At least 50 Shades richer: EL James made £20million in 18 months
Eighteen months ago no one had heard of Londoner Erika Leonard – or EL James to use her pseudonym – but the woman who invented “mummy porn” is now raking in almost £1million a week. Yes, that’s £1million a week. So, how did she do it?
Last month ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ became the best-selling book in Britain of all time. More astonishing is that it began as a “self-published” book, a route to market traditionally taken by less-talented authors who failed to secure a publishing deal.
James’ story goes to show that the enhanced royalty rates offered by self-publishing can mean successful writers can end up very rich very quickly.
James, a TV executive and married mother-of-two, began writing erotic stories in 2009 when she posted ‘Twilight’ fan fiction online.
Originally titled “Master of the Universe” under the pen name Snowqueen’s Icedragon, the stories featured Twilight characters Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. As the stories became more erotic James removed the work from fan fiction sites and published them on her own website.
These stories became ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and sequels ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’, an erotic trilogy about a female college graduate and a billionaire businessman featuring bondage, dominance and a spot of sadism/masochism.
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was first released as an e-book and print-on-demand paperback in May 2011 by The Writers' Coffee Shop, an Australian virtual publisher.
James went on to self-publish the book on Kindle Direct Publishing, a self-publishing business run by Amazon with e-books being sold for reading on Kindles. It was a strategy that worked – readers that might have been embarrassed to be seen with a ‘racy’ novel, bought it online and read it electronically.
Paperback versions of the book only hit the shelves in April after the ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy was the subject of a bidding war and James signed a seven-figure deal with Vintage books, part of Random House.
The novel remains more popular as e-book than a hard copy; the Kindle edition of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is currently outselling the print book at a rate of more than two to one.
Website Celebrity Net Worth (CNW) has reported that James is now earning £850,000 a week in royalties with combined total worldwide sales of the ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy now around the £20million mark.
James has also been paid $5million (£3.2million) from Universal/Focus Features for the film rights to the ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy.
Not the only success
Another well-known self-publisher is Amanda Hocking - who wrote 17 paranormal novels, including ‘My Blood Approves’ and ‘Hollowland’, that were all rejected by publishers. So, in spring 2010 she began to self-publish them as e-books. Less than a year later she’d sold well over a million copies and earned around $2million (£1.3million).
šokirana, da so vseeno take cifre, glede na to da je tolk piratstva... damn...