Friday, 6 July 2012

The Voodoo Analysis: Fifty Shades of Marketing Explicit Content to the wrong audience...

Don't be fooled by the groupies, the wannabes, and the fans of Regency romance. 'That book/trilogy' is nothing more than a pervert's handbook, with a creep's sob-story in the middle and a Cinderella ending tacked on, written by someone who started out using another author's work on a public website where that author's work was revered - by its underage audience. Underage, for the new adult content being written. In itself, this would raise enough questions about the new writer themselves, of the sort that the police dealing with cases of internet grooming and exploitation face every day.

There are laws against that sort of advertising, which come under Obscene Content and Indecent Displays. And yet this 'marketing tactic' is still being perpetuated by the author and the publishers, in the public eye, in all media.

The UK laws currently state that parents are responsible for what their children buy. However, parents have no control over how consumer content is marketed by the originators and distributors. The responsibility for that lies elsewhere. The Obscene Content and Indecent Display laws apply to all publications, and state that these are matters where the Police have enforcement powers and the Courts decide whether or not a law is being broken.

The author and publishers of adult books with 'explicit content', referring consistently in every article and interview to the author's past as an anonymous writer - on a popular fan-fiction site - who included scenes of a graphic and instructional nature in her interpretation of a high-profile contemporary children's series, are marketing their books by inferring an ongoing connection with the original books, to that same impressionable audience. Only this month, an article by that author herself detailing her fan-fiction background - and suggesting that others could do the same to start a writing career, without warning that younger readers use the same website on which she posted scenes of BDSM - appears in Woman and Home magazine.

The UK laws and governance are already having to review regularly to keep up with new media. But while we can apparently have a watershed on hip-hop videos containing beads of sweat, so far nobody is putting the brakes on an author and publisher's tactic of selling very adult books by associating them with a famous young audience franchise.

Wake up and smell the blood. What the book describes is a girl being groomed in the same way some of our most recent court cases have detailed, and calling it a 'romance'. At the end of the third book, it revisits the first meeting from the man's point-of-view, revealing that he is indeed a single-minded serial predator who routinely stalks his targets - and we're still meant to think we're reading a romantic novel?

Having had to analyse the books for another unrelated issue, I'm not falling for that set of old tricks... and neither should any young impressionable readers.

For parents concerned about the marketing of inappropriate content to minors in the UK - look up 'VAWG' (inter-ministerial group on violence against women and girls) and The Bailey Review (see also The Mothers' Union) in the government department for education.

For advice on general child safety online, including cyber-bullying, see the UK Council for Child Internet Safety document here:

For inappropriate advertising in or by any media, see the Advertising Standards Agency, on methods of reporting a concern (by phone, post or online):

Book chart sales in the supermarket that put you off your food - never mind books...

Anyway - if you're wondering how I came to be so analytical all of a sudden, here's my reason...

I'm sure there's bigger fish interested in the same issues - and they're welcome to it. I wouldn't want anything to do with profits from thinly-disguised YA fan-grooming porn.

Least of all, any of my writing appearing in it. So you can imagine what a relief it is to know that it's all just 'coincidental' according to them...

Rant over, folks...

L xxxxxxxxx