I've been in this business long enough to know that the media doesn't report news, they create it. So why was I surprised when Time Magazine decided to misrepresent, skew, and twist the facts like almost every other publication has concerning the "Fifty Shades Phenomenon?" Because I expected more from Time.
Time is a revered magazine people have long trusted to report facts rather than sensationalism, yet this farce of an article proves Time to be no different than any other supermarket tabloid. Let me correct a few of the many untruths stated in this article for anyone who gives a shit about the truth:
MISREPRESENTATION: "These books have spiked sharply in popularity since Fifty Shades fever hit this spring..."
TRUTH: Erotic romance has spiked sharply in sales since the invention of the Kindle, Nook, and other e-reading devices. This spike happened well before 50 Shades was ever written.
MISREPRESENTATION: "Sylvia Day’s Bared to You — an erotic, decidedly Grey-toned tale of obsession that, like Fifty Shades, was originally self-published — has been climbing the New York Times best-seller list."
TRUTH: Sylvia Day has been a successful, multi-published, best-selling author for many years. Off the top of my head, I know she's published through Ellora's Cave, Berkley, & Kensington. And she's hit the lists long before 50 Shades.
MISREPRESENTATION: "Romantica publisher Ellora’s Cave offers everything from cowboy fantasies to tales of erotic time travel. Science-fiction geeks can consider Laurann Dohner’s Tiger, wherein a feisty female protagonist finds her match in a manimal."
TRUTH: Laurann's books don't appeal strictly to "science-fiction geeks;" in fact, I doubt many science-fiction geeks would enjoy her work. Laurann's books are well-written, engaging, and hot. They appeal to women who enjoy reading arousing romances that make them want to reach for a man (or a vibe) afterwards. Oh and by the way? Laurann has been hitting the bestselling lists before the 50 Shades farce.
MISREPRESENTATION: "However varied the categories may be, most contemporary erotica and romantica has one thing in common: a strong, opinionated heroine. She may not be textured or well written or particularly particular in any way, except in mouthing off and making demands and getting what she wants."
TRUTH: First of all, Romantica® is a registered trademark of Ellora's Cave Publishing... it is not a catch-all term for erotic romance. Secondly, I take extreme offense at having the literature we publish lumped in there with self-published books that often have little to no editing. (I believe 50 Shades was self-published?)
What this boils down to is the media is making a mockery of our genre and offending long-time authors by crediting our success to a book that has made zero difference in most publisher's sales figures. 50 Shades has NOT made erotica and erotic romance mainstream... people were already buying it in droves. All 50 Shades did was bring the media up to date on reality.
The reason this false correlation is so upsetting to so many authors is that we paid our dues and then some. The erotica people didn't get us, the romance industry didn't want us, and we have had to fight tooth and nail for our standing as equal artists in our genres. To have some woman come along and act like she invented what we have fought for is upsetting at best and defamatory at worst.
When the 50 Shades media frenzy first erupted, I kept reminding authors that E.L. James wasn't to blame, that the media was the one disseminating false information. But as time has wore on, and the frenzy shows no sign of abating, I can't help but notice that E.L. James has said nothing to set the record straight either.
UPDATE #1: Apparently it is 100% media. I received this info today:
Thanks for the info, Jo-Jo :-)
UPDATE #2: Further comments have been disabled. I stated my opinion, qualified it when I received more info, and am letting it go. Thank you to all the commentators who wrote in prior xx