Grey is the new black

Have you ever noticed that so many people criticizing E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy also happened to have read all three books? I must admit, as an avid reader I will – very quickly – ditch a book if I don’t enjoy it. It’s my special “me-time”, why would I waste it on something I don’t relish? Mmmhh, makes you think… can you spell DENIAL??  

The other thing (and this really gets to me) is that the first thing that comes up when you mention FSOG is the sex. Now, don’t get me wrong, I admit that it does contain a fair bit of the salacious stuff but please explain this to me: Erotica in novels has been around for centuries, this is by no means the first sexy novel and it’s by far not near the most provocative on the market so why is the sex thing always in the forefront?

Fsog sn d

Let’s take a quick look at the stats. Since the release in May 2011 E L James has made over 6.5 million Pounds, sold between 40 and 60 million copies as well as the movie rights for the trilogy. It’s branded as the fastest selling paperback of all time and she’s fast becoming the worlds fastest author earner ever.

Maybe, if we have any geeky girls in our midst, they’ll tell me otherwise, that this sort of thing is old hat in the world of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter but  I’ve never seen anything like it. The fact is that FSOG is a phenomenon that’s coloured our world a brighter shade of grey and roughly 50 million people can’t all be wrong! From ice-cream to cosmetics, jewellery to clothes, slogans, jokes, fan sites, fan fiction, sex toys and saved marriages I think I can safely tip my hat at the lady.

For me, the most significant things were the unexpected evolution of a possible new writing career and if not, a helluva’ enjoyable hobby and of course the friendships. It’s been an amazing journey – my blog alone gets visitors from around 88 countries worldwide. I’ve loved seeing the interactions in the different groups, woman from all over being pulled together by this single thread – the saucy sluts (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) and the goody girls (again, not judging) dipping their curious toes in waters unknown. It’s been fantastic – from the bottom of my heart, thank you ladies and thank you Mrs James (aka Erika Leonard). 

than x

Don’t be shy if you have something to add!

Stat source:

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/celebritymoney/article-2171334/Fifty-Shades-Grey-movie-rights-double-E-L-James-earnings-publishing-sensation.html

41 thoughts on “Grey is the new black

  1. Audrey says:

    Well said!!! Cant put it down any better!! 🙂

    It also irritates me when people think the books is all about sex. There’s more to it than that. At least thats what i think.

    FSOG brings us together 🙂 and lead us to many wonderful writers that we never would come across.

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  2. Veronica says:

    It gets me so mad when people say FSOG is all about sex. It was the same thing about twilight. Everyone thought it was only about vampires. If i heard once more that people wouldnt read twilight bc they dont like reading about vampires im gonna scream! In truth, both books are amazing love stories that stand the test of time! Why can’t people focus on that??

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  3. Retta says:

    Thank you for sharing your work with us =) I look forward to my weekends even more now so I can read the next chapter!! I agree with you though why read all 3 books and waist your time if you didn’t like the first one?? I think it is denial!!

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  4. kate d says:

    Loved the part where you said the worst critics have read all 3 books….couldn’t have been that bad!

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  5. Sheila Hall says:

    I have to agree with you, I loved the FSOG books and have read them over and over again. In one newspaper here in the UK it stated that the books were porn, but I knew that friends who bought the books would not buy just porn, there had to be something more to the books. So I bought the books and to me it was a love story about Christian and Ana, he was a Dom and she was a virgin. The story evolves round their love for each other and trying to understand each other. Okay there were some very sexy parts to it, but you can get that in some other books as well, it was all part of the story. It is not until you read the 80 Days books that you realise Christian was a very good and gentle Dom with his subs. I knew a little about that Dom/Sub lifestyle but after reading all these books I know a lot more, part of life, not my life, but between two consenting adults for some it is there life. A friend of mine also read the books and for her they did nothing, she read all three books but was not impressed. So I think it is a case of you either like FSOG or you do not, and I did.
    I am the same about books, I will give it a few chapters and if I cannot really get into the book then I stop reading it and it goes to the charity shop for someone else to try it.

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    • Monique Lain says:

      Good point. I think another important point to make is that the BDSM lifestyle offered Christian a means to an end, he wasn’t necessarily kinky per se but sex was impossible if he couldn’t handle someone touching him. The BDSM scene merely provided a legitimate context for what he needed – hands bound and of course venting against his neglectful mother. The moment the scars started to heal he chose something different and it became a way to show affection and keeping things spicy.

