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Rachel Udin
11-25-2013, 07:30 PM
I know the poor view of Chick Lit on this website, but I see it as humorous Women's fiction where the woman is trying to balance career and love, which is not the same as humorous Women's fiction.

Anyway, most of the PoC Chick Lit I see is either set in the US or is about a white woman going to a foreign country. A few are about "visiting" the country or having to live there (as someone white), but I've written something where the person is half from the US (Not sure of the race) and half from Korea, but appears more Korean than her sister.

She's now living full time in Korea making a career for herself.

Somehow I think my chances of getting it published especially with a few interlingual jokes (I do explain them) is pretty low on the bar.... even lower than the historical fantasy I have written.

wilchris
11-25-2013, 08:04 PM
I know the poor view of Chick Lit on this website, but I see it as humorous Women's fiction where the woman is trying to balance career and love, which is not the same as humorous Women's fiction.

Well. Pride and Prejudice was a brilliant satire of the Chick Lit of its day and the formula still hangs around!

How do you show your MC's mixed origin?

I ask as I'm in the final polishing stages of my first novel and my MC is half Thai, half British, but regards herself as totally British and along with fighting the forces of evil, her journey is acceptance of her cultural heritage.

slhuang
11-25-2013, 08:35 PM
I know the poor view of Chick Lit on this website

I don't think that's true. A few times I've seen someone make an offhand dig at chick lit or romance, and within seconds a mod was there slapping them down. I've never gotten the impression that genre snobs are welcome here.

Rachel, I'm not sure what you're asking -- whether your book is publishable? Whether people would be interested? I wouldn't automatically assume not just because you have cultural depth to it. :) I think that's a rather pessimistic view of humanity . . .

But then, I tend to think that (for instance) the movie industry is dead wrong about POC and female leads not being able to carry a film, and that such films would be successful if the studios would pull the stick out of their collective butt and start putting them out. Likewise, I think that good books with solid cultural depth will find an audience if people start writing them. So I wouldn't underestimate the "chick lit" audience as not wanting cultural explorations or interlingual jokes; my feeling is that that would be selling people short. (Of course, I could be dead wrong and it could be that mainstream humanity is just too institutionally racist to buy books or movies with main characters of color . . . but shit, we also can't start changing that unless we start writing them, right?)

It sounds like you're feeling a little bit of pessimistic self-pity before even querying. If I were you, I'd ignore what you know about racism in the world and start sending that shit out. You only need one agent to agree with you, and my impression is that agents are a lot more more progressive, on the whole, than movie studio executives. :D

Cyia
11-25-2013, 08:46 PM
I don't think there's a dislike for chick lit here so much as there are people warning writers off labeling their stories chick lit because so many agents and editors say there's no longer a market for it. The same story-types are being published, but under a different banner.

Rachel Udin
11-25-2013, 09:36 PM
I don't think there's a dislike for chick lit here so much as there are people warning writers off labeling their stories chick lit because so many agents and editors say there's no longer a market for it. The same story-types are being published, but under a different banner.

Yeah, but this seems to be this website's view only--I've not seen it elsewhere or from any particular agents, which is why I posted the whole I know about the policy/culture of the website. Mods have chased after me for using the term. =P It's a I know that you know that I know, but I'm using it anyway, because I don't care.

***

I am feeling quite pessimistic about trying to get such a book published. ^^ I don't see any books in this vein anywhere and I don't know any.

The character is half (Happa in the Korean slang), but previously was trying to pass and it goes over Korean Entertainment industry (Some of the darker issues of it, though I do love my K-dramas), which I know fairly well. (Plus I've taken acting classes before and I avoid the whole Korea fetish thing I've seen with some other people writing about living in Korea (but aren't Korean and have no clue about the culture). But that may be because I actually went to Korea, am Korean and lived there when I was younger...)

Korea is not well-written about. The majority of books follow the minority pathological porn model (borrowing the term). Korean war. How Korea is stuck with Japanese occupation. How Korean love suicide. How the country is filled with sad and poor people. (Which is what's getting imported.) Or the permanent immigrant story, where the characters are always immigrants. (What's getting published here) My instinct is to break that and write about issues that South Korea cares about within South Korea and is struggling to fix about itself.

And the majority of Chick Lit is set in contemporary US. There is PoC chick lit out there, but it has such a small market share... and even less is about living abroad. =P And I don't write about shoes, shopping or how the woman sleeps with ten men in the course of a month (especially in "challenge" mode *gag*--and not saying women can't do that, but it's the presentation of the story that bugs me and I do have an exact example of this for clarification, but it's a slight derail) like the stupid Hollywood movies.

