Fifty Shades of Earl Grey

I belong to a support group of independent authors whose writing, whether  romance, mystery or thriller, falls roughly in the general category of Cozy. We eschew foul language or gratuitous sex and violence.

Currently there is a lively discussion about the book and movie, “Fifty Shades of Gray.” Naturally enough, the comments are pretty scathing regarding the subject matter, but I was surprised, since I did not read the book, at the criticisms of the author’s writing ability. It seems that in spite of poor editing, syntax and plot development, the salacious nature of this book made it such a success it has now been made into a near-pornographic movie glorifying the sexual abuse of women.

This is so frustrating for those of us struggling to improve our craft (which we love) and learning the daunting skills of marketing our work (which we hate) in order to raise our sales ranking  and someday make a modest living as full-time writers.

It is tempting to think all we need to do is write books filled with dangerous bondage S&M practices and other graphically violent sex acts set in a pseudo-sophisticated upper class milieu in order to become best-selling successful authors.

However, as several in my group implied, even thinking of slithering through that slimy world makes us feel in need of the mental equivalent of a hot shower to cleanse our minds.

One of the tenets of becoming a successful writer is knowing one’s target audience and writing for each of them.

I thank God that my readers are much more interested in reading about an afternoon sipping Earl Grey tea than dipping into Fifty Shades of depravity.



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