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      • grublue says:

        Did you know that this is exactly the point why so many people from the BDSM community think the books are crap? They say the books suggest that all BDSM people have issues.

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        • Monique Lain says:

          Hmmm, that’s just silly! I bet there were thousands of so called “normal” woman that ran to the nearest “toy” store to buy a flogger after reading FSOG to give it a go so that point, as Christian likes to say, is moot! LOL! The BDSM community should be very grateful that their world was introduced in such a gentle way, I think it’s done a lot for the scene’s image – I think it’s made it more acceptable – generally speaking. I will also be bringing that aspect into Meander at some point in time… Always great comments from you Grublue! Thank you!

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          • grublue says:

            I actually did some research on that point too, but haven’t got the time yet to put my thoughts together. I don’t know if I will, but if, I’ll let you know. 🙂

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          • Lillimarlene says:

            That’s very true Monique. I have a true story that illustrates your point. A Dom meets a woman he’s very attracted to, they go on several dates and ascertain that they have similar tastes In movies and music and enjoy each others company but haven’t yet had sex. Now the Dom likes vanilla on occasion but essentially his tastes are rather similar to a certain fictional hero, but how to broach the subject? When inspiration strikes, “you know those books that everyone’s reading, Fifty Shades of Grey, have you read them?”

            She had indeed and he got the open minded response he was looking for. I’m sure that there are many other Dom’s out there who have greatly increased their number of potential partners since FSOG was published.

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  6. twinkie55 says:

    I agree with you. I think people criticise and pretend to loath the FSOG books so we would think they are somehow ‘good’. Me thinks those people are lack the romance or SEX in their lives so they cannot relate. They read and enjoy the books but cannot be honest to themselves. I can tolerate the people who say they have not yet read the books but you know they have. They are just shy to admit it because they really enjoyed the private moments. Bet you they have read the books more than once…

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  7. Lillimarlene says:

    I think the trashing of FSOG comes from a variety of sources. Firstly, the journalists and professional authors who are really envious of E L James success and wish they had written the books themselves. Secondly the massed ranks of puritans who even in 2013 cannot believe that women actually enjoy reading about sex and even worse, might actually enjoy doing it !! Lets not forget that the books exist in a long tradition of romantic fiction and it seems to upset many critics that readers still love a good romance with a HEA.

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    • Monique Lain says:

      Yeah, I don’t understand that, success in an industry, especially to this scale is success for it as a whole. I’ve heard from quite a few readers that pre FSOG they never read but now they do – it benefits the whole industry.

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  8. Here! Here! Well said Monique! I thank EL James for introducing me to reading (something I did avidly as a young girl but had not done much of in the last 30 years). I now make the time for myself to read anything romantic & as you say, there sure is much worse erotica been written which makes FSOG seem very tame in comparison. And through FSOG I have discovered some great blogs such as your own which means more great reading material! My kindle is my constant companion, I don’t leave home without it! 🙂

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    • Monique Lain says:

      I know! My phone is glued to my side, I read everywhere, even in the line at the grocery store! I think as far as hobbies go you can’t get much better than reading! Well done for finding your way back to it!

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  9. Hazel (South Africa) says:

    Well said Monique.. There will always be haters out there can’t stop them even if tried hey… By the mere fact that so many women follow your blog and so many other blogs about fifty shdes speaks volumes about EL James’s books. Anyway I am a Fifty Shades freak for life can’t go a day wth reading about Mr and Mrs Grey.. Big ups to you for writing this comment!!!

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  10. Janien Meissner says:

    So good you are bringing this up Monique! I have been angry a lot of times about the totally stupid tvshows , yes only about the sex and so badly written,grrrr! People who say: i don’t read such trash. Well, i went out of my comfortzone and I must say, i’m hooked! The lovestory between those two did it for me. I had a great summer and still love to read the books! And Erika has said it herself: i am not the greatest writer but i can tell a story! And YES she can! So if people don’t get it,so be it. Erika won’t mind, she has enough fans anyway! Xx Janien

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  11. Roslyn says:

    Monique, I must agree with everyone’s reaction on your blog in re: E.L James’ FSOG. They can only say negative things about the book because they live boring lives and don’t have romance/ loving relationship nor communicate well with their other half and don’t have kinky fuckery in their lives. I can say that I have been in my marriage for 30yrs. and believe me when I say this…our romance has become more and the book also gave me some great tips and now my husband and I have our own abundance of kinky fuckery ourselves. Yes, I did put myself out their and I thank E. L. James and yourself for introducing me to the trilogy as well as for the fire you keep lit inside me and all of your readers. Thank you E.L James and Thank you Monique. We don’t have perfect lives but we need some pick me up and you blog is my pick me up!!!!