I have so little faith in the publish-ability of this book. I know I'm shooting myself in the foot before I've started, but seeing no other books anything near to it makes it really difficult to believe it could get done.

Are there books out there that prove me wrong? Is there actually a book about a PoC woman that is growing up in a foreign country of which they are a part of? Or am I truly alone in wanting to do this? That's what's going through my head.

South Korea is the third largest consumer of imported books, IIRC, so at least I can say it has international appeal if I wrote it correctly. (As in it's already written.)

Cyia
11-25-2013, 11:41 PM
How old is your MC? Could you sell it as NA, rather than adult market chick lit or women's fiction? That might broaden your potential audience. Younger readers, and the market that caters to them, seem less restrictive and more open to different voices and perspectives.

Amadan
11-26-2013, 12:01 AM
Well. Pride and Prejudice was a brilliant satire of the Chick Lit of its day


No, no, that was Northanger Abbey.

Pride and Prejudice was snarky social commentary with obligatory HEA.

Rachel: You seem really determined to construct reasons why your novel is unpublishable based on external factors you can blame. Have you actually looked for "PoC Chick Lit set in another country"? I understand there is quite a bit by Chinese and Indian authors nowadays. Try Shashi Deshpande. But yes, the market for it here in the US is probably pretty small.

Medievalist
11-26-2013, 12:48 AM
Plus it's exceedingly difficult to shop a novel you haven't finished.

Old Hack
11-26-2013, 01:01 AM
I know the poor view of Chick Lit on this website

I'm not aware of there being either a general or specific dismissal of chick-lit at AW, but I would advise against using the term: it's outdated.

If you see anyone dismiss any genre on AW, please report the post. It crosses the RYFW line, and isn't acceptable.


I don't think there's a dislike for chick lit here so much as there are people warning writers off labeling their stories chick lit because so many agents and editors say there's no longer a market for it. The same story-types are being published, but under a different banner.

That's my experience too, Cyia.


Yeah, but this seems to be this website's view only--I've not seen it elsewhere or from any particular agents, which is why I posted the whole I know about the policy/culture of the website. Mods have chased after me for using the term. =P It's a I know that you know that I know, but I'm using it anyway, because I don't care.

Again, I'm not aware of this being part of the policy or culture of AW, and to be honest I'm bemused by your comments. But I am aware of the board policy of expecting members to take any criticisms they have of the mods to PM and not expressing them out in the open. You might want to bear that in mind.


I am feeling quite pessimistic about trying to get such a book published. ^^ I don't see any books in this vein anywhere and I don't know any.

You might not see any books in this vein because you've written something wonderfully fresh and new. Or it could be that publishers don't see a market for such subjects, or don't know how to market such subjects (the two are close but not identical).


And the majority of Chick Lit is set in contemporary US.

Tell that to Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell, Judy Astley, Talli Roland, Tess Stimpson, Jo-Jo Moyes, and the many other best-selling writers who work in this genre who aren't from the US and don't write about the US.


And I don't write about shoes, shopping or how the woman sleeps with ten men in the course of a month

This isn't really representative of chick-lit, past or present, and you're coming very close to being disrespectful towards those who write it with this dismissive stereotyping.


I have so little faith in the publish-ability of this book. I know I'm shooting myself in the foot before I've started, but seeing no other books anything near to it makes it really difficult to believe it could get done.

I don't think good books get roundly rejected because they feature storylines which haven't been done before. It does happen here or there, I assume: but if the books are good enough, it's almost certain that there will be publishers who are keen to bring them to market.


Are there books out there that prove me wrong? Is there actually a book about a PoC woman that is growing up in a foreign country of which they are a part of? Or am I truly alone in wanting to do this? That's what's going through my head.

I just read The Hope Factory, by Lavanya Sankaran (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hope-Factory-Lavanya-Sankaran/dp/0755327896/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385412893&sr=1-7): it was extraordinary. Might this book fit your criteria?


South Korea is the third largest consumer of imported books, IIRC, so at least I can say it has international appeal if I wrote it correctly. (As in it's already written.)

As I've said before, if a book is written well enough then it's going to be publishable, and will almost certainly find a publisher.

But please be careful: I've noticed a lot of issues with your grammar and phrasing in this one thread. If your book contains similar errors, they will count against you. Especially if those errors are as frequent as they are here. I understand absolutely that this is a message board, and some people don't write as carefully here as they might do in their work; and I don't intend to make you feel put on the spot or upset; I just wanted to alert you to a potential problem which is far more likely to let your work down than the subject-matter you've outlined here.

