50 Shades of Grey and Harry Potter: What Do They Have in Common?

The following is a guest post by Parker Paige, author of Whitley & Austin, Where Truth and Fiction Meet.

With the success of "50 Shades of Grey," I was thinking about what "50 Shades of Grey" had in common with the "Harry Potter" series. Besides the fact that they are both sensations and sold millions and millions of copies, what else?


Where Truth and Fiction Meet

by Parker Paige
Then, miraculously, it hit me.

Let's say you're a book editor and you receive the Harry Potter book. You read it and at first glance you wonder what is the target audience for this book. You think about it, and you believe that the Harry Potter books will appeal to children who are interested in wizardry.

Then on another day, you receive a copy of "50 Shades of Grey," and you then determine that it will appeal to women who are interested in S and M. Of course, this is at first glance, because we all know by now that the Harry Potter series and the 50 Shades of Grey series has a much broader audience, broader than the Universe.

And that is exactly what they have in common. Though initially you might have thought that the target audience for these books would be small, ultimately, they both had the largest target audience EVER!

But how can that be?

Here it is...the fact that they both, at first glance, appeal to a small specific audience, is what sets them apart, making them original. And guess what? Original sells and it sells BIG!

This theory of mine comes off the heels of reading a fantastic book, "The Purple Cow" by Seth Godin. The author does a great job of explaining that in order to be remarkable, you need to design products, books included, for a particular niche. He said it best when he said: if you design a product for everyone, it will appeal to no one.

So my take away from this is this: if you want to write something original, something that might have a chance of getting the attention of the masses, create stories for a particular niche. At first glance, it may seem like your book will only interest a small group, and that may be true at first, but after the first group has told all of their friends, you very well might be on your way to making a lot of noise with your story.