How did these 3 FAMOUS Fiction Books use SCIENTIFICALLY-PROVEN, TIMELESS IDEAS to make the authors MILLIONAIRES?

Fifty Shades of Grey

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Harry Potter

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How did these 3 FAMOUS Fiction Books use SCIENTIFICALLY-PROVEN, TIMELESS IDEAS to make the authors MILLIONAIRES?

These 3 famous fiction books are likely names you’ve heard because of their incredibly immense readership and the huge media following they’ve acquired.

I’m not a fan of the romance genre, but I read these three books/sagas that include romance because:

  • they were ridiculously popular 
  • they gained a massive international audience 
  • persuaded mainstream media to talk about them for weeks/months/years  
  • and filled the author’s coffers with enough cash to save a small nation(s)

But why were these books/sagas sufficient to easily have the authors own a fleet of luxury yachts?

It’s easy for us to say:

  • right time
  • right place
  • luck
  • great marketing budget
  • great salesperson

…But when we delve deeper, there are profound reasons why each of these titles managed to win their mass following.

Science in the form of psychology can unveil the timeless truths within the human mind, utilised by the authors to persuade us to turn out our pockets at the till.

Though these particular books mainly hook a female audience, their vast popularity will make men curious too. 

So, reviewing the attraction within the prose, I ask WHY?

Why did these titles make the authors a small fortune?

*** This blog assumes you’ve read or at least know about these books and their story-lines! ***


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1. How much MONEY was made?

Before the movie adaptation, author of Fifty Shades of Grey E L James was forecast at an estimated Net Worth of $58 million; largely down to her attention-grabbing, erotic book.

The first in a series of three, this particular chapter in the saga made intense noise as it spilled out of the publication machine.

The combined novels in the series have sold over 125 million copies worldwide and broken the record in the UK as the fastest selling paperback of ALL TIME.

Time Magazine named author E L James one of The World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012.

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2. Was the book GOOD or BAD?

Only in our insane times where horror films are coming into reality on the News; where it’s no longer a surprise to hear about a man eating another man’s face on the highway, or where men sire children by their daughters, imprisoned in a secret part of their house; only in these mad times would it be possible for a book to be so popular, make so much money, and be so disgraced by critics  simultaneously.

I’m strongly resigned to the great teaching ‘to not let any unwholesome talk leave my mouth,’ however, in light of honest review about this book, I must say my piece…and apologies in advance.

Fifty Shades is the most challenging book of the three titles in this list.

Challenging in the sense that I had to hold down my breakfast, lunch, and dinner—whatever food was in my stomach—each time I delved in.

I possess severe distaste for everything this book(s) stand(s) for.

Contracting and holding my stomach muscles tight as I read page after page, the narrator/protagonist’s voice tore chunks out of my soul – my very hope in humanity was killed as I had to accept the truth.

A lot of people love this material.

Absolutely love it.

And it’s made a lot of money.

Although the series of books don’t intend to promote S&M as a way of life, the reception from its audience is the intimidating problem.

As an author, many including myself believe in a responsibility to readers.

It’s easy to throw pornography out there – we know it will attract audiences and sell. But, is this the contribution an author wants to make to society?

I would say this book was BAD, but…

…To list the good points about Fifty Shades of Grey is simply to congratulate the author on making the millions she did off the book.


Well done on the marketing.

You did a fantastic job of taking the dark, concealed lusts off a wounded, deceived humanity and making them public; your audience followed like calves to the butcher shop, making couples’ sexual activity more diverse – to some more exciting, to others increasingly sordid.

Husbands and boyfriends down at their local boozers were declaring how pleased they were that their wife, girlfriend(s), or mistress had read Fifty Shades of Grey; how much it had improved their extracurricular activities…

Overall, I felt the book was BAD.

The prose read in a very immature manner – if this was purposeful due to the character’s immaturity, it did not translate as intentional.

Rather, it felt like incomplete work.

When I discovered that this novel commenced as fan fiction for Twilight, I’d received my answers as to why the book seemed ‘fragmented.’

The character Christian Grey read like he was a vampire! And I couldn’t shake the perception that in moving this plot to the human world, the author’s descriptions of Christian were still sloppily stuck in the vampire realm.

