50 Shades of Good Marketing for a Bad Product

Please, help me out – what is the appeal of this book?


I hate to admit this – but I gave in and read that crazy cult fiction – 50 Shades of Grey.
A group of my girlfriends is all excited about the book and they want to have a party night where we watch the movie – no doubt with adult beverages in hand. Yay for girls’ night!
I hate being left out, so I borrowed the whole trilogy and…
It took a painful amount of effort to get through the first book.
What is it about this book that appeals to the masses???





  1. Show me, don’t tell me! Seriously, how many times can the main character say she “feels amazing,” without any reference to the senses? What made it feel amazing? What kind of “amazing” sensations did she experience? The reader will never know!
  2. Quit over-analyzing! I get it. I know how over-thinking works. Especially when there is a new love interest. I’m the first to tear-apart one small off-handed phrase into confetti-like pieces. But that doesn’t mean that the reader needs to see the actual words “What will happen next?” a baziollion times per chapter. As a reader, I should be wondering what will happen next WITHOUT the main character having to ask that question out loud, again and again.
  3. Oh Romeo. Just like my hang-up with the classic Romeo and Juliet, the timeline is preposterous. Romeo and Juliet is a story about some 13 year-old kids who know each other, what? A week? 50 Shades is about some naive college girl who is convinced she is madly in love with a guy at first sight, and struggles through the dynamics of her relationship with him for a whole 2 weeks! She gets all worked up about not being able to tell what this guy is thinking and she’s known him, by the end of the book, for TWO WEEKS. You don’t already know everything about him? Weird.
  4. Quit panicking. Without getting too “R” rated here, let me just say that for a girl who had no trouble WHATSOEVER with a certain oral situation, she sure went completely berserk about going commando. As a reader, I really quit caring about the panty situation WAY before the character got over it.
  5. Write loveable characters. Loveable characters don’t have to be the good guys. They don’t even always have to be the main characters. But give me someone to root for! The main character is whiney, over-analytical and – even though she is described as smart – ridiculously shallow. She’s madly in love with a guy who impresses her with helicopters and airplanes and good looks, but zero depth (visible to the reader, anyway). If I don’t know enough about any of the characters to sympathize, empathize or somehow relate, I don’t give hoot about their story.
  6. Flip the switch. If this book is supposed to be about the “turn on,” it failed miserably. Refer to point number one and point number five. Also, if that’s the goal, spend a little time building up the tension while clothes are being peeled off or tossed across the room. The long-rambling internal monologue of the main character was anything BUT arousing.



Soon, I’ll be headed off to girls’ night. Hopefully the movie captures some feeling and emotion.
There HAS to be better material out there in this genre! Right?! What do you think? Has anyone come across any of this kind of material that is well written?




One thought on “50 Shades of Good Marketing for a Bad Product

  1. American culture is infantile: gimmicks, gadgets, fleeting shots of adrenalin, and then off to the next fix. There is no demand for writing that has depth of content or is skillful and thought-provoking. We live in a middle school lunchroom.


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