E.L. James Launches a Twitter Q&A, and it Goes Exactly how You’d Expect


Let me first say that I have no reason to criticize her. She’s made a career out of writing. One which you and I would both trade for in a heartbeat if we could. Don’t sit there and shake your head because you know I’m right. I also have no reason to care about her writing style, the quality of her writing, or which genre she chooses to write in. Sure I’ve said I won’t ever read her books, but that has nothing to do with her in particular. I have no desire to read any erotic books. Just a preference.

Yesterday when I got home from work I just happened to check the Twitter trends, and before I could even read the top headline I already knew it would be bad. E.L. James has been read by tens of millions, right? But we’re all aware of the heavy criticism her books have received from the start. And we’re all aware that people are at times embarrassed to say they’ve liked or read her work. Which simply makes a Twitter Q&A a very bad idea. Here are some tweets she received.





I’ll admit that she did have some Twitter users come to her defense, but the ratio of people being critical to those who came to her defense was likely 10-, 50-, or maybe even 100-1. Honestly, it could have been even more. It was that bad. Someone somewhere made the decision for her to do this, and that person has probably lost their job.

What do you think of this Twitter Q&A debacle? I think it was a mistake to do it at all. Sure some of the tweets were entirely out of line, but EVERYONE knows the criticism she’s taken for her books. Who did her team think would take advantage of something like this?

On this day in 2014 I published The Bad Review.


36 thoughts on “E.L. James Launches a Twitter Q&A, and it Goes Exactly how You’d Expect

  1. My favorite was something along the lines of, “Do you ever experience writer’s block, and if so, could you just stick with that?”

    It was pretty brutal, but honestly, what did she expect? I have no reason to begrudge the woman either… I haven’t read her books. And yes, I’d totally give up my day job to make millions off book and movie deals. My only frustration is that it plants a deep seed of worry in my gut… what if my writing is too good to get published in today’s market? LOL

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think they thought she’d have a nice little time with those who have enjoyed her books, but that was flawed judgment from everyone around her. Eh. There are plenty of great storytellers writing today.


  2. I think she got a truckload of free publicity for future projects. Some of those tweets were definitely questionable, but it’s Twitter and while that’s not the best excuse in the world to use, it is what it is.


  3. Negative publicity is still publicity. I’m sure they were well aware that she’s got haters and expected to use that to gain press for what is likely to be another very poorly written book. I’ve read the series and she’s a terrible writer and a terrible story-teller, but she’s richer that I’ll ever be so good for her!


  4. I don’t see the point in taking a pop at her and loathe anyone being trolled – why does anyone have the right to be vile to her, just because they have access to the net? So she’s written something many people think is poor fiction – so what? She didn’t kill anyone or steal anything. I don’t like the BDSM theme of her fiction, but it’s obviously something that appeals to an awful lot of women (let’s face it, it is women). Leave the woman in peace and let’s all dream of having her career.


  5. As a fellow writer I am angry on her behalf. Whether you liked the books is no excuse to bully via Twitter. They published her books, they made one into a movie – if there are writer’s out here that don’t want to be published fine (I find that a little hard to believe, but ok). But to bash someone personally just because you don’t like their book or their genre of books is beyond rude and many other not so nice terms I could call it as well.

    I think honestly in this day and age, with the internet being as toll heavy as it is, it’s hard to be a writer of any kind, let alone one that writes about a topic different from the “norm”. She didn’t make the publishing market what it is today, but she certainly is benefiting from it – and I’m not going to begrudge her that in any way. We all have different writing styles/tastes/etc. I read her books, I for one enjoyed them. I will never fear to say I like a book. I also like The Great Gatsby and anything Jane Austen. One should never be afraid to say they like a book – cause there are enough people who don’t even read anything these days.

    So it sucks she had to be the brunt of all those lovely trolls, but such is the price of fame in the digital age. (And that’s a whole other kettle of fish, I could write an entire blog post about!)


    • I disagree. The vast majority of the tweets were about her writing. Sure they were being funny or rude or whatever, but most of the tweets I read were criticising her writing.


  6. For people who see this as cyber-bullying and trolling… are negative reviews on Amazon or Goodreads also cyber-bullying or trolling? Writers are fairly used to rejection and criticism. I’m betting E.L. James let the wave of responses roll off her… after all, she’s wearing the armor of her publishing contract. Personally, if my work had that strong of a negative response, I might look to what I can do to improve myself and my writing. After all, writers turn criticism into polished manuscripts. It’s our super power.


    • I don’t see it as cyber bullying when almost all if the tweets I read were about her writing. I personally didn’t see anyone go on a personal attack. But that isn’t to say it didn’t happen.


  7. Nice thoughtful blog post. As to the Twitter exchanges, I don’t think anyone, even E L James, wants to be criticised in that way, regardless of how many $$$ are rolling into her bank account. Some readers must enjoy her work. Guilty pleasure perhaps. C’est la vie.


    • I think the number of readers who enjoy her books is probably very similar to the number of readers who don’t. She’s as decisive as any author I’ve ever read about. And it’s because of her writing.


  8. I’m baffled by this. I haven’t read any of her books so I can’t really comment on her writing but she has obviously tapped into a market that was under-serviced and for that I say good for her. I think there is a somewhat elitist (although I hate that word) segment of literary society who disdain the author who gives the unwashed masses what they want, preferring to give the rabble the books that these disignaters of culture feel should be read to improve, challenge, and enlighten. They fail to understand that both can and should exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t like the message she sends in her books, nor do I like the graphic nature of her writing. And I have no plans to ever read her books. However, blatantly rude comments are never called for. The relative anonymity of the internet gives people boldness they’d never have in person. I do think this is cyber-bullying at it most visible. They’re not the same as reviews, as another commenter stated. Reviews are meant to be constructive and guide people into an opinion to read or avoid. Not that anybody actually follows those unwritten rules. It sickens me that people are this vicious, no matter who it’s aimed at.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I disagree. With just about everything you said. The vast majority of the tweets that I read were about her writing. No one would say that her books are off-limits. It doesn’t matter if they’re poking fun or being rude, they’re raising points that I think most people would say are valid…about her writing. I’m sure it happened, but I didn’t see anyone talking about her as a woman or her appearance or anything like that.


  10. Look I’d never read her books, but it’s no reason to go on abusing her online! But she should have seen this coming.
    she shouldn’t have done that Q&A. bad idea.


    • I saw most people criticizing her writing. I don’t consider that an attack. Her work is subject to criticism from anyone who wants to criticize. It’s the nature of being as well known and read as she is. But obviously there’s no reason for anyone to be malicious toward her.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. 50 Shades of Grey is a pretty irresponsible book, but I don’t think it was ever meant to represent a healthy relationship or….anything, really. I would challenge a critic to find any self-published erotica that represents a “healthy relationship” or at least any facsimile of reality. No one reading erotica wants “The Happy Husband and Wife Make Love, Then Cuddle.” Pretty much all of the major submarkets of erotica have some element of domination, violence, or taboo to them. Unfortunately for James, people have held up her book in particular as an example of “this is what GOOD relationships are!” when it was never meant to be that. It was simply fiction that was meant to stimulate fantasies people are normally too ashamed to admit they have.

    However, the fact that she hasn’t crawled into a hole of anonymity (as I would, if a book I wrote for a quick buck and didn’t put much effort into became a national laughingstock), and that she’s pushed to have her husband write the script for 50 Shades 2, makes me think she has no regrets. That’s about the only weird thing I find about her, to be honest. As I’ve learned from people who write dinosaur erotica, just because the author writes something doesn’t mean they’re into it themselves πŸ˜›


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