But this is not about my opinion.

This is about WHY these books have so much appeal…so although I think this book is TERRIBLE, let’s move to the SCIENCE of why this book made millions.

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3. What’s the SCIENCE behind why this character and plot draws book-buyers?

PORNOGRAPHY is defined as ‘writings, pictures, films etc. designed to stimulate sexual excitement.’

Whether the author designed the book to stimulate sexual excitement is debatable, but what we certainly know is it accomplished this.

The book’s protagonist Anastasia Steele is an immature virgin girl on the cusp of discovering herself.

Through this virgin girl–whose background sets her up to be the perfect character for readers to affiliate with–we saw an overnight book sensation and a lot of money made.

Point No. 1

Ana has unstable parenting – she has a biological father who died shortly after her birth and a mother who journeys through marriage after marriage.

Ana is insecure and despite what appearances may say, many of us our unstable about our identities today.

The science in this fact is that readers want a character they can identify with – many of us now come from broken homes.

We have divorced parents, single-parent abodes, we’re fatherless, motherless. Sometimes orphaned.

It’s become the standard to have a fractured origin.

Ana allows female readers a place of understanding and sanctuary; she is the modern girl.

Point no. 2

The author grabbed onto a hidden truth—or deception depending on how you look at it—within women’s minds.

This is where you–the person reading this blog–decide on the following questions as you read on:

Does morality clash with money-making in what E L James published?

Authorial responsibility vs business sense?

Is the author taking advantage of western society?

Or innocently seizing upon a money-making opportunity?

Read the subsequent points from a relationship expert, a psychology blogger, and finally a psychologist.

Through their perceptions, we can understand why this book made the awesome amount of money it did.

– Esther Perel, relationships expert and international bestselling author of Mating in Captivity said the following:

“50 Shades of Grey reveals the inner workings of the erotic minds of women. The book helped many women reconnect with their erotic selves but more importantly, it helped them accept the intricacy of their erotic desires and the paradoxes of their fantasies, because the story gave them permission to see their fantasies as normal.”

“Well, here’s what these fantasies reveal about women’s sexuality: In a woman’s fantasy of forced seduction, she is never truly hurt—the hurt is only there in the interest of the pleasure. But more importantly, when (in this sexual scenario) the man makes all the decisions for her and tells her what to do, he is actually liberating her from the biggest erotic block women have—the burden of caretaking.”

Now, I have to be clear.

This view makes me ill.


Because the science of human psychology has been twisted, warped, manipulated, and perverted to create this.

Esther may well be right about the existence of this fantasy in the female mind, but it’s something that has been planted from the outside over time and is by no means normal.

It’s taking the traditional male role as ‘protector and provider’ and mutating it into ‘abuser and controller.’

Frankly, women can do much better than a guy hurting them – much better.

There are still decent men out there who believe in serving their wives or girlfriends with honour and respect.

But, that’s my opinion.

The main fact is, this book has made suitcases of cash off a hidden fantasy, demonstrated by the popularity of the books.

– Rita Watson, relationship journalist and Psychology Today blogger said:

“From scientifically collected data, it has long been noted that women’s sexual appetites are manifest just as men’s and have been for years. Although women have long had a quiet interest in pornography, 50 Shades of Grey has brought the topic into book clubs, and onto Saturday Night Live and the big screen. Soft porn is an easy way to peak women’s imagination and desire for exotic sexual lives.”

“And is anyone with small children wondering why this book has been dubbed ‘mommy porn’? It is a titillating experience for mothers too exhausted for the touch that translates into sex, and it is a vivid and visual portrayal for all women harbouring secret BDSM fantasies.”

Rita’s perception supports Esther’s; that this fantasy for women was concealed for years, waiting for the right author to excavate it like gold nuggets in a mine.

The world is in no doubt that when E L James achieved her Indiana Jones Temple of Doom discovery, she had struck oil.

However, perhaps the wisest perception comes from Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D. a Clinical Psychologist and Director of Training and Development for the Hardiness Institute, Inc., Irvine, California:

“What troubles me most about Fifty Shades of Grey is the pathological character of its hero and heroine, and E L James’ immature prototype of gender relations (sadomasochism). I’ve treated many women like Ana Steele throughout the years, and they rarely leave such relationships mentally and physically unharmed. In fact, most of them are so emotionally wounded that they are unable to trust that healthy love can exist.”

