July 14th, 2012
There has been a lot of hype over Fifty Shades of Grey the novel by EL James. I have to admin I’m only 1/3 of the way through it but I’m captivated by the premise and the controversy surrounding the novel. For this, I take my hat off to EL James.
Nothing sells a book faster than to have people talk about it.
There is a very definite demographic for this novel. There is no denying that certain types of people will enjoy it more than others yet, everyone seems to be reading it to see what all the fuss is about.
I definitely fall into the target demographic. The characters have captured my interest. The build up of sexual tension was so well done, I was ready for a cigarette by the time they actually kissed (and I don’t smoke). She is a very good storyteller. She knows her audience and was able to titillate them to the tune of several million dollars.
But, she let her fellow writers and the industry down with sloppy writing.
I won’t criticize too much because she is in very good company with the likes of Stephenie Meyer and Dan Brown. Sure, they’re all making oodles of money but I have to wonder at their lack of pride in their actual writing… and I’m completely shocked at the lack of editing at the publishing level.
We’re a small company and we polish manuscripts tirelessly to showcase our authors in the best possible light. To have one of our authors held up as a bad example of ‘how not to write’ (like both Stephenie and Dan) would be devastating to us, so I have to wonder at the lack of care from the larger publishing houses which I would assume would have much bigger editing budgets.
Even with my editing hat off, nothing takes me out of a story faster than bad writing. Simple things like sliding point of view, bad descriptions, awkward phrasing and incorrect facts make me stop and shake my head. EL’s story was able to drag me back in, but many others have not.
So my advice to writers hoping to get published is:
Don’t take the chance – write well, don’t just story-tell well.