Hot and Heavy for the Next 'Fifty Shades'
Self-published fan fiction sells out as the majors move to gobble up the book industry's new power players.
Call it the Fifty Shades effect. The hottest genre in the book world is self-published fan fiction -- original stories based on existing characters, typically traded online for free. Thanks to the steamy E.L. James trilogy, which began as Twilight fanfic before becoming a successful e-book and now a 20 million-selling worldwide sensation, publishers are racing to secure the next hot titles. Berkley Books in July paid a "substantial seven-figure" sum to acquire Gabriel's Inferno, a Twilight fanfic novel by an anonymous author with the pen name Sylvain Reynard. Originally released on Twilighted.net, a fan site, a reworked version was published in April 2011 by Omnific, a small e-book publisher started by Twilighted founder Elizabeth Harper. (Early editions of Fifty Shades thanked "S.R. … for going first.") Inferno sold only 4,000 copies before Fifty Shades exploded in March. Sales jumped to 10,000 that month and 60,000 in July.
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