Fan Fiction

By late May, more than ten million copies of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, an erotic romance series about the sexual exploits of a domineering billionaire and an inexperienced coed, had been sold in the United States, all within six weeks of the books’ publication here [London]. This apparently unprecedented achievement occurred without the benefit of a publicity campaign, formal reviews, or Oprah’s blessing, owing to a reputation established, as one industry analyst put it, “totally through word of mouth.”
It’s not news that “word of mouth” has become a business model in the book industry. But E.L. James, a forty-nine-year-old former television executive from West London whose real name is Erika Leonard [nella foto], has exceeded the sales feats of previous reader-discovered authors by such a staggering magnitude that she is in a category of her own. ...
The crucial difference may have less to do with talent, content, or luck than with a peculiarity of Leonard’s early readership: her work originated as fan fiction, a genre that operates outside the bounds of literary commerce, in online networks of enthusiasts of popular books and movies, brought together by a desire to write and read stories inspired by those works. nybooks.

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