MacAllister
11-26-2013, 01:11 AM
Yeah, but this seems to be this website's view only--I've not seen it elsewhere or from any particular agents, which is why I posted the whole I know about the policy/culture of the website. Mods have chased after me for using the term. =P It's a I know that you know that I know, but I'm using it anyway, because I don't care.

***

Links, please? Because I call bullshit on pretty much everything in that paragraph.

And not to undermine Old Hack's kind and excellent inclination to protect you from your own inventions, Rachel -- but since you've decided to invent something to criticize AW's culture for, then we can certainly have the discussion regarding what confabulated nonsense it is, also in public.

buz
11-26-2013, 03:26 AM
Yeah, but this seems to be this website's view only--I've not seen it elsewhere or from any particular agents

Jenny Bent (http://webdelsol.com/Algonkian/interview-jbent.htm):


NEFF: Word has it that chick-lit is getting tougher and tougher to sell. What factors do you believe account for this condition? BENT: The head fiction buyer for Barnes and Noble has officially declared chick lit to be “dead.” Basically, it just got completely over-published. This happens with every popular genre—it starts to work, and then the publishers just flood the marketplace with substandard material, and readers rebel. But eventually it cycles back on itself—we haven’t seen the end of chick lit, but it will certainly go away for a while.
"The Death of Chick Lit" (Salon) (http://www.salon.com/2012/02/23/the_death_of_chick_lit/):


“We’ve pretty much stopped publishing chick lit,” one editor told Jennifer CoburnIf you want to see other opinions, try googling "is chick lit dead" or just googling in general--you will see a range of things that are not just limited to what I showed up there and I'm too lazy to do a ton of quotes :)

Personally, I don't understand why you NEED to call it chick lit. I wonder why you are attached to the designation, since it's always sounded sort of flippant and disrespectful to me, and seemed to put books into this tiny little box... (But then, I don't even like the term "women's fiction," so what do I know.) Still, I really think you should just call it "women's fiction" and let the marketers decide what it is:

"The Death of Chick Lit?" (The Economist): (http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2012/03/contemporary-fiction)


A decade after "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic" unleashed a tsunami of stiletto heels, chick lit isn't as much dead as transformed. The genre has grown up and moved on. If anything should be laid to rest, many women in publishing argue, it's the dubious and denigrating label that has hung on it like an albatross from the start.
I also don't know that your definition is the same as what others might call chick lit; it seems too narrow. I remember reading some stuff back in the day that was very much considered "chick lit" and did not have to do with balancing career and love. Marian Keyes wrote about women struggling with drug addiction and (love interest's) alcoholism; Anna Maxted wrote about a woman dealing with her father's death (and other stuff; I forget...).

Anyway... I'd just call it women's fiction, query, let the agents and publishers decide.


Somehow I think my chances of getting it published especially with a few interlingual jokes (I do explain them) is pretty low on the bar.... even lower than the historical fantasy I have written.The writing matters more than everything else. Work on the writing. Don't worry about the rest. It may or may not get published, but there's absolutely no way for you to know unless you submit.

Rachel Udin
11-26-2013, 07:29 AM
I'm not aware of there being either a general or specific dismissal of chick-lit at AW, but I would advise against using the term: it's outdated.

If you see anyone dismiss any genre on AW, please report the post. It crosses the RYFW line, and isn't acceptable.
This is contradictory at best and what I was pointing out. I've only seen this kind of statement on this website, which is not a OMG, criticism. It's stating something that exists within the website's cultural frame. It's a fact, yes? You just proved it true. I'm pointing it out and saying that I'm ignoring it. It's my choice and kindly asking people to respect it. Yet I get a ton of posts about respect your fellow writer and how the term is dead and how I can't talk about the culture in the open (Because it's an obvious criticism--which it isn't it's a boundary I'm personally setting as part of the RYFW rule.). *cough*

Women's fiction, BTW, is waaaaayyyy too broad. And usually declared genre death in this industry is often overblown. (especially from the salon ladies who don't seem to understand things like Nanowrimo and seem to have a poor view of genre fiction and I've not seen a decent article on the state of publishing from them yet from someone who seems in the know--they don't seem to vet their articles carefully either given Foyt's articles on the site. I kinda see the entire salon as out of touch these days.... MO, no one elses.)

And still no one seems to be able to name books which is what I requested. 'cause it's definitely easier to sell to an established market rather than pioneer.

It is written as said in the post, but the rule for publishing within the US is familiar, yet different. And I do have little faith it could be published because I have not seen anything like it.

