Let's review, shall we? E.L. James or, as friends call her, Erika Leonard is not a prose stylist. Her work did not have the publicity machine of a major publishing house behind it. Her story was originally fan fiction; in other words, she openly lifted the characters and basic premise from another series (Twilight). It's not a book one could read in polite company. But the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy sent tremors through the publishing world, became the talk of its mostly female readers, spawned dozens of copycats, brought S&M sexual practices into the mainstream and got her a movie deal. Oh, and it sold. It's hard to argue with 31 million book sales.