Bashing E.L. James on Twitter isn’t the answer. She didn’t make millions of the 50 Shades books single-handedly. No unestablished author reaches that level of financial success on their own. She has a literary agent who pimped out her work, a huge publishing company willing to pay for it — and pay to overhype it ad nauseum. There are bookstores and retail vendors (both online and brick-and-mortar) only too willing to take top dollar from publishers to prominently display and promote her work. And let’s not forget our own culpability in her success, too, as we are part of the general public who, having been saturated by media about her books, believed the hype, bought them rabidly and lined up in droves to see the movie adaptation.
Hating on authors like E.L. James for profiting off a system that rewards what is marketable (by the PUBLISHER’S definition) over what is well-written doesn’t solve the problem. As consumers, we need to put our money where our mouth is — or where our Twitter feeds are, in this case. Demand more from publishers, bookstores, retail outlets. Don’t settle for what they tell us is “good to read.” Don’t just buy what’s on so-and-so’s “best seller” list. Don’t let these big “NY” publishers take you by the hand and lead you to books THEY think you should read — books they WANT you to read only because they’ve sunk a lot of money into promoting them because they fill a very specific, proven marketing niche, and not out of any real confidence in the author or the work.
Find out for yourself — try books from small presses, independent authors, midlist and new authors at bigger publishers. There are thousands of us out there — literally tens of thousands of hidden gems and undiscovered talents to help broaden your literary horizons, authors with amazing stories just waiting to entertain you.
Think outside the Fifty Shades box and put your money to work. THAT’S what keeps hacks like James and her poorly written work where it belongs — and NOT on bookstore shelves, on movie theater marquees, and in million-dollar returns in her publisher’s bank accounts. #takebackyourbookstore #fictionrevolution #askELJames