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  12. There is a fair bit of jealousy around her success I suspect. It isn’t the best written prose out there but you can’t deny the love story is riveting if you like that sort of thing (and we all do). But what James did beyond that changed the game of publishing. From the ambiguous cover art, to the ff fan base and use of social media, it has completely altered the accepted and long held view that you couldn’t be taken seriously unless you had a major publishing deal up front. Others arrived at a similar point at about the same time but I think it was the ff numbers that got under estimated by other players. I love it. Then there is the fact that until FSOG you would be hard pressed to find a full length erotica. Now we get frustrated at anything less. I think we are lucky to be relative insiders witnessing this process. It gives a lot of hope that some of these institutional tropes and long held traditions can now be shaken up. I wouldn’t underestimate that publishers are planting people to write negative reviews and most people can’t resist knocking down the tall poppies.

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    • Monique Lain says:

      Sasha, you make a good point there. As far as I know she self-published off FF and only then did she get picked up by Random. Since then there’s been a slew of FF stories published, many not half as good as FSOG. Also now they’ve so jumped on the bandwagon that you only have to mention BDSM in your book to get a “Like FSOG” sticker on your front cover… LOL! I also agree with the jealousy – I think some peers are pea-green with envy

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  13. Lizzy Lyon says:

    Bravo! Well said

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  14. paoladonati says:

    I agree! Paola

    ________________________________

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  15. grublue says:

    Ok ladies and gentlemen (If there are any gents, could you please make yourself recognised…? I’m curious. :-)), this post is going to be long… Sorry for that. Just got carried away.

    Monique, I’m glad you brought this up.

    I know some people who enjoyed the books, but most of them more for the sex than for the story itself.
    I, on the other hand, enjoyed the sex scenes very much, but it was the love story, that touched me deeply and made an emotional wreck out of me at times.

    Then, there are other people who would never ever read the books, and it strikes me as funny how lots of them believe to know what it is about and won’t read them, mostly for the following reasons:

    Because Ana signs a contract that controls every corner of her life.
    -> This is stated in many reviews by journalists. Well, they didn’t do their research well, as everyone who has read the novels, knows that Ana doesn’t sign this contract.

    Because Ana submits completely to a dominant man, giving up all her free will. How could a emancipated woman possibly read anything alike?
    -> Everyone who read the story knows that Ana submitted in a playful sexual context only. Of course she had to find out where her limits were, but she wouldn’t do the things she doesn’t want to do (from book 2 on), like e.g. being painfully punished for trespassing any rules. She realised at the end of book one that she would never ever enjoy to endure real pain (compared to “fun punishment” to enjoy “pleasure pain”), assumed Christian and she were incompatible and according to this realisation left him, even if her heart didn’t want to. Doesn’t sound like a submissive character to me. Furthermore, the better they knew each other the bolder she became in her sexual actions. She could quite easily play the dominant part from time to time as soon as Christian feels comfortable with it.
    What people don’t see is the difference between a sexual submission in a loving relationship and submission as an all in all character trait. And those people tend to judge those who are attracted by the concept of submission/domination and miss to see how devoted to each other these lovers can be.
    I daresay lots of them would enjoy a bit of kink in their sexuality, if they were willing to admit it. Or as a friend of mine stated about her sister who refuses to read the books for the reasons mentioned above: “She’s just too scared she might like it.”

    Because it’s poorly written.
    -> Ok, there are some repetitions, and it surely isn’t the best piece of literature. I have the feeling it was published in a hurry and I would have appreciated if it had been edited a bit better. But after all the classics I had to read for my degree and all the heavy stuff I read from time to time, I really enjoy some light, fluent reading! Some people say that there are far better erotica out there and mention all the Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin books (Yes, literalily on a very high level, but I miss the good old romance there.) or “The Story of O”, whereof I only read the summary but it really freaked me out. So basically, some people don’t read the trilogy because they consider themselves to be too intellectual for it.

