Thanks to E L James’ publicity fail I might have to write Proust fan-fic

In what has to be classed as an epic publicity fail, E. L. James’ Twitter Q&A this week turned into farce when the feed was bombed by people who – well, they didn’t exactly like her books.  Or her.

I have to ask. What were her publicists thinking? Sure, Grey is one of the fastest-selling books of all time, following up the previous trilogy. And sure, there have to be a lot of, shall we say, gratified customers out there. But those sales have happened on the back of a repute for those books being very, very badly written porn, reportedly derived from ‘Twilight’ fan fiction.

I have to say ‘repute’ because I haven’t actually read any of James’s work – nor will I. Still, the fact remains that sales are skyrocketing and James is reportedly worth anything from $38 to $58 million, depending on which site you look at. And what did the late Phineas Taylor Barnum once say about nobody ever losing money by under-estimating the taste of the public? Obviously this is where the market’s at, so I now have to decide which famous novel to redo as very, very badly written porn fan fic. Maybe you can help. Which should I pick?

  • Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
  • John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.
  • Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time.

My vote’s with the last, but that’s just me. I always did want to summarise Proust.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015


11 thoughts on “Thanks to E L James’ publicity fail I might have to write Proust fan-fic

  1. Oooo! Ooooo!! Please pick the Proust, Matthew. And if it’s not too much trouble, please spice it up a bit — especially the parts at the beginning with Odette. Thank you very much. 🙂

    1. Proust is definitely lead contender. His novels are really handy, especially when the wind is blowing and I need to hold the door open or if the stepladder is missing and I need to climb up anywhere.

  2. And with summarising Proust you have Python’s classic conclusion ‘We’ve decided to award the prize to the girl with the biggest ****.’ So you’re in Shades of Grey territory straight away. Good luck. I’ll definitiely go out and not buy it.

  3. It amazed me the number of 70 year-olds that bought the book or went to the movie. Someone said to me that if I wanted to sell more books I should do ‘fifty shades of the Apostle John’ instead of the story in the series.
    I have no intention of doing so.
    But what about you? “Living on Shaky Ground” sounds like an interesting start LOL
    Thank you for your thought-provoking blogs…

  4. Well, you should do whichever you want – your heart should be in your project, right? As for Fifty Shades of Bullshit – Amazon reports that though it sold, and sold well, the number of people who actually READ that crap is something like 40% if I remember the statistics correctly. It was “the thing” to buy to the one of the “In” crowd, it also is leading to a scary increase of young women suffering from dangerously unhealthy behaviours:

    It’s a sad, sad world. . .

    1. Yes it is. I heard of people buying the original who would not normally buy books, suggesting it was one of they few titles to tap into a larger market than ‘regular book readers’. As you point out, there seems to have been a lot of the ‘me too’ factor in that and there is no guarantee all the buyers actually read it.

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