Great Writing vs Phenomenon

E.L. James was named Publisher Weekly’s Person of the Year. What does this mean? Marketing is more important than breaking every writing rule that could possibly be broken. It means that great writing is not as important as creating a phenomenon.

All those in E.L. James’ corner, which is her editor, literary agent, publishers around the world, and of course, PW, claim that, “It’s not about the money. E.L. James is changing the publishing industry.”

Authors would argue that this is the wrong direction. Instead, authors are serious about keeping the purity of books and want to believe that a great story is much more important than a well executed marketing plan.

PW made E.L. James Person of the Year because of the impact her book series made in both the publishing industry and in the minds of readers. E.L. James has become “the new style of writing in publishing.”

Author Jennifer Bock Parkinson has a question for the publishing industry. “Grammar errors, misplaced modifiers, incorrect punctuation, flimsy characters, inconsistent and contrived plot points, misspellings, incorrect word usage, and stilted dialogue are the new standard in publishing?”

Fifty Shades of Grey series brought in over $200 million, but 90% of the reviews thrashed the series. Everyone knows that the books were written like a first time author. But it could not have been about the writing when E.L. James signed with Random House. Any person with reasonable writing knowledge could see that her writing and characters were horrible.

However, Random House did not sign E.L. James for her writing.

It was about the phenomenon…

Ron Knight

“Simple to read…hard to forget!”

UP Authors is looking for REAL Erotic & Romance Authors. Submit your work to our Promotions Contest:

Ron Knight

Facebook Twitter 



  1. I have not changed my mind. Good writing always trumps good marketing. After you stumble through all the misplaced modifiers, misspellings, flimsy characters, etc., you’re left with a big fat zero.

    In my day, PEYTON PLACE was the 50 shades of the day. Does anyone even remember that book? Or how about GOD’S LITTLE ACRE? Trash written for the almighty buck. But, you say, the authors made a lot of money. So does an ugly whore with a savvy pimp.

  2. The initial success she had came from word of mouth, which granted, is a form of marketing. But the scale of it is hard to manufacture, although not necessarily impossible. Somehow her book hit home with enough people to create a snowball effect, only then was she picked up.

    I sometimes wonder if the bad reviews she received actually helped her, along the lines of ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’.