This morning I was doing my usual perusing of Reddit and came across a link on /r/DepthHub about how Fifty Shades of Grey went from the Twilight fan fiction community to a best-selling novel and movie deal.
While it's widely known that FSOG started as fan fiction, what's not particularly well understood is how it made the leap from online message board posts to a publishing best seller. User Hurricangst helps to connect the dots.
Of particular note is that the fan fiction community surrounding Twilight created an "Alternate Universe" ("AU" as referenced in the post) that was largely devoid of anything from Stephenie Meyer's books besides passing references or character names.
The lengthy (by Reddit standards) history does a good job of showing how EL James was able to take popular elements from other fan fiction works along with her own marketing prowess and generate a lot of support and interest in her work.
Even if the result was a rather dubious work of emotional manipulation and abuse masquerading as a novel about a BDSM relationship, the origin of this popular novel from the quiet online community of Twilight fan fiction is an odd and interesting history.