If you don't know what this blog post is going to be about - where have you been? No, seriously - where? Because there are days (especially in the summer holidays with frequent cries of 'I'm booooooorrrrreeeed') when I'd like to join you somewhere quiet and reclusive.
So - 50 Shades of Grey. The self-published erotic fan-fiction that has become the best selling e-book of all time (over 1 million copies to date), that sold as many books one week as the next thirty books on the bestseller list added together. The pornographic depiction of a dysfunctional BDSM relationship that is happily propping up the shelves at a supermarket near you.
The question for aspiring authors is - is this a game changer? Do I need to take notice of this phenomenon or change what I'm doing in anyway? The short answer is no.
The longer answer is, maybe. ('Oh my!'). If you've not read a copy - see if you can borrow one - 50 pages of 50 SHADES is enough to get the style and to enjoy the various parodies out there. I particularly recommend Ellen's audio book attempt, and a cake..
You'll read a lot about how bad the books are (and potentially bad for you - see Suzanne Moore's article in the Guardian) but the burning question has to be - how did this particular book do so well?
The trade publishers picked it up after EL James had demonstrated an audience so they knew there'd be no risk. They packaged it intelligently, aimed at women readers, rather than traditional porn which features scantily clad women, and they let it loose into the market with the words 'the book everyone is talking about'. They also split one long novel into three cliff-hanger short novels, pushing readers on to want to read all three.
If you are writing erotic fiction - now is your time. Every trade publisher is scrabbling around their backlist, looking for titles they can repackage 'Grey-ly'. If you're writing general fiction but are including sex scenes, use this new wave of interest as a spur to get you writing your small bit of erotica well - rather than hurriedly.
Have you read 50 SHADES? What did you think?