I’ll be honest; I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ve talked to people who love the book and others who hated it, and I’ve also read reviews online that seem to indicate that some people think that the actual wordsmithing in the novel isn’t up to par or that it’s poorly edited. But despite these things, people seem to love this book. What gives?
That got me thinking about something I heard on a self publishing panel at a writer’s conference last year. An agent was talking about the rise of independent publishing and how people in traditional publishing were surprised that “poorly written” books or books filled with grammatical errors were still selling well. Or more specifically, that (some) readers just don’t care about that stuff.
That doesn’t really surprise me. I don’t think that all readers care if your sentences are long and flowing and elegantly crafted or even, if you put your commas on your nose. All they care about is the story and getting to the end of it, and for some readers, bad grammar doesn’t get in the way.
I think the fact that some of these books that would have been rejected by traditional publishers are actually doing well just proves that no one really knows what readers will like. It also proves that no matter how bad people think a book may be, there there is an absolute market for everything.