So no books in this particular set up PoC woman in chick litish novel either growing up in a foreign country? No one seems to know any, which kinda proves what I said. Familiar yet unfamiliar can't apply here, then.

A long line of rejections is in my future unless I decide to try a different tactic then.

Protagonist is about mid 20's. Love interest is in his early 30's. I don't think it qualifies for NA.

poetinahat
11-26-2013, 07:44 AM
I see nothing contradictory in Old Hack's statement. She says the term is outdated, not the genre. She is in fact trying to help, and doing so with admirable good nature.

You, on the other hand, have made a generalization about the forum view of the genre. And, without citing a single example, you expect your assertion to be accepted at face value.

Old Hack's post #9 above provides several examples, which you're choosing to ignore.

And, well, MacAllister has already neatly summed up the situation.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Old Hack
11-26-2013, 11:43 AM
Originally Posted by Old Hack http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8553807#post8553807)
I'm not aware of there being either a general or specific dismissal of chick-lit at AW, but I would advise against using the term: it's outdated.

If you see anyone dismiss any genre on AW, please report the post. It crosses the RYFW line, and isn't acceptable.


This is contradictory at best and what I was pointing out.

Rachel, this is exactly what I meant in my previous comment about your writing not being clear. Are you referring to my point about the term, and not my point about RYFW? I'll assume so.

My comment wasn't contradictory, at best or worst. But if it was so, and it was what you were pointing out, you're admitting that your comment was contradictory. Do you see that?

Moving on, it's not contradictory to say that the term "chick lit" is outdated, and that the genre is not dismissed at AW. The two statements are not connected in any way which could make them contradictory. I wonder perhaps if you've misunderstood my comment?


I've only seen this kind of statement on this website, which is not a OMG, criticism. It's stating something that exists within the website's cultural frame. It's a fact, yes? You just proved it true.

It's not a fact, no. And no, I didn't.


I'm pointing it out and saying that I'm ignoring it.

Do you see the irony here?


It's my choice and kindly asking people to respect it.

This is an example of the lack of clarity in your comments which I referred to in my previous post in this thread.


Yet I get a ton of posts about respect your fellow writer

My single post is not exactly "a ton".


and how the term is dead and how I can't talk about the culture in the open (Because it's an obvious criticism--which it isn't it's a boundary I'm personally setting as part of the RYFW rule.). *cough*

This is another example of your lack of clarity.

Not only is your prose confusing and poorly structured, it seems your thinking is too. Your reading comprehension seems off-kilter as well.

Your comment about the culture of AW being dismissive of chick lit was disputed, I'll agree. But you weren't told you can't talk about the culture here in the open, you were reminded that if you have a criticism of the mods here you should make that criticism in private. These two things are separate issues, were responded to distinctly, but you're confusing them.


Women's fiction, BTW, is waaaaayyyy too broad. And usually declared genre death in this industry is often overblown. (especially from the salon ladies who don't seem to understand things like Nanowrimo and seem to have a poor view of genre fiction and I've not seen a decent article on the state of publishing from them yet from someone who seems in the know--they don't seem to vet their articles carefully either given Foyt's articles on the site. I kinda see the entire salon as out of touch these days.... MO, no one elses.)

This is barely coherent, Rachel. You can do better than this.


And still no one seems to be able to name books which is what I requested. 'cause it's definitely easier to sell to an established market rather than pioneer.

I named a specific book which I think fits your criteria. Am I "no one"? Or did you miss that point?


It is written as said in the post, but the rule for publishing within the US is familiar, yet different. And I do have little faith it could be published because I have not seen anything like it.

Let me reassure you, again, that if it's good enough it will almost certainly sell.

Have you tried to find representation yet? Have you tried to find a publisher? Because if not, this insistence that it won't get published (which seems like wallowing to me) is pointless. Try or don't try, but stop complaining.


So no books in this particular set up PoC woman in chick litish novel either growing up in a foreign country? No one seems to know any, which kinda proves what I said. Familiar yet unfamiliar can't apply here, then.


Did you even read my previous comment?


A long line of rejections is in my future unless I decide to try a different tactic then.

If your book is written as poorly as your comments here then yes, you will get a lot of rejections for it. But that has nothing to do with its subject matter, or publishers' lack of willingness to try something a little different.

Stacia Kane
11-26-2013, 03:27 PM
Yeah, but this seems to be this website's view only--I've not seen it elsewhere or from any particular agents, which is why I posted the whole I know about the policy/culture of the website. Mods have chased after me for using the term. =P It's a I know that you know that I know, but I'm using it anyway, because I don't care.




