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Fifty Shades of Grey fever is undeniably sweeping the nation right now. The erotic novel (so-called “mommy porn”) is breaking e-reader records while turning on women everywhere with spanking and light bondage. It seemed to me like this book just popped up overnight and became insanely popular, but the novel actually debuted over a year ago.
So here’s the lowdown on how this phenomenon has evolved:
2010 - British mom E. L. James used the pen name "Snowqueen's Icedragon" to publish an episodic series titled Master of the Universe on Twilight fanfiction sites. The story featured characters named after Stephenie Meyer's characters in Twilight, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. After readers expressed concern about the sexual nature, James removed the story from the fanfiction websites and published it on her own website, FiftyShades.com. Later she rewrote Master of the Universe as an original novel, changing the main characters names’ to Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, and removed it from her website prior to publication.
May 2011 – The first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy, titled Fifty Shades of Grey, was released as an e-book and a print-on-demand paperback by The Writers' Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher based in Australia. This was a reworked and extended version of Master of the Universe split into three parts. News agencies dubbed it “mommy porn,” given its erotic nature and cult following it developed of primarily married women over thirty, though book has also been popular among teenage girls and college women.
September 2011- The second volume, Fifty Shades Darker, was released.
January 2012 - The third and final novel in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Freed, is released. The Writers' Coffee Shop had a restricted marketing budget and relied largely on book blogs for early publicity, but sales of the novel were boosted by rampant word-of-mouth recommendations.
By the release of the final volume in January 2012, news networks in the United States had begun to report on the Fifty Shades trilogy as a prime example of viral marketing and of the rise in popularity of female erotica, attributing its success to the discreet nature of e-reading devices.
February 2012 - It was announced that there was professional interest in a film production of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Big studios including Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount, Universal Pictures, and even Mark Wahlberg's production company all put in bids for the film rights.
April 2012 - Due to the insanely popular interest in the series, the license to the Fifty Shades trilogy was picked up by Vintage Books for re-release in a new and revised edition.
March 2012 - Universal Pictures and Focus Features finally secured movie rights to the trilogy. Author James requested to retain some control during the movie's creative process. The Social Network producers Mike De Luca and Dana Brunetti signed on to produce the film, having been hand-picked by E. L. James.
March 2012 - A Florida library removed copies of Fifty Shades of Grey from its shelves, citing that it did not meet the selection criteria for the branch and that reviews for the book had been poor (somehow I doubt James really cared what they thought!). A representative for the library stated that it was due to the book's sexual content and voiced that other libraries had declined to purchase copies for their branches.The Florida library later made copies available again due to public demand.
August 1, 2012 - amazon.co.uk announced that they had sold more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey than they had of the entire Harry Potter series combined, making E. L. James their bestselling author ever.
Currently, the studio is in the process of casting for the coveted roles of Christian and Anastasia, and everyone from Angelina Jolie (I like her but isn’t she a little old to be playing college-aged Anastasia?) to Blake Lively to Lucy Hale to an Olsen sister and more have been rumored as possible frontrunners. The Vampire Diaries Ian Somerhalder is my personal favorite choice to play Christian (although other names like William Levy, Colin Egglesfield, Chris Pine, Alexander Skarsgard, and Channing Tatum are all possibly in the running).
Have you read Fifty Shades?Who would you like to see steaming up the big screen as Christian and Anastasia?