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Judging a Book by its Cover- Fifty Shades of Grey

This is not Monday’s post. I repeat this is NOT Monday’s post. 🙂 But since I seem to analyze everything and we are looking at book covers and not judging them, I wanted to use “Fifty Shades of Grey” as an example. So here’s the cover…

Last week we looked at different things that makes a cover stand out. We looked at titles, photos, and different colors.

First I have a question; It is a well known fact that more men are color blind than women, so guys tell us, Does the color make a difference when you choose a book?

Okay let’s look at “Fifty Shades of Grey” Well the color is grey…or gray…

The photo is a man’s tie.

The title doesn’t tell us much.

There is no mention on the front cover that this is an erotica novel, heck it’s not even said that it’s a romance of any kind.

There’s no pictures of sexy men or women. So how do we know what this book is about? With a cover like this, it could be a story about a stockbroker doing shady business, or maybe a man running for president worrying about the grey areas in his past.

So if you had never heard of this book or this author, would the cover alone intrigue you to pick it up?

Turn it over and read the blurb…

“When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.”

Is there a hidden meaning of that blurb that I’m not seeing? To me it looks like a basic blurb on the back cover of any romance novel. It really doesn’t tell me it’s erotic. There isn’t really anything that jumps out at me to entice me to pick it up and read it. 

Oh wait there it is; 

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever. This book is intended for mature audiences. Sorry I missed that part 🙂

It’s been tagged as being “Mommy porn” Does that mean a guy wouldn’t enjoy it?

So tell me, If people are judging books by their covers, how did this get to be a best seller?

Word of mouth? Reviews? Or maybe the writer was just in the right place at the right time. 

And the reviews, well let’s just say the people are divided on this one. 

Reviews 4,172 — 1 star reviews

this is a link to a 1 star review
Then you have comments and replies to the 1 star reviews


And when I checked there were 5,246   5 star reviews

This is a 5 star review


And here are replies and comments to the 5 star reviews

There were 2, 3, and 4 star reviews also, but each of those came in somewhere between, 1,000 and 1,500 so my guess is you either loved it or hated it. Just black and white with barely any grey area in between.

Have you read the book? Did you pick it up based on the cover? Or just because people were talking about it?

I want to know! Let me hear your thoughts.

Also, I will be posting Monday’s post later tonight!


  1. Hi Emily! I kind of thought you’d be around here somewhere. Are you enjoying your day?


  2. Hi Karen

    I never even clicked on that book before precisely because of its cover….it has a cold and cruel feel to it…not the kind of book I’d be attracted to read. Thanks for informing me about its content.



    • Hi Melody
      I thought it was a good example. And just to let you know I thought the tie was grey striped until I clicked the link on amazon. lol And no I haven’t read it and don’t plan on it. Not because what it’s about I just don’t see all the hype.


  3. I haven’t read it either and I’m a writer of erotica. I really believe the author was in the right place at the right time.


    • Hi Kimmie
      Yeah that’s what I’m thinking, because from what I’ve heard it isn’t very well written, typos and grammatical errors. I don’t usually read romance but that’s what I write 🙂


    • So Kimmie are you ready for Monday’s post? I’m going to put it up now. I look forward to reading your blurb 🙂


  4. Hey Karen, I downloaded the sample because people were talking about it, not the book cover, but when I read it, I couldn’t see myself buying it. I just can’t read bad writing. No matter how popular it is.


    • Hi Sydney
      I never thought to read the sample. But I’m with you on the bad writing part. Typos to a certain extent are unavoidable, even I have them, but I have picked up one book in particular, that had so many typos on the first page alone, that I had to reread the page 4 or 5 times just to understand what the writer was trying to tell me, but on a good note, I have only come across one out of the 300+ that I have in my kindle, not that I’ve read them all yet, but just saying 🙂


  5. Judging E.L. James
    I don’t know E.L. James and I haven’t read any of the “50 Shades Of…” series, but I have read many of the reviews. I’ve read many positive reviews and many negative reviews.

    Through the negative reviews, I’ve been able to understand what the series is about.

    People who have given the negative reviews wonder how anyone could give a positive one.

    What I believe is this: E.L. James understands the mind-set of the reader who would enjoy such a topic. The repetitiveness, the exaggerated orgasms, and the stupidity of the “victim”.

    Seems the series is created to thrill those who would enjoy an abusive sexual relationship. It is not meant for the rational mind to enjoy, but the irrational mind – who enjoys humility and pain.

    This series is not for me, but I give the writer 5 stars for knowing how to reach the intended audience.



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