    Because it’s based on a Twilight fanfiction.
    -> So what? Fanfiction has been around as long as fiction itself, although the means where of course different. It’s a beautiful way to keep a beloved story alive when the original has ended. And it’s a beautiful way for potential authors to explore their talent and their ideas for a new original story. Especially fanfiction that is set in an alternative universe is kind of an experiment. I once read E.L. James didn’t actually want to write a Bella/Edward story but it was convenient to use this kind of platform. I don’t know if it’s true, but I know for sure I wouldn’t read Fifty Shades if it reminded me on Twilight. I read the first Twilight book and I didn’t like it. No offense intended to the Twilight lovers, it’s just not for me.
    I read tons of fanfiction as I was devoted to the Harry Potter series. The Potterverse in the internet is huuuuge. There’s lots of crap, but there are some outstanding stories of a few hundred pages. And there are some very delicious, bitter-sweet-sour lemons around… Who would have thought… 🙂 Unfortunately, none of these stories made it to be published. I assume because the whole Potterverse is far too complex to write a convincing background story to avoid copyright issues.
    I hope that you, Monique, and some other talented writers in the Grey Universe, will publish their own books one day. I’ll stand in line for an autograph. 🙂

    Because it’s plain evil, the work of Satan himself.
    ->I’m not joking. I once got lost on a internet site while doing some research on the phenomenon. It was a superreligious forum discussing our beloved series. The article and the comments were downright scary.

    Because it’s unrealisic (the 28year old self-made billionaire, the multiple orgasms, the super orgasms, the nipple orgasms, the 22year old virgin whose been completely oblivious to anything sexual until she met Christian, Christian’s stamina, etc.)
    -> Hey, it’s fiction! It’s a modern fairy tale!! Of course it’s not realistic (although all possible in theory), but a girl can dream, can’t she?

    Because they simply don’t like it. It’s neither their style nor their taste.
    -> Well, that’s kind of acceptable, isn’t it? We’re tolerant people here. 🙂

    All in all, my guess why the story hits a nerve is because it illustrates some kink but without going to any extremes and therefore is alluring to many people. Whether they can admit it or not, is written on a different sheet of paper.

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    • Monique Lain says:

      Firstly, LOVE the comment! Awesome! I agree on all counts! The misconceptions of the book are horrendous! The whole idea of submission is ancient and still today is required in traditional marriage vows so why the hoo-haa about it I don”t know. In the BDSM world the key is CONSENTING, why do people care what happens between two (or more) people behind closed doors if everyone involved is getting exactly what they want??
      I also agree with you on the poorly written thing – it’s a terrible argument. I not sure if you know how many people are involved in the editing and fact checking of a book but let me tell you it’s substantial – if I were Erika I’d fire Random! I know for myself, it is almost impossible for me to see the errors I’ve made no matter how many times I reread my own work, I automatically read it as I thought it, not what I actually wrote. I blame the publisher for the errors in the book.
      Another important thing that this showed was that a book is so much more than the writing, the content is as important if not more. Case in point: A little while ago I tried a highly acclaimed fictional book, written by a man that was supposedly very sexy. The reviews were, well staggering! I was intrigued to see how a man would approach the subject. Well, I didn’t end up featuring it on the blog because it was the worst thing I’ve ever read (and never finished). He used these four words sentences, like a repeated rapid fire of shots with imagery that was so vague you sort of wondered if you were following the story correctly. I hate it when a book makes me feel like I’m too stupid to understand it and if that is what goes for acclaimed literature I’d rather read a comic! There may or may not be better erotica or literature out there but the fact is she made is accessible to millions that would never normally touch the genre and turned them into readers!.
      I can understand the religious groups’ reluctance to embrace something that looks like “porn” but the irony is that Christian, in some ways is the biblical man we advocate, a man that serves his wife, going all out in his love for her. A love marked by giving and utter selflessness. He is the quintessential man of the house that would lay down his life for the well being of his family. The sex is consensual and for the most part within the bounds of marriage. His BDSM lifestyle was a means to an end at the start of the book but he got healed by love – what’s more biblical than that?
      I think the point you make about fiction is vital – it is just that – a story, I’ve had to remind myself of that fact on more than one occasion.. I know only too well how real this particular one can seem…
      Lastly, with the kink issue you nailed it! They like it but don’t want too so they hide instead – it’s human nature…
      A well written piece there Grublue, thank you! 🙂 🙂

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      • grublue says:

        Hey, forgot to let you know, thank you for the very long reply. Perhaps you could post your arguments on said religious site…?
        I’m just kidding. Don’t think that would be a good idea. But still, I wonder what the reactions would be. 😉

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        • Monique Lain says:

          You’re welcome, I loved the thought you out into the reply, it was awesome! I agree, probably not a good idea, I can see where they’re coming from but again, perspective can change a lot of things it you let it… I just wish people in general would be a little less judgemental, would make for a whole lot more love.. 😉

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