As ever, I find myself out of step with fashion. just another craze that is beyond me. So much cultural nonsense that I just don’t get. Following on from X Factor, Big Brother, TOWIE. Why is it that I feel my intelligence is being called into question on a daily basis? And yet, reasonably intelligent people seem to find these things unproblematic. I find myself, more and more, listening to little bands, local bands, watching art-house movies and avoiding the TV all together.
This particular rant started a few weeks ago and has been running through my head since then. It was startled into life again today as I was listening to Jeffrey Lewis’ version of I ain’t thick, its just a trick and suddenly I was feeling all riled up so here it is.
It all started when I decided to read 50 Shades of Grey. I know, I know, what exactly was I expecting. (I know a snobbish part of me was already hoping it would be a bit rubbish as anything that popular should be.) But I wanted to understand exactly why it was so popular and, of course, if you haven’t read it then you can’t really moan about it. So how exactly did this tame tale of an irritating sadist and a pathetic masochist become the publishing phenomenon of the year? It’s hard to know. Are there really that many bored housewives out there? Of course, it’s the hype. I would never have read it otherwise, that is certain. At least I can say I bought it in a charity shop so someone needy at least benefited from my purchase.
I have to admit – and I’m comfortable with my intellectual snob status, so feel free to use that label – that I find the popularity of this book depressing. Just like I find the popularity of TOWIE depressing. The plot is basic and obvious. The characters are annoying stereotypes. However, I have to also admit that the popularity of this book is proof of the power of the reader. Proof of the power of the e-book. All to the good then, when, in the next few days, my book hits the e-shelves.
So on the one hand, 50 Shades of Grey makes me feel more confident about the possibilities for my book, Shattered Reflections. Don’t get me wrong, I do not expect to become the next big thing. I’d rather have lower sales and better reviews anyway. On the other, it has helped to contribute to the snobbishness already surrounding self-publishing. When I was wavering over whether to self publish or not, this is the factor that I found the most difficult to deal with. The idea of no quality control.
Still, ultimately I think it is a cause for celebration that something could be carried along by word of mouth and that there is a whole world of publishing outside of the big six publishers. Just like with music and film, I think I will be investigating it a bit more closely.