“All that being said, the extraordinary public appeal of the complex, sadomasochistic relationship between Grey and Steele may be more a subconscious expression of culture’s anxiety about women’s sexual and social freedom than it is a romantic tale of a woman’s exploration of sexual desire. The fantasy of being controlled and dominated by a man suggests, at the least, women still have strong psychological conflicts around freedom and domination.”

Deborah expresses the danger; yes E L James made a lot of money and that’s what this blog is about, but she’s taken abuse and trauma and paraded it as a potential norm.

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4. MAIN POINTS that made this author a MILLIONAIRE

  • Fifty Shades is pornography and pornography will always sell
  • It’s a young female protagonist who isn’t overly attractive and very insecure – many will feel they can identify with her psychologically 
  • According to the book’s popularity and scientific research about the minds of women, these sexual fantasies have been lying dormant in western society for some time. The author had a huge audience waiting  
  • The timeless idea = husband figure as ‘protector and provider.’ The author has flipped this concept. Husband is now ‘abuser and controller’ – an accepted perception in western society


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1. How much MONEY was made?

We have already seen that a book doesn’t have to be well-written to make an author millions.

If you don’t believe this, please feel free to Google the abundance of Fifty Shades critiques. It’s a really ugly scene…

It’s easy to declare this excessive ‘panning’ as jealousy, but when you’re an English Literature Major and you know what good writing looks like, a line must be drawn between subjectivity and objectivity.

Main point –



Moving onto the vampire saga that stormed the world.

The Twilight romance series by Stephanie Meyer sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

Across 2008 and 2009, she was the biggest selling author and listed in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ in 2008.

In 2009, the Forbes list of the ‘100 World’s Most Powerful Celebrities,’ entered Meyer in at #26.

Meyer possesses an estimated net worth of $125 million.

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2. Was the book GOOD or BAD?

Overall, I believe the Twilight books are GOOD.

As a male reader–once I surpassed all the gushy descriptions of a teenage girl’s mind–I found a well-designed plot and characters.

One of the innovative aspects I admired, was that author Meyer made vampires her own.

Not ignoring the obvious connotations of vampires to sex–which has a subconscious appeal to readers–Meyer created a new dynamic where sunlight didn’t see the creatures of the night burst into flames; rather, vampires shone like diamonds.

Elements like this contributed to the romantic theme of the book, while cleverly giving vampires a new dynamic that belonged to Meyer.

It was this kind of novelty throughout the series of books that made both characters and plot compelling, but what are the SCIENCE and TIMELESS IDEAS that drew her incredible fan base?

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3. What’s the SCIENCE behind why this character and plot draws book-buyers?

Bella Swan is a similar archetype to Anastasia Steele of Fifty Shades, so all the identity issues apply, making for a character that readers can easily affiliate with.

Getting straight into the psychology that burrows into the brains and hypnotises book-buyers…

Point no.1

– Wind Goodfriend, Ph.D. is a social psychologist at Buena Vista University, with research expertise on stereotypes and on romantic relationships. She said:

“…Bella, the main female character, displays…characteristics common in victims of violent relationships…[the] most obvious trait is her consistent low self-esteem. Bella constantly reminds herself that she’s uncoordinated, unsocial, and unattractive. When Edward shows interest in her, Bella’s low self-esteem puts him in a position of power over her; he can treat her however he’d like, because she perceives that he’s out of her league and is lucky to be the dirt on the bottom of his shoe (or the blood on the bottom of his fangs, I guess).”

Talking to girls and women who love Twilight, they adore the idea of being rescued and Bella’s character falls into that fantasy; the frightening part is, the fantasy of rescue and protection CLEARLY borders on kidnap and entrapment.

“Now let’s take a look at the male “love” interest. Edward also displays many stereotypical characteristics of abusers….one of his hallmark characteristics is his control over Bella and his attempts to isolate her from others. Abusers often use this tactic as a way of ensuring that their victims have no way to escape should they attempt to do so. After he decides that he wants her, he’s quick to get her alone, and for the rest of the series he constantly shields her from any other interactions, including from her father and friends. Edward consistently forbids her from seeing Jacob (a potential rival), and he even sabotages her car so that she has no avenue of escape. Not my idea of romance.”