Rachel, as one of the mods for the Romance/Women's Fiction section, I have to say I take exception to this (and I will also say I don't see you participating very much there, frankly--you have only started or contributed to five threads there ever (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/search.php?searchid=23734989)--which I find confusing). I've just done a quick search there and haven't found anyone denigrating chick-lit or the term, or anyone "chasing after" anyone else for using the term. There are several discussions about how the term isn't commonly used anymore, but those are helpful rather than insulting; those discussions are our members helping other members find the best way to query their work. Several members also posted some wonderful links to other sites which discuss these same issues and support those writing it.

Since women's fiction and chick-lit are discussed pretty much exclusively there (meaning it is the focus of the subforum), and since I moderate those discussions, I'd like to see what posts you find so offensive or disrespectful.

I have found the following, after about a minute of searching:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=252512&highlight=chick

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245974

Oh! Here's one where chick-lit is denigrated as a genre, and described and dismissed as being full of "shoes and whoring" and just about the "power of women [being] how far she can spread her legs in a week." So maybe...

...oh, no, wait...

It was YOU who referred to it that way (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206948&highlight=chick), and not only our members but me (as a mod) who called you on your offensive, rude, and disrespectful genre stereotyping and locked the thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5896913&postcount=9), and you never came back to apologize or explain.

Is that what you were talking about when you referred to mods as "chas after [you] for using the term?" Because I can assure you the issue in that discussion was not your use of the term "chick lit," it was the way you referred to the books in the genre as being about whores whose only show of female power and strength was spreading their legs for numerous men. Oh, and the implication that they're just like "cheesy Lifetime movies."

Maybe if you spent more time discussing the genre--in a way that did not indicate that the books, their authors, and their readers are ridiculous materialistic sluts--with those of our members who write and read it, you'd feel differently.

(Several also posted links to or quotes from/experiences with agents and editors who suggested that the term isn't a great one to use anymore; I realize you apparently think AWers are the only people who've ever said "chick lit" as a description may work against you when querying, and no romance or women's fiction agents or organizations like the RWA have ever said that either, but I'm mentioning it anyway. Clearly it's an AW plot and we forced those publishing professionals to get in line with us, rather than us passing along what they've said.)

I will say, though, that you're damn right I'll say something about you using the term "chick lit," if you're using it as an epithet and claiming all books labeled as chick lit are just about "shoes and whoring." There may be a term for books that are just about shoes and whoring, but it's not "chick lit," and if you claim it is, I won't be the only person taking you to task for it and suggesting you actually read the genre you claim to want to write rather than insulting it based on what you [I]think you know about it, and how far superior you imagine your own unfinished work to be to that dreck most of those simpering, slutty chick-lit writers vomit out onto the page.

YOU may not care about how the genre is described and discussed, but most of our members do.

aruna
11-26-2013, 08:06 PM
Rachel, there are quite a lot of Indian chick lit books, both set in the UK and set in India. Usually they are about arranged marriage, religious barriers to marriage, and so on: the protags are always Indian and not a white person in sight!

usuallycountingbats
11-26-2013, 08:13 PM
How about Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Girls-Riyadh-Rajaa-Alsanea/dp/0141030615)?

Amadan
11-26-2013, 08:35 PM
I feel almost guilty piling on, but I've said before, Rachel - when you start griping about how no one appreciates your genius, your posts become elliptical and hard to follow. So either you truly are a genius operating at a level so high that the rest of us cannot apprehend your meaning, or maybe, just maybe, it is your writing that's the problem, not an industry that has already decided to be hostile to the book you haven't even written yet.

As for this:



And still no one seems to be able to name books which is what I requested. 'cause it's definitely easier to sell to an established market rather than pioneer.


I already gave you a name. Here is a specific book:

Small Remedies (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/489726883), by Shashi Deshpande.

I read it because it happens to be on Peter Boxall's list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

And I quite liked it, but I would argue strongly that's it's "women's fiction," or "chick lit." It definitely meets your criteria of "POC woman growing up in another country."

However, not a lot of shoes, shopping, or whoring.

Shashi Deshpande is not exactly a household name here in the U.S., but the fact that she made the 1001 Books list suggests that the type of books you are talking about are not completely alien things no Western reader would ever read.

MacAllister
11-26-2013, 09:48 PM
Lots of people gave Rachel titles.

Lots of people gave Rachel examples.

Rachel seems to be far more interested in behaving unpleasantly, argumentatively, flatly contradicting anything anyone says, insulting this website and our mods, and posting semi-gibberish.

If you're going to be that exhausting, you might at least attempt to be pleasant or interesting, at the same time.

We're done here.