Some of us love it. Some of us just love to hate on it, but one thing is for certain. Fifty Shades of Grey shoved romance from the fringe, right into the spotlight. What was once something that people read but seldom talked about, has become this huge phenomenon. It spawned Yahoo and Facebook groups for those who wanted to talk about the book. It gave way to groups of people who needed to know what other sort of erotic romance was out there.
Siren Publishing (who I publish with currently) has been around since 2006. In that time they've found a loyal following of voracious readers such as myself, who binge buy their books and then wait impatiently for the next new release email. The whole Fifty Shades phenomenon brought forth a whole new type of romance reader though.
Suddenly, it's not just the readers who have maxed out their Kindle. Now, it's people who don't necessarily read that often are finding out that romance is no longer strictly about damsels in distress, anymore. These books feature strong, sexy, real characters that take what they want. The heaving bosom has given way to the flush of arousal.
Now, I'm not saying that Fifty Shades is entirely to thank for the modernized image that romance seems to have lately. There were tons of authors who wrote these books before it was popular. Some of those books were better. Some were worse. Every single one of those works played an important role in getting romance novels to where they are today.
It's difficult to think of a more polarizing book among the group, though. People either rage against it or binge buy anything that has a somewhat similar premise. No matter which side you're on, you've really got to appreciate the fact that romance (erotic romance in particular) is treated like actual literature now. I've had a few people say, “Oh. You write THOSE kind of books,” of course. Far fewer than you'd think though.
Whether you've reserved your tickets already or you've rolled your eyes any time anyone has asked you if you're going to see the movie, I feel like we owe the book some thanks. Not because it was the best book ever written. Not because it was the first of its kind, because it surely wasn't. We owe it a bit of thanks because it shined a huge light on the kind of books that we all love to read (and in some cases write.)