I will not offer my review of Fifty Shades of Grey, though I have read the book. I've been sitting on this post for a while, mainly because this book has become such a hot button issue among authors and readers. This week I've seen Tumblr accounts crop up that are dedicated to quoting lines from the book (either as a tribute or humorously out of context), and at least one person has taking to blogging an MST3K-esque synopsis of the book chapter by chapter. Also, some authors have come under fire for being too critical of the book and its meteoric rise in popularity.
What do I think? The book was okay. I can see how some readers would find it daring and erotic, but I've read books that go to 11. It did not change my life, but the hype surrounding this book has made me think.
I see on Twitter that some authors of erotic romance believe this Fifty Shade boom will hopefully trickle down and result in sales for them. Honestly, I'd hope for that as well. I've been writing erotica and erotic romance for eight years and could definitely use a boost. If Fifty Shades of Grey inspires a reader new to the genre to look elsewhere for another fix, I'll wave them my way. I have all shades of sexy here!
Of course, I think about other things, and compare this phenomenon to my reading history. For example, I enjoyed the Harry Potter series. I read all seven books, and am currently re-reading the first one aloud to my daughter. Before Harry Potter, I didn't read the genre at all - I may have dipped into sci-fi, but fantasy wasn't my thing. Once I finished, though, I didn't immediately seek out another fantasy novel on my own. Another reader suggested I try Merecedes Lackey's Valdemar books, and I ended up plowing through about ten of those.
I suppose the point I'm making here is that once I finished Harry Potter, I felt as though I'd finished a terrific seven-course meal. I almost didn't want to delve into another series in the same genre for fear of either being disappointed or bored. Looking back, I realize I may have been silly to think that way - I will read pretty much anything and I've never been that picky about a genre. Since then, though I still recall Harry Potter fondly, I've eased back into fantasy.
Thinking about the many readers attracted to Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the following things will happen when these people finish the trilogy:
1) Some may choose to read the books again, choosing to stay only with these books in the erotic genre.
2) Some may explore similar books to read.
3) Some may go back to the genres they're more comfortable with or, if they weren't "readers" to begin with, go back to what they were doing before.
Still, there will be people who won't get past the first book, or even finish it. They may assume all erotic romances are like Fifty Shades and not bother with the genre. I would like to speak to all readers noted above.
It's okay if you liked/loved Fifty Shades of Grey, and it's okay if you didn't like it. With an entity of this magnitude, opinions will be divided. There are people out there who hated Titanic, and don't like The Beatles. I could live without hearing the name Kardashian, but there are people who never miss their shows.
I've received glowing fan mail from readers, and one-star reviews - and that's okay.
Whether you liked Fifty or hated it, though, might I suggest that you try the erotic romance genre beyond the trilogy. If you loved reading about Ana and Christian, try another couple created by an awesome author. Of course, I will be so bold as to suggest my back list. Why not? I write these books, and I want people to buy them. If you liked Fifty Shades and want recommendations, I have them. I would suggest, if you want to read more contemporary erotica and romance, to start with Truth or Dare, Dare Me, and The Dares That Bind. I write a variety of sub-genres, but these three are good books if Fifty Shades is your gateway.
Want more? Here are ten authors of the same genre I have enjoyed reading over the years:
Alessia Brio (with and without Will Belegon), Robin Slick, Bridget Midway, Cheyenne McCray, Jaid Black, Jayelle Drewry, Shara Lanel, Emma Wildes, and Mardi Ballou.
Want eleven more? Yvette Hines, Denise Jeffries, Eliza Gayle, Cat Johnson, Samantha Sommersby, Stella and Audra Price (counting as one), Tilly Greene, Susan DiPlacido, Trixie Stilletto, Kally Jo Surbeck, and Zena Wynn.
How about M/M (gay) romance? Jade Falconer, Mychael Black, Shayne Carmichael, James Buchanan, GA Hauser, Stevie Woods.
Sapphic stuff? KT Grant, Alessia Brio, Beth Wylde, and Yeva Wiest.