Assuming you haven’t been living in Antarctica for the past six months, I’m sure you’ve all heard of That Book. The one with a gray silk tie on the cover. The one with the Too Stupid To Live virgin heroine who mutters “crap” and “double crap,” and comes at the drop of a hat. The one with the tortured, twenty-six year old billionaire hero who speaks fluent French, is a concert-level pianist and a trained pilot, not to mention tall and gorgeous, with a gigantic cock. The one that started out as (*choke*) Twilight fan fiction.
Yeah, that one.
It’s bad enough that I can’t avoid seeing it mentioned online at least a dozen times a day, but when I walked into Target last Saturday and practically tripped over a huge display of gray-tinted paperbacks, my “Fuck this!”o-meter tipped dangerously into the red. I glared at that rack of books, sorely tempted to grab a baseball bat from three aisles down and smash it to bits.
I’m not a violent person. Getting angry makes me sick to my stomach. But the notion of millions of people reading Fifty Shades of Grey and thinking that’s what erotic romance is all about makes me want to put my fist through a wall. When I hear the media crowing about how Fifty Shades spawned the entire erom genre (oh, really? Where have I been?) I want to strangle something. Makes me sad, too, knowing many readers will be so put off by the clichéd characters and awful writing that they’ll never pick up another erotic romance. Which is a crying shame, since practically every author I know can write rings around EL James.
I did a slow burn until I got home, got on Twitter and started bitching. Then the very wise Tibby Armstrong made a great suggestion – something so obvious and simple, I could’ve smacked myself for not thinking of it first.
It’s convention season, which means my back bedroom is full of postcards, fridge magnets, t-shirts, tote bags, etc. I always keep a few postcards in my purse, because you never know who you’re going to run into, and a savvy author’s always ready for promo. So, guess what? Next time I see a paperback with “EL James” on the cover, I’m going to whip out my postcards and stick one inside.
Fellow authors, I call on you to do the same. Don’t we owe it to all those potential readers to let them know there’s something better than so-called “mommy porn”? This could be our Occupy Wall Street – albeit without the picketing and bullhorns and sleeping outside in the snow.
#OccupyFiftyShades! Pass it on! ☺