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Sandi LeFaucheur
08-27-2006, 06:28 PM
I'm thinking of branching out from my normal genre of YA Historical Fiction to Chick Lit--just for a bit of fun. Having read a few novels by Katie Fforde and Lynne Truss over the summer, I realised that they sound exactly like me. (Do I sound exactly like them? No, no! The other way around! :) ) When I mentioned this to my crit partner, she told me that she'd heard that Chick Lit is on its way out. Argh! Have I missed the boat once again? I hope not; I really feel like doing something light and fluffy and funny. I've spent the last five years wandering between the medieval period and world war 2, and heaven knows, I need some light relief.http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon6.gif

ChaosTitan
08-27-2006, 07:11 PM
Well, my latest copy of Entertainment Weekly had blurbs about four new Chick Lit titles. They seem to run new titles every week. I don't think Chick Lit is as hot as it was two years ago, but they are still being published. Yours just has to stand out from all of those novels that you say sound exactly alike.

What is it about the story you want to tell that makes it unique enough to stand out from the Chick Lit crowd? How is your heroine different?

JanDarby
08-27-2006, 07:16 PM
All of the agents I've heard weigh in on the topic consider Chick Lit dead.

BUT, what they're referring to is the cliche of chick lit -- twenty-something woman, working in a city, obsessed with shopping or name brands -- not the voice, so much. The snarky voice is remaining, but they're being marketed as romantic comedy or snarky mystery or whatever. And the settings and the heroine's obsessions are more diverse, and perhaps the heroine's age range too.

JD

Sandi LeFaucheur
08-27-2006, 10:56 PM
All of the agents I've heard weigh in on the topic consider Chick Lit dead.

BUT, what they're referring to is the cliche of chick lit -- twenty-something woman, working in a city, obsessed with shopping or name brands -- not the voice, so much. The snarky voice is remaining, but they're being marketed as romantic comedy or snarky mystery or whatever. And the settings and the heroine's obsessions are more diverse, and perhaps the heroine's age range too.

JD

Well, mine definitely doesn't fall within that description! My heroine is forty-ish, slightly dumpy, moved to a cottage in the country sans hubby....

Reckon I'm in with a chance?

Mind you, I have to find a killer first sentence. I can't do anything until the first sentence is set in stone. None of this writing bits in the middle, moving right along. I know what it's going to be about, but until I get those first few words absolutely perfect, it stays in my head.

Heather Lewis
08-27-2006, 11:13 PM
Well, mine definitely doesn't fall within that description! My heroine is forty-ish, slightly dumpy, moved to a cottage in the country sans hubby....
This might be of interest to you: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36324
(See the Tor guideline post on the second page)

I think chick lit is dead (remember that the books being released now were probably purchased a year ago or more) but there will always be a market for light and funny. There is a lot of info on the Net about what the current markets are, so I'd say keep researching (in between bouts of writing, of course!) :) Good luck with your project.

MelRandall

Cathy C
08-27-2006, 11:46 PM
Yeah, pretty much all of the editors and agents I've talked to say that chick-lit (meaning sarcastically funny tales about materialistic city-living females in their mid-20s) is, at least, in hiatus. It's been overdone, just as the cartoonish covers are. But HUMOR romance/women's fiction--such as what you're describing, isn't dead at all. I'd say submit away! :)

Sandi LeFaucheur
08-28-2006, 01:34 PM
Thanks for your input! The link to Tor was very interesting. Thanks again.

Gillhoughly
08-28-2006, 07:56 PM
I've read the chick lit autopsy on various agent sites, but that may be confusing to potential writers seeing new titles in the stores.

However, those "new" books were bought 18-24 months ago and the publishers are making an effort to get sales out of them.

Just goes to show, write a good story, don't write to a trend. ;)

Cat Scratch
08-29-2006, 06:58 AM
My understanding of chick-lit is that it's just evolving to include a broader storyline, much as you've described with older protags, etc. I doubt books targeted to a fun young reader will EVER be permanently dead.

brainstorm77
08-29-2006, 03:14 PM
I was never that much into it myself. I still see lots in the bookstores.... I would be curious to know if sales have dropped off.

