fifty shades of people-are-buying-more-erotica-than-ever-so-shut-the-fuck-up

by Parker Dupris

When Twilight became popular, lots of people disliked the idea of sparkly “vampires”. There seemed to be a consensus of what a vampire was; how it acted, powers it had, and how it would be portrayed. While being incredibly, re-donk-uulously popular in the mainstream vampire enthusiasts and familiars everywhere would hiss at anyone who’d listen to them ( or without a cross or bit of daylight handy ) that Stephenie Meyer’s characters “weren’t real vampires” and would go on about how “She’s ruining the whole genre” and “she’s just writing that to make money” and “fuck those books are awful anyhow.”

Well, hmmmm.

I haven’t read the books, so I can’t attest to their awful-ness, but I know three-quarters of a zillion people –have– read them. More precisely, three-quarters of a zillion people have bought them, and presumably enjoyed them enough to tell their friends. It seems to me the stories and characters touch something pretty primal in the female psychology, as the readership of the books caught like a virus, as did viewership of the movies.

Meanwhile, vampire “purists” and horror writers of every stripe got their fifteen minutes of fame deploring Meyer’s’s work.

Not real. Embarrassing. Written for mass-consumption. Ugh they’re awful, how can So Many People be buying?

And then along comes EL James, her brooding billionaire Christian Gray, and a lot of the same haters-gotta-hate.

Lots of people in The Lifestyle are outraged. “That’s not -real- Dom/sub scening” and “she’s ruining the whole genre” and “she wrote those just to make money” and “fuck those books are awful anyhow.”

This sounds somehow familiar.

As it turns out, erotica authors and erotica fans are just like horror authors and horror fans in that when someone not “in” the culture comes along, writes a first-time opus and knocks it out of the park with something that doesn’t sound comfortably inside the genre as they knew it, they all go fucking crazy.

It’s hard to tell what causes more ire- that Meyer and James were “newcomers” to the genre, that they broke with lots of other interpretations of the subject matter that had appeared before them, or that the mainstream was now exposed to these “watered down” versions of the genres we held so close to our hearts, and all those mainstream, vanilla people who don’t now any better think they’re reading -good- D/s lit!

The nerve of them, eh?

I have read the Fifty Shades books, and in my opinion they are not awful. It is also my opinion that anything that introduces more people to erotica is better for erotica in general, erotica readers and especially erotica authors in particular. Three quarters of a zillion people are now curious about D/s, so they’re looking for more to read?

Hmmmm. How awful.

But not really. A causal glance of Amazon’s top 100 erotica ebooks reveals no shortage of “That-handsome-billionaire-made-me-his-sexual-slave stories, no doubt influenced by Fifty Shades. I’m not such a fan of this outright regurgitation…  but I am terribly interested in the fact that people are being more erotica now than ever. Like, by a -lot-.

Some of this is dues to the Kindle Effect, which I discuss in a future post, but a lot of it can be attributed to Jamie Soccermom hearing about Fifty Shades of Holy-Crap-Jamie-you-HAVE-to-read-these-books, reading all three over the course of a very long weekend where the hubby is forced to order Chinese for the family, and then sets about filling her Kindle with more smut while subtly suggesting to hubby that he tie her up.

And that he become a billionaire.

A rising tide raises all boats. Have you ever heard that, and wondered what it meant? For us that means that even though you might not like the Fifty Shades books yourself because they are too vanilla, or you don’t like the author, or you don’t like the fact that they’re talking about your lifestyle or your little secret lust on The View, the effect of such popularity and more people buying more erotica is that more erotica gets written.

By corollary we can assume that more -good- erotica will be written. More erotica authors will be rewarded more handsomely, and more exploration will take place as people no longer happy with Brooding Billionaires start to look for erotica about Sparkly Vampires insisting their subs sign contracts and adhere to schedules for working out, eating, and playtime.

Fifty Shades of good-for-all-of-us will only encourage the writing of more/better erotica. There will be more crap out there, sure… but there wasn’t exactly a shortage of that before Ms. James got here.