My fifth book, How Spy I Am, is finally out (phew), so of course I immediately thought of Fifty Shades of Grey.
What, you don’t see the connection? Bear with me…
First, a disclaimer: I am one of the (apparently) tiny minority that hasn’t read Fifty Shades. I likely won’t, for several reasons:
1) I read the first pages on Amazon and didn’t get swept away by it.
2) I’ve read some well-written BDSM erotic romance novels by authors whose blogs I follow, but reading was more an act of loyalty than anything else. BDSM just isn’t my flavour.
3) I almost never read any type of romance, though I make an exception for Fallen Arches – Novellas of Broken Romance over at Curmudgeon-At-Large. They make me swoon. (It’s probably because I can’t breathe between paroxysms of laughter).
So, Fifty Shades? Probably not for me.
I’m impressed by the number of people who are leveraging Fifty Shades. Suddenly there are flocks of books titled “Fifty Shades of (fill in the blank)”. There’s even a website titled “What to Read After Fifty Shades”.
Love it or hate it, Fifty Shades has made a shitload of money, and everybody wants a piece (if you’ll excuse a cheap but irresistible double entendre).
So that’s it; I’m getting in on the act. After consulting Wikipedia to verify my accuracy, I’m going to tell you how my books are just like Fifty Shades of Grey:
- I have male and female characters. Sometimes their relationships are complicated and fraught with sexual tension. See, just like Fifty Shades.
- My protagonist is a confident middle-aged no-bullshit woman instead of an insecure college girl, but what the hell. Details. They’re both female.
- My protagonist gets tied up every now and then. She never enjoys it, but hey, bondage, right?
- The male character in Fifty Shades is an entrepreneur. I have a grandmother/granddaughter team who own a sex shop in a small town. Voila: entrepreneurs and sex. Double whammy.
- Sex. Got that covered. My characters don’t intentionally hurt each other during the act, but that’s just a technicality.
- A virgin. Hmmm. That could be a problem. Never mind, I wouldn’t want to be accused of being an exact copy.
- Oho, here’s a good one: The characters in Fifty Shades communicate using a laptop. So do my characters. Score another point.
- You may be thinking this is a little thin so far, but here’s the kicker: My main male character has grey eyes. Grey. And in Book 2, he ties my protagonist up and restrains her. Ha! Spike it in the end zone!
I’m sure there are many more striking similarities but I could only get so much from the wiki and I was too lazy to look up any more synopses. Nevertheless, I’m convinced my claim of sycophantic imitation is just as valid as everyone else’s.
So there you go. My books are just like Fifty Shades. And repeating “Fifty Shades” fifty times in a blog post works wonderfully for search engine optimization, too.
I anticipate that within days, book reviewers and avid readers will be calling my novels “the next Fifty Shades of Grey”. My book sales will skyrocket. The news media will grovel for interviews with me. Hollywood will call and beg to pay gazillions of dollars for the movie rights to my books.
Because I’m leveraging the power of “Fifty Shades of Grey” just like everybody else.
Okay, I was just kidding around with the whole “Fifty Shades” schtick, but I actually have a serious request this week: I’m doing a survey on how readers like authors to sign books, and I’d really appreciate your opinion. There are only three quick questions over at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K3LQS9D, and I’m giving away a signed copy of the updated version of Book 1: Never Say Spy. Thanks for your help!