Susan Gable
08-29-2006, 04:54 PM
I was never that much into it myself. I still see lots in the bookstores.... I would be curious to know if sales have dropped off.

Sales probably have dropped off, which is why they're shying away from those stories now.

I agree with the sentiment that varied types of chick-lit will probably stay around. But honestly, how many of the same "young, single, struggling career chick in the city, trying on shoes and men" books can you read before you tire of it?


I think that's one of the biggest problems in publishing today. Their all about jumping on a trend, doing more of the SAME because hey, that one sold like hot cakes. Therefore, let's clone it, and sell it like mad until the customers get disgusted with it.

I understand the desire to recapture lightening in a bottle. I understand numbers drive this business. (Hence why I guess sales probably have dropped off -- otherwise they'd still be looking for MORE of these books.)

It all goes in cycles. When I first joined RWA in 2000, people couldn't GIVE AWAY their paranormal mss. Now paranormal is all the rage. I'm hoping that it stays, like romantic suspense has. But when I started out, no one wanted to touch those paranormal mss.

So, the chick lit thing may do the same thing. There may be a cooling off period, and then 5-10 years down the road, it will hit again. (Then again, maybe not. You just never know.)

Susan G.

maestrowork
08-29-2006, 08:39 PM
IMHO, as long as they're still making movies like In Her Shoes or The Devil Wears Prada (okay, I know it's more like a satire than a chick-lit...), and as long as someone like Candice Bushnell is still writing, I think there's still a market for [good] chick-lit. The market might be shrinking, though, because people want something different in these post-Sex and the City times. But I think like anything, too much of a good thing can be bad, and you need to reinvent yourself to break out. I think it needs to have a broader appeal, and don't underestimate the male audience. For example, male readers/audience like TDWP.

brainstorm77
08-30-2006, 03:58 PM
Susan do you think there is much of a market for older more mature characters in women's fiction? Say 40 + age wise?

Susan Gable
08-30-2006, 04:08 PM
Susan do you think there is much of a market for older more mature characters in women's fiction? Say 40 + age wise?


YESSSS!!! <G> (That excites me, as you can see. <G>) More and more publishers are waking up to smell the coffee that there is a vast ocean of readers who are older than the 20-something heroines.

Super has always allowed for a wide variety of hero and heroines. (Jean Brashear did one last year...I think it was last year...where the couple was in their 50's.)

Tor is coming out with their new line of women's fiction that focuses on women mid-thirties to end of 40's. (Somewhere around here I posted those guidelines. I'll have to see if I can find them and figure out how to link to them.)

Harlequin's Next line is about the "next phase" of a woman's life -- whatever that "next" thing turns out to be. So those protagonists are older than the 20-somethings.

I'm expecting that in the new Everlasting line we'll be seeing older protagonists, too, since those are supposed to be life-time stories. (Love over a lifetime.) So, actually, in those cases, the reader will most likely see the characters over a span of ages.

I definitely think there's a market for older protagonists in women's fiction. I hope that "trend" continues. :)

I'm feeling older today myself. My baby started high school today. How the heck did that happen? Only yesterday I was the one in high school, meeting his father. Wow. (and YIKES! LOL.)

Susan G.

Josie
09-02-2006, 10:00 PM
Yes, the chick lit with city dwelling young women whose dilemma was collecting expensive shoes, and the story based on how her life revolved around those shoes, I believe, is dead. . I never could read those. But I love the older protagonist, who perhaps is also self-involved, but more is going on in her life then "shoes". Those should not be dead.

Susan, I remember that call for submissions vaguely. If you could find it and give us the site, I would forever be in your debt....hmmm, but fair warning, I don't have any money...
;)
thanks.
Cheers

janetbellinger
09-03-2006, 12:25 AM
I think the thing we must do is write in our own voices, whatever if any genre that turns out to be. If t here is one thing I have learned in all the years I have been writing and submitting it is thatselling yourself out does not equate success. In other words, you can write exactly what you think the editors want to see, whatever genre or theme and still end up getting rejected. Meanwhile, that original idea in your head, that flame in your chest is being wasted. I think we owe it to ourselves to write what we love, whatever that is.

