Does the fact that bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey was originally written as a Twilight fanfic change your assessment of the book?
With the evidence adding up to suggest that E. L. James’ bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey began life as an “edgy” Twilight fanfiction story entitled Master of the Universe, many fans are questioning if this changes their viewpoint on the series.
With MediaBistro reporting that E L James (Erika Leonard) wrote the fanficer the name Snowqueens Icedragon, there have been mixed reactions from various quarters. Many fans could care less; in fact, many fanfiction readers have supported Ms. Leonard vocally as well as financially, feeling that they are supporting one of their own. Perez Hilton further reports that this trend, far from embarrassing either Ms. Leonard or her publisher, has encouraged copycats!
Author Sylvain Reynard is another fanfic writer who may be looking at a big book deal for his series The University of Edward Masen (now titled Gabriel’s Inferno).
So what does this mean for publishing? It means that fanfic sells. It also means that we’re going to see much more fanfic-turned-lit coming out in short order until the market reaches saturation; assuming that such a thirst for this sexy fiction ever can be.
The first revolution came in the form of the eBook. Traditional print outlets were threatened in many ways and were forced to adapt to a new cultural paradigm, a byproduct of technological change and the rise of social networking. With this change, putting publishing in the hands of individuals as well as the larger presses in tandem, a new side-by-side relationship emerged. Books selling for less than a pound being picked up by hundreds of people and forming niche communities. Books by popular authors being offered in eBook format only.
And now, undiscovered fanfic writers emerging as bestselling authors on their debut novel, causing a firestorm of controversy surrounding both the explicit content as well as the provenance of the bestseller itself.
Does it deserve the fame? Does it deserve to make history, and if so, is it a history to be proud of? These are points of great debate within literary circles, sexuality communities, and the readership writ large.
What are your thoughts? Is this a positive or a negative trend in publishing? Are the authors deserving of critical acclaim, cash, and fame?
Do you think you could do better?
We’d love to hear from you. *