The astounding success of 50 Shades of Grey has a lot of folks bewildered. Publishers included, quite clearly.
While all of us stumble around trying to make sense of it, I was stumped when a reporter asked me recently why it was such a success. Expecting a succinct answer, I started to talk about covers and the appeal of the hero and it clearly wasn’t what she was looking for. She wanted a firm and fast answer.
And I just didn’t – and still don’t – have it. But you know what? Its clear that publishers don’t either.
I’ve seen the recommendations for those who liked 50 Shades and they strike me as tone deaf. As in, “here, are our stale traditionally published books, give us some of your money” recommendations. Please.
One thing that’s completely clear to me: 50 Shades is fresh. As in fresh in tone and feeling and style. It’s got a feeling of freshness to it that I haven’t seen coming out of New York in a very long time.
New York publishers are bound (sorry) by tradition. They do things the same way they’ve always done them. And they are sluggish. I have no doubt that they are scrambling right now to find the next new 50 Shades authors. They’ll put them on the fast track and, gee, we might see a resulting book in about a year. Too little too late, I’m afraid since who knows what readers will want by that time? Chances are, it won’t be another 50 Shades.