I've been reading a lot of crap on the internet directed at E.L. James lately, and frankly, I feel sorry for her. She wrote some fanfic based on the highly successful Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. A publisher picked it up, had her tweak it a little so as not to get sued, and released the paperback to huge success. Ten million books is nothing to sneeze at.
Two weeks ago, a tiny elderly lady came into the Day Job. She asked me to wrap a few presents for her granddaughter's bridal shower.
My customer had no problem proudly displaying the two lingerie sets, much to her husband's embarrassment. Let's just say they were very interesting purchases from the Frederick's of Hollywood next door to the Day Job.
But it was the third purchase that had my customer blushing. Slowly, she pulls a rectangular object wrapped in a white plastic bag out of her gigantic purse. She looks at me with huge, worried eyes. "Please don't judge me."
I unwrap the object. A trade copy of, you guessed it, Fifty Shades of Grey.
"I read it and loved it." My customer is now whispering. She checks around with furtive glances to make sure no other shoppers are near by. "Do you think she'll like it?"
I smile. "I'm sure she will."
"Have you read it?"
"No, ma'am, but I've heard several people say they enjoy it."
Satisfied, my customer wandered off to look at shower cards while I wrapped her presents.
With all the kvetching about the decline of reading in the U.S., why do folks in the publishing industry get pissed off when a book captures the imagination of the public?
My elderly customer certainly didn't know Fifty Shades had started life as fanfic. And I can't say whether the alleged grammar and editing issues affected her. What I do know is that she found a book she enjoyed and she wanted to share it with people she loved.
Isn't that something all writers should be striving for?
1 hour ago