Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Fifty Shades Comparison Epidemic

There is nothing I love more than to wander down the aisles of my local bookstore. Although my kindle provides constant reading material, I still love to read a real book. For those of you who are the same, you may have noticed something startling has happened in those bookstore isles in the last six months or so.

Since the unprecedented success of the Fifty Shades franchise there is about ten times (I wouldn't quote my stats people) the amount of space dedicated to Contemporary Romances (Yay for us!), and there is real erotica on the shelves of even the smallest bookstores!

I could not be happier about this! Fifty Shades success has offered up enormous opportunity to erotica and romance writers, and has given readers a whole new range to choose from. But there is something else... Something I am not so happy about.

It is the Fifty Shades Comparison Epidemic! There does not seem to be a Contemporary Romance available on the shelves at the moment that doesn't seem to have a sticker, or tag, or even embossed right onto the cover a phrase such as "Like Fifty Shades", "Hotter than Fifty Shades", "If you liked Fifty Shades then..." you get my drift?

Maybe that wouldn't be so bad if these titles actually were like Fifty Shades. That does not seem to be the case however.  Apparently any New Adult romance, or any romance with erotic or BDSM themes, or hell anything written in the first person is compared to Fifty.

I recently purchased Beautiful Disaster by Jamie MCGuire. It had a big shiny sticker on it "Read after Fifty Shades". Now anyone who has read Beautiful Disaster (whether you loved it or hated it) would have to admit anyone expecting a read comparative with Fifty Shades would have been sorely disappointed. The only comparison is that there was an agnsty heroine of the same age. If people were expecting hot sex scenes coming off their Fifty thrall, the sex in this book was very much that of a YA writer who is obviously uncomfortable writing about sex. I know so many people loved this book so I hope I haven't alienated half my audience right there, but I think we can all agree this was not a sexy read.

Now let's be clear; I do not go looking for Fifty Shades comparisons. I am not hoping to find something the same. I enjoyed Fifty Shades. I didn't love it and I have my issues with it. But, I got the same thing out of it that most people did. It gave me erotica and an intro to BDSM in a lighter, more romantic, less hardcore package.  It just really bugs me that everything has to now be compared to it, and piggyback off its success. I have picked up a few erotic romances recently all with "Fifty Shades" stickers attached. For the most part they could not be compared to Fifty because they are full blown erotica without the softer mainstream voice that made Fifty accessible to non-erotica readers.

I vowed not to buy anything again with a Fifty Shades sticker attached. It seemed I would be fresh out of reading material if I held myself to that. So I purchased Switch by Megan Hart at the bookshop, it has "Fifty Shades - hotter than grey" embossed right on the cover. The blurb sounds interesting so I will give it a go. Stay tuned for my review, I won't be holding back.

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