom Drawer Publications 
1 April, 2012


  1. I am dying to write the next Great American Fifty Shades! Damn, I am always just behind the curve ball. Maybe if I stop reading so much, I can write something for you all!!!

  2. I have to admit, I read 50 Shades when it was a fanfiction and I didn't enjoy it. Not the content or anything like that, I just wasn't keen on the writing. I haven't read the published version, but have been told that only 3% of the text has been changed. I have nothing against fanfiction being published and I wish E.L James all the best, I just don't understand the hype about it. I simply didn't think it was written well enough to have been published.

  3. I can't wait for the movie. I loved the books. I should agree these are the best written books.
    50 Shades Of Grey Movie