Fans reading the book are cloaked by the supernatural and fantasy elements, that they fail to see the obvious here!

This is not romance…our world view has evidently been infiltrated because this story was so popular among female readers.

“Finally, a classic warning sign of partner volatility is high levels of jealousy or possessiveness. When Bella learns that Edward was only in Port Angeles (in the first movie) because he followed her there, she was appreciative for being saved from attack by random dudes, but does not seem to notice that it is stalking behaviour. Edward continues to treat Bella in ways that mark him as a jealous, potentially violent predator.”

Social psychologist Wind is revealing that Twilight is a warped version of the husband-wife dynamic, but our society accepts this as the norm.

Our damaged people are driven by material that confirms their deepest wounds are true – there is no such thing as the ‘honourable good man’ anymore.

Rather, a girl has to find a bad boy–like a fixer-upper–and persuade her ‘captor’ that he is in fact good.

The woman is the protector, saving the man from himself, but also giving her a sense of control.

Meyer had a fully ‘captive audience’ in our broken society, waiting for her books – pun intended.

Point no.2

On Psychology Today, Gina Barreca, Ph.D—a professor of English at UConn—wrote that the five major reasons ‘A Smart Young Woman Adores Twilight’ is because:

1. “It is anything but realistic. Reading Twilight, I think of it as an alternate reality that I am a part of in some way or another; and Meyer includes enough specifics and details to make our image of that reality three-dimensional and vivid…”

2. “Suspense. Since it is after all a vampire story, we for once don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.”

3. “One reason why I was so invested in the characters is because I, like every other reader, identified with Bella.”

The following point is Gina’s winning reason for why female audience’s were driven in droves to each book in the series and why it made millions:

4. “Edward. It would be impossible to discuss the obsession with Twilight without addressing the pivotal character of Edward. The obvious explanation for the obsession as that all these girls are in love with this boy–myself included. Why? Besides the danger aspect (bloodsucking, death, eternal condemnation, and so forth), the best reason I can come up with after many months of thinking about this is that he exists solely for the needs and desires of Bella (i.e. the reader).”

5. “Finally, it is very easy to see the Twilight-obsessed girls as a kind of cult. And, indeed, that’s a bit what it felt like when I first started reading. I was welcomed in with a “Isn’t he great?”

Everything about Twilight plays to selfish, egocentric delight.

I don’t mean this as an offence, calling readers selfish or egocentric, but it does feed the ‘me me me’ generation.

It’s all about Bella and therefore all about the reader, hence why Gina’s fourth reason is most significant.

Add to this that it is actually two fellas seeking her affections–Edward and Jacob–and female readers have a grand banquet of prideful indulgence.

The reader has all the attention on them; the world revolves around them, and when they leave the prose of the addictive fantasy, they have a colossal group of fans to buddy with like a ‘cult’ (reason no.5).

It’s a winning formula for successful books and a great deal of money.

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4. MAIN POINTS that made this author a MILLIONAIRE

  • Easily identifiable protagonist in Bella Swan
  • Vampires are popular because of their association with sex – we now live in a sex crazed culture – an easy sell
  • Two lovers for the female protagonist? This is bliss for the female reader who is in Bella Swan’s shoes – all that attention – perfect fantasy for women
  • Society has subtly fallen prey to the belief that the bad boy is better – this goes for both the men playing the part and the women who are seduced by them. Again an easy selling point. The female protagonist tames the would-be bad boy character. The female character is now the husband role of ‘protector’ and the male is being protected
  • Female character is subtly in control of everything – what ‘independent contemporary woman’ wouldn’t want that? 


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1. How much MONEY was made?

Of the entire seven book-saga, 450 millions copies have been sold as of Nov 2016…

…this has generated an estimated $7.7. billion.

This on top of J K Rowling’s numerous decorations says everything that needs to be said…

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2. Was the book GOOD or BAD?

There’s no doubt; the Harry Potter series is GOOD.

