Fifty Shades of Grey, the erotic trilogy that's been at the top of best-seller lists for weeks and months, it's all so blurry now, even outpacing sales of Harry Potter, may change publishing forever. For one thing, there's the fact that it started as Twilight fan fiction. For two, it was self-published, only catching the eyes of publishing industry folks once it started selling digital copies like virtual hotcakes. And for three, there's that whole related licensing deal, by which fans will soon be able to buy sheets, fragrance, apparel, and any number of other Fifty Shades-branded accoutrement.
Now there's another notch in the Fifty Shades power belt (hardware metaphor? BDSM metaphor? You pick!): Niall Leonard, husband of the trilogy's author E.L. James (real name: Erika Leonard), has his own book deal, reports Benedicte Page of The Bookseller.
Mr. Leonard is a TV screenwriter with actual TV writing credits, so though it's tempting, we can't jealously pass off his book deal luck on his famous spouse, even if she does hold the publishing world in her thrall at the moment. In a three-book deal, Random House Children's Publishing has bought world rights to the book, Crusher, which is not BDSM for teens, thank goodness. It's a Y.A. thriller about a 17-year-old school dropout who discovers his stepfather murdered and then becomes the main suspect (and, we'd guess, has to solve the crime on his own). It's out in September, with Leonard already being called "a fantastic new voice for teenagers."
And, not to rub it in, but... He wrote the book in just a month, inspired by National Novel Writing Month last November, and had initially been planning to self-publish. His recommendation to writers: Start writing, and finish it:
Leonard said: "Crusher is a story I have wanted to write for years and it finally all came together last November when my wife encouraged me to take part in the Nanowrimo novel-writing event. I am thrilled and delighted that RHCP have picked up Crusher for publication, and it's a fantastic honour to join the distinguished names on their writers' list."
Stay tuned: Unlike Fifty Shades, this book is expected to have crossover potential. If his wife is any indication, Mr. Leonard is also expected to get more Twitter followers soon. Ah, to be a fly on the wall at that dinner table.