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Word of Mouth


Waverley by by IJY



I had promised myself that I wouldn’t write anything remotely about the…wait a minute…this is difficult…the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. However, since the low budget short movie, The Innocence of Muslims, has been discovered and gone viral on the internet I thought that I had to write a short piece. I don’t want to write about the quality
or content of 50 Shades of Grey since I haven’t bought or read the book. I don’t want to even write about the value of The Innocence of Muslims, which I have taken the time to watch (well, at least the trailer). Let’s face it – the trailer and movie are free to watch on YouTube, and I wanted to see what all of the hubbub was about. Yes, the hubbub made me want to watch The Innocence of Muslims. The phenomenon of the “word of mouth”
strategy has blown me away, and left me in awe and amazement with these two

The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy was at its height in fame and probably sales when my
debut novel, The Parallel World, hit the press. I was excited because a (once) self-published author was selling millions of books. This author’s success was my beacon of hope. The only regret that I had was that I didn’t write erotica because it was clearly the trend for 2012, or at least for a few months in 2012. I had heard off-the-cuff remarks
about the quality and prose of the book. I had assumed that they were made either by jealous colleagues (authors) or readers with an opinion because, as I understood it, this self-published author was picked up by a traditional publisher. But, the negativity continued to slip in here or there so I had decided to take a look on Amazon and read some of the reviews. I must state that as an author, I read reviews with a critical eye, and remember that the review is a person’s subjective opinion. Now, this may not seem fair, but I had decided to compare the 50 Shades of Grey, Book 1 with Book 1 of The Hunger Games. These books have profited tremendously well in the past year alone. Now, here are the results:

Name of Book 1 2 3 4 5
The Hunger Games (Book 1) 268 208 422 1,345 6,633
50 Shades Of Grey 3,990 1,123 956 1,241 4,948


The ratio of 1 and 5 star reviews for The Hunger Games seems normal, and is not interesting. However, the polarizing reviews for 50 Shades of Grey are quite interesting.

Now, for something that I’ve actually watched, and can comment on personally (but won’t): The Innocence of Muslims. I wasn’t going to watch this short movie, but with the advent of protests and even killings because of the movie I wanted to answer some questions that I had, such as what would incite a group of people so much that they would kill another living soul? Religion is complex, and I’m not going to get into it in
this post. But, it was an important question for me. As stated earlier, I watched one of the 13 minute trailers, and therefore contributed to the 10 million + views that the trailer has gathered. This one trailer alone has garnered over 65,000 dislikes. Moreover, 796,448 people have taken more than one hour of their precious time and viewed the entire movie. Approximately, 6, 601 out of the 796,448 people disliked the movie.  The
increasing amount of protests around the world has pulled this unknown and obviously low budget project out of obscurity.

I can’t attest for the quality of content for either 50 Shades of Grey or The Innocence of
but I can state, with awe, that by watching how both projects have gone beyond viral that word of mouth is still one of the most valuable marketing tools available today.



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