E.L.James' books have sold, what? gazillions? Word of mouth. Media hype. Tons of reviews.
I haven't read any of them. Maybe someday I will, just to see for myself what all the fuss is about. I did read the "Look Inside" feature at Amazonbooks for the first book. I wasn't all that put off. It wasn't Tolstoy, probably not even Sparks, but trust me, I've read WAY worse writing.
She has sold lots of copies of the trilogy. I think that fact sparked many reviews by "Top Ranked" reviewers. I didn't see any of them that were the least kind. That's okay. I didn't write them. But it got me thinking. Some of the reviews at other sites have lambasted James' writing. I can't honestly jump on the bandwagon one way or another. Not until I read them...or at least the first one. I have a sneaking suspicion that lying between the lines of these reviews are the unspoken thoughts of the reviewers, some of whom are probably writers themselves. Banging their heads against the walls trying to figure out how achieve even a tiny bit of her success. Like me.
I see the success of James' books, and honestly, I'm a little jealous. Actually, a lot. If the plot, the narrative, and characters are as bad as some say they are (who am I to argue with the literati?), why aren't my books doing magnificently? I mean, I write better. I think I do at least. Which boils down to: It's easier to get in with the detractors and sling mud. "Yes, it's all so juvenile and crap!" How would I know? Note to self: Buy the first book of the series and read it.
As writers I assume we all read reviews of our books. I do. I wonder what Ms. James thinks/feels like after being punched in the eye so many times with reviews of Fifty Shades? Was she proud of what she'd written like the rest of us are with our efforts? Deep down? Did the reviews maybe bring a tear to her eye--deep down--or did she/does she laugh all the way to the bank?
"Well, it's a shame that there are SO MANY great books to read that have substance..." True. If anything, the success of her books speaks to (A Marketing. (B the tastes of modern readers. My tastes run a little differently than erotica, but it seems as though many, many readers like the stuff.
Honestly (maybe I'm wrong), I must believe she did the best she knew how to do when she wrote those books. Or was she watching TV and it hit her: Sex sells.
She's "Big". I'm not. Congratulations to her for her success.