50 Shades of Sadness…

Yes, this is going to be a post about *that* book. If you haven’t heard about it or know all the gory details… go look it up. I’ll be here when you get back.


This post actually isn’t so much about the book itself but about how I feel about the author.

I feel sorry for E.L. James. Really I do.

Now I can see you laughing and pointing – “What? She’s making more money in a day than you’ll ever see in your lifetime! Movie options! Ebooks! Paperbacks! Book tours!”

Yep… and you’re right. She’s been extremely successful.

Which is why I feel sad for her. Because that isn’t going to last.

I don’t mean in a vindictive “Bitchgonnafail” type of way – I mean it in a “Now What Do You Do Next?” way.

Because any author will tell you that you’re only as good as your last book – and she put in months of hard work creating that book. True, first as Twilight fanfiction – but having cut my teeth on over 200 fanfiction stories from X-Files to Stargate and Kim Possible (yes, really!) I can understand the work put into a fanfic. She wrote Master of the Universe from a genuine love of the characters and polished it into an original work of fiction that hit all the right spots with the public.

And now it’s a big hit. Huge. Earthshaking.

And where does she go from here?

The problem with being a success is that your agent and/or publisher will be knocking on your door demanding to know what’s coming down the pipeline. What’s next, what can we give the public that’s already keyed up and drooling for something else from you…

… pause…

… because if you don’t then you’re a one-trick pony and slip back into obscurity.

Can James come up with a sequel/prequel/anything in time to keep her new fans happy? Can she write fast enough to get it to market to grab the fans? Can she hold on to these fans if the next book isn’t a rehash of 50SoG?

I don’t know. I don’t think she knows. I think there must be times when she sits back to catch her breath and quakes in fear because there’s just so much going on right now that she can’t think, can’t breathe. And the public wants more of her and of 50SoG.

But I feel sorry for her – because right now the pressure to reproduce the success of 50SoG has got to be overwhelming. And they (public, agent, publisher) wants it NOW. Not in a year when you’ve had a chance to write and edit old fanfiction.

And yeah – I’d love to have her success. But I’m not sure about the pressure.

But that’s just me.



3 thoughts on “50 Shades of Sadness…

  1. I have to agree, Sheryl.

    Leaving aside all the hoopla surrounding Fifty Shades, she has some pretty hefty pressure on her now. Maybe the publishers are aware that she may not have lightning strike twice. She must still be feeling it.

    • Exactly.

      And I can’t jump on the bashing bandwagon because there but for the Grace of God go I… she hit a common note and the public liked it. Whether I agree with their reading choice or not they’ve made it and I’m just glad someone’s reading!

      I hope she survives this and keeps writing – but I can’t imagine the pressure to either do the same thing over again and hope it works or do something completely different and see if the name is enough to carry her forward.

      As I said – I don’t envy her.

  2. I hope that her time writing fan fiction has given her some sense of productivity; it’s been a good training ground for a lot of writers because fandom does have its sense of pace. That being said, she may also feel that anything she writes from this point on is going to be compared to Fifty Shades and or any fandom she’s in–and both of those can be very tough to deal with.

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