As the books progressed, the writing style improved, providing deeper plot and well-constructed character psychologies.

It’s a classic story of good vs evil—always a selling point—and it’s executed well with the lead character going from a dismal existence to becoming a famous celebrity overnight.

As already mentioned, the lead character is often who audiences attach to so in reading the books, we journey with Harry and become him, though others will find their kindred spirits in alternative protagonists.

Critiques have certainly attacked the author’s writing skills, but she’s accomplished critical acclaim alongside attracting delivery lorries full of cash to her huge mansion.

Additionally, one can’t help but sympathise and empathise with J K Rowling’s humble beginnings as an author – also a winning selling point.

The author like her protagonist Harry has an ‘underdog story.’

But, what scientific, timeless means did this author employ to broadcast a set of books that now have their own theme park?

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3. What’s the SCIENCE behind why this character and plot draws book-buyers?

For this book, I’m picking up on one massive theme that kept the audiences returning…and I’m not talking about the magic.

The profound concept of depression, isolation, anxiety, fears, pains, and the power to overcome all of this through love and healthy relationships with friends and family; this is a timeless truth about humanity and the underlying device that powered Harry Potter.

It is very rare that people get to live and embrace healing from pain through this healthy dimension. We’re more likely to turn to weekend partying, drinking, drugs, promiscuity, and any other temporary fix to numb the pain.

So when we read a book with its exciting, supernatural fantasy world that deals with a real life, rife problem of the world, we thoroughly enjoy the success Harry experiences in bringing himself out of his hellish existence.

Janina Scarlet, Ph.D is a clinical psychologist at the Centre for Stress and Anxiety Management said:

“None of us are immune to the effects of grief, only some of us might choose to process it, while others might choose to suppress it. Being a psychologist who specialises in depression and trauma, I know how important it is to experience and process our painful emotions and how toxic they might become if we do not.”

“It’s helpful when we can be around friends or family who can support us during a difficult time. Sometimes, we might also need to understand our grief on a deeper level in order to process it better. This is where therapy can help. In addition, connecting with real life people or fictional characters who have also experienced loss, can help us better understand our own feelings and can potentially help us build a foundation for recovery.”

“As Professor Dumbledore from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry once said: “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.””

“He also mentioned: “This pain is part of being human … the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength” and I agree with that completely.”

The idea that these books are about overcoming severely traumatic thoughts and emotions is very close to the author’s own arduous life; she has already declared in interviews that writing the books was therapy for her, allowing an escape from her own challenging existence.

Reading the series does exactly that for the audience, who get to enjoy the cure of healthy relationships within the friendships and family Harry has.

In this, we find something very important about what the author has done.

She has been true to herself and about an affliction that is affecting the entire world – DEPRESSION.

We know the creatures in her book–the Dementors–are iconic of this, sucking the happiness out of their victims.

Even though there are some that wound find the ideas of witchcraft and wizardry devilish, looking past the magic, we see deeper themes of our reality summarised in these words:

We can overcome our darkest wounds through healthy relationships with people.

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4. MAIN POINTS that made this author a MILLIONAIRE

  • The author tackled a very real pain in our society – depression
  • Through the character, readers were able to experience real life relief of the darker emotions that hold us down
  •  The supernatural fantasy world was truly an escape – the fact that Harry went from worthless bug to godlike status in the first book is enjoyable.
  • We as readers get to relish his celebrity status and all the wonderful possibilities of the magical universe, after being trapped in a closet


Please review the main points again and let me know what you think! 


I stand by wanting to contribute something productive and progressive toward humanity in my books…not add to the problems of damaged and deceived psyches, so I implore you to look out for: 

The Paradise Induction…

It looks frightening, and yes it is too, but I hope it will educate…






  • Please contact me to let me know what you think – I’m always interested to hear your opinions

    • steven says:

      I believe that your harry potter one is on point….but a bit hollow because harry potter has countless other theme…HOWEVER i agree with every word of harry potter

      • Thanks Steven – in all clarity, Harry Potter is the one that bothers me the least with regard to the themes. It has a strong theme of good vs evil which I like to see. It’s the other two that disturb me with the messages they promote about our world today – they blue the lines between good and evil, right and wrong in subtle ways

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