How We Might Turn Unoriginality To Our Advantage

Nearly two years ago I noted that every other book cover I saw looked like Twilight and wondered about an originality/unoriginality arms race.

Reporting from the front lines in pop culture, I’d like to report that now a lot of book covers look like “50 Shades of Gray,” so I think unoriginality is winning.

When you think about it, there is doubtlessly a lot of 50-Shades derived books out there.  50 Shades is hot and hip right now, so there’s going to be attempts to jump into the market.  Sure all the covers look alike, but some of this is probably selling anyway.  Even though I am thrilled to see fanfic become fic , the story itself disturbs me.

Kind of makes me wonder how many stories wouldn’t be noticed, got made just for this, or were revived to take advantage of the new 50 Shades related craze.

So this got me thinking for all my writing and media friends.

We know that there’s plenty of problems with media originality.  It gets talked about a lot here at Fan To Pro.  Well, ranted about, as we do since many of us are authors.

We know that media goes in cycles, ones that are often big, obvious, and kind of blatant.  Twilight created one, 50 Shades another, but we know this goes back to the days of Star Wars and all it’s obvious ripoffs.

So instead of giving up on your great idea, or avoiding trends, why not embrace it and see what works you have work with current trends?

Any good author or artist has all sorts of ideas, potential projects, half-finished works, and more.  You could try and time their release or development of one of your works to jump on the existing trends.

Yes, there’s the danger of looking derivative, or unoriginal, or getting ignored.  But if you’re going to go with some of the big publishers, you’re facing enough challenges as it is.  Being seen as unoriginal by some, getting a smaller part of a larger market share, etc. aren’t the worst risks you can face.

So, if we’re gonna be in this cycle of unoriginality for awhile, maybe we media procures can take advantage of it.

Worse things could happen.  If nothing else maybe the book covers will all look the same differently . . .

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at