A tiny Yorkshire publishing house made waves when it announced plans to print a 'biography' of Christian Grey. Then came the scary threats from some bigshot lawyers. Tamsin Rutter explains what happened next
He instructed his wife to buy a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and desperately leaf through it on the train down to London while texting a plot summary to one of the company's authors, who fired off the first three chapters of The Secret Life of Christian Grey in an afternoon. Meanwhile, Duffy started trying to cobble together enough cash to print the hundreds of thousands of copies needed to quench the world's desire for Grey-related fiction.
And, he said: "For a week I nearly became a millionaire." But alas, Bluemoose Books soon fell off the "erotica" bandwagon they had only just jumped on to, after a terse phone call from James's New York and London-based publishers, Random House, whose corporate lawyers were bandying about the term "copyright infringement". They quickly dropped the idea.
Though unsuccessful, the almost-attempt at cashing in on James's success is testament to the erotic furore which gripped the nation at the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey, itself a product of fan fiction of the Twilight series. Publishers must believe there's still a market out there yearning for sex novels women don't have to hide on the train. But it seems only the biggest publishers can cash in on it.