The background of Fifty Shades of Grey is really interesting and could be surprising for a few fans of this book. Initially, the trilogy of Fifty Shades was meant to be a tribute to Twilight book series written by Stephenie Meyer. The story was initially called Master of the Universe and the characters where named Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. The story was published on fan fiction websites, but some readers on the website criticized the sexual nature of the story. This caused the writer, E.L. James, to pull the story from these websites and publish it on her own website called FiftyShades.com.
However, James decided to re-write the story as an original one and changed the names of the original characters to Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Before she could publish the re-written original story, she pulled it off from her website. The story was divided into three parts, with the first one entitled Fifty Shades of Grey, the second Fifty Shades Darker and the last Fifty Shades Freed.
Fifty Shades of Grey was published in May 2011 by a virtual publisher, The Writers’ Coffee Shop. With a small marketing budget, The Writers’ Coffee Shop relied mostly on blogs to give publicity to the book. However, the book became quite popular and its sales increased because of word of mouth recommendation.
The book has been called Mommy Porn, as it is believed that the fans of Fifty Shades of Grey are mostly married women, who are more than thirty, who loved the eroticism highlighted in the book. However, the book also has a fan base among college-going women and teenage girls. By the time the last volume of the book was released, Fifty Shades was been cited as an excellent example of viral marketing. It was also being touted as an example to show how popular female erotica had become which was being attributed to e-reading devices, which allowed women to read erotica discretely. Because the trilogy had generated so much news, Vintage Book bought the license for the books and re-released them in April 2012. By August 2012, Amazon UK made an announcement that more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey were sold than the whole Harry Potter series, making E.L. James the bestselling author on Amazon UK. Even in the US, Fifty Shades of Grey fared very well. It dominated the USA Today’s bestselling books list for 20 consecutive weeks, which was a record. The previous bestselling book that dominated the list was In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah’s Favorite Recipes penned by Rosie Daley. This book stayed number one for 16 weeks.