View Full Version : Chick Lit - A Hard Sell?

04-07-2006, 09:55 PM
ONe agent answered my query letter by responding that while the premise sounded interesting, "Chick Lit is becoming SO hard to sell."

Is this true? I thought Chick Lit was becoming popular? Or is it just getting overcrowded?

Kasey Mackenzie
04-07-2006, 10:54 PM
From what I've heard it's pretty overcrowded right now and you're really only going to get someone to take a serious look at it if you can offer a very unique spin on it. That's what I've read on several agent/writer blogs/websites, anyway.

04-07-2006, 10:57 PM
What differentiates Chick Lit from straight Women's Fiction/Romance?

04-07-2006, 11:07 PM
I would have to look up the defintion but generally chick lit is urban lifestyle, humorous and not necessarily centred on a romance--often first person.

I agree that it needs a spin now that the market is so flooded, something different in the character or setting.

Kasey Mackenzie
04-07-2006, 11:11 PM
Well, chick lit tends to deal with hip females in their 20's or 30's who live in urban areas and follows their love lives and professional lives around. They're often humorous or irreverent in tone and pretty frank about sex. (This is just a vague generalization.) Women's fiction is a more wide-ranging term used for novels that tend to appeal to women more than men and can include chick lit. It also includes more mainstream books as well as romantic fiction.

Hope that helps!

04-08-2006, 08:15 PM
Thanks, I'm trying to decide which category my "Confessions of a Mad Soap Diva" falls into - chick lit or women's fiction.

04-08-2006, 08:30 PM
Too many players. The field is oversaturated.

04-08-2006, 08:49 PM
If it's different and unique, and written well, I imagine it'll still get agent interest. However, it'd have to be DIFFERENT to catch someone's eye, period. Even people that are big fans of chick-lit are starting to back off.

The ironic thing? YA chick lit is *very* hot right now.

04-08-2006, 08:51 PM
The title feels chicklitty... and i think the genre still has legs--people are still getting big advances but mainly in new areas now like non-wasp.

04-08-2006, 11:44 PM
The next big thing, apparently, is "hen-lit" - fiction for older women. This is a huge market, and older women are avid readers, often with more time on their hads for reading.
I've been reading a lot about this new publishing company, Transita, that is specifically for this market - Time Magazine had an article on them, as did the latest edition of The Author, the mag of the Society of Authors.
Here's their website:

04-08-2006, 11:46 PM
The ironic thing? YA chick lit is *very* hot right now.

The trouble is writers need to look ahead; what is hot right now might not be hot in two years, when their books come out. If editors are wary, it's because they think it'll have cooled off by then. I think chick lit has reched its peak.

04-09-2006, 12:47 AM
I don't think it's going away, but it *is* cooling down in regards to the typical chick-lit stories and expanding into other territories.

Paranormal chick-lit is hot. YA chick-lit is hot. Hen-lit (as you mentioned above, aruna) is hot, as is Lad Lit. It's expanding to cover new territory, and I don't think it's going away for good (for example, RDI has shrunk down to two titles a month instead of the slew they published previously).

You'll just have to be that much better to get your stuff noticed. :)

And if you want to write it, write it. Everyone keeps saying that Regency romances are going away, but the vast majority of what's shooting out of the stables for the next year is still Regency set. The big historicals might have killed off the 'sweet' Regency serials, but I don't think Regency is going away either.

04-09-2006, 06:11 PM
How are these categories decided or by whom? How does one know what will be 'hot' in a couple of years' time? What do you have to do or read to be able to determine this?


04-09-2006, 08:19 PM
OK, my main character is 49, and she's telling us the story of her life. Would that be considered "hen lit"?

so many categories, so little time....

04-09-2006, 08:33 PM
OK, my main character is 49, and she's telling us the story of her life. Would that be considered "hen lit"?

It depends on the story, and the style. If it's a serious drama with serious topics, it's probably categorized as "women's fiction." If it's contemporary, slightly irrelevant, relationship-oriented and usually comical in tone, it could be considered "hen-lit."

04-09-2006, 10:17 PM
Never write for what's hot, write what you are burning to write.

The idea of the "lits" being hot is old news, they've been supposedly been hot, cooled down and gotten hot again. And as with every kind of book some people are making loads of $$ from them and others not so much, while others languish entirely. iLad lit, for example has already come and gone. Hen lit - they've predicted that heat coming for at least 3 years now but it's sure not showing up on lists and advances. (I have written some hen lit and mommy lit)

The trends sited - ethnic and YA chic lit have both seen jumps recently but is that market already full? Who knows?

Your title sounds like it you're in the right area and your heroine being 49 says hen lit, but hen lit usually has middle aged women issues (everything from caring for parents, grown kids, mid-life divorce, job issues, etc) A good example of a line aimed at this field is NEXT by Harlequin - great covers, good publisher push, freedom of storylines. And with Harl. you can still submit w/o an agent. Just a thought.

Luanne Jones (Heathen Girls - MIRA - women's fiction and also dubbed lit light, btw, meaning crossover commerical/literary - and none of that means a danged thing unless readers like it)