Susan Gable
09-03-2006, 12:58 AM
Susan, I remember that call for submissions vaguely. If you could find it and give us the site, I would forever be in your debt....hmmm, but fair warning, I don't have any money...
;)
thanks.
Cheers

No money??? Sheesh. Well, okay, how about a cookie? <G> Here's where you can find the Tor 35+ guidelines. 4th post down.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36324&page=2


Also, I did just hear that the Next line is being cut back to 2 books per month. I know they've had some marketing issues with them. But they're really terrific books. I hope they manage to get things straightened out and keep the line alive.

Susan g.

Josie
09-03-2006, 03:14 AM
Thank you, Susan!!

Have you ever heard of a chain of stores called "Death by Chocolate"?

They have a chain up here in Canada, and I want you to go in there, pick out what you want, cookie, cake, whatever, and say:

Charge it to Josie :ROFL:

Oh dear, I do hope that's all right :( hee hee

Cheers

brainstorm77
09-03-2006, 03:22 AM
Thank you, Susan!!

Have you ever heard of a chain of stores called "Death by Chocolate"?

They have a chain up here in Canada, and I want you to go in there, pick out what you want, cookie, cake, whatever, and say:

Charge it to Josie :ROFL:

Oh dear, I do hope that's all right :( hee hee

Cheers


Darn we don't have one in Newfoundland!!! I could however go for a Tim Horton's coffee and donut

Josie
09-03-2006, 03:31 AM
Brainstorm: We have Tim Horton's also here in British Columbia, but
Death by Chocolate!!! is for chocoholics...course I'm not saying Susan is one ....
Sorry, Brain, I don't have any connections at Tim Hortons but try using my name anyway, you never know :)

And if you have a teenager, you need Death by Chocolate!!! (just kidding)
as Susan does...well

Also NEXT from Harlequin, I've peeked at their last few months issues and they are all written in present tense. Interesting, eh?
Only two issues per month? H/S is shutting down and/or cutting down on a lot. It looks like they're going for fantasy and dark paranormal these days.

Josie

brainstorm77
09-03-2006, 03:41 AM
They ( Harlequin ) have indeed cut back. They have axed the Bombshell line. One of the nurses at my work will be devestated!!! She loved that line.

Susan Gable
09-03-2006, 04:00 AM
We have Tim Horton's here in Erie, PA. In fact, we have at least 3 of them.

Death by Chocolate? Now that sounds like my kind of store. :)

Susan G.

Josie
09-03-2006, 07:09 AM
Yes, of course, the Silhouette Bombshell shut down is a very tragic event. How could I forget that!

Though I didn't get time to read many of them, I know the ones I read were great and glancing through more of them, there's no doubt in my mind that was indeed a tragedy. Excellent writers and I totally sympathize with them. Wouldn't it be great if another line opened somewhere for those stories in Silhouette Bombshell?

Ah, Death by Chocolate, it closed down around the corner from me about a year ago, and yet I still remember it well :e2cry: Now that I've mentioned it I'm sure they have other stores in town...better forget that.

But I'm still a regular at Starbucks, double tall extra foamy non-fat latte machiato...:D

That's where I like to do some of my writing also, in case anyone thinks I'm wandering too far off the subject herein

Cheers ;)

Lisamer
09-04-2006, 10:36 PM
Check this out:
http://www.transita.co.uk/

P.S.: Some people call this stuff "Hen Lit." I'm not quite sure I like that! ;)

soloset
09-04-2006, 11:13 PM
Just write what you like writing; no sense second-guessing the market. The book I'm working on right now (okay, that I should be working on right now) is in a sub-genre that has been popular, not popular, re-popular, completely dead, super high profile, taken to extremes, and probably now overdone. But who cares? It's not the only book I'll ever write and, worse case, at least *I'll* enjoy reading it. ;)

Cathy C
09-04-2006, 11:16 PM
But who cares? It's not the only book I'll ever write and, worse case, at least *I'll* enjoy reading it.

And there are the words that every writer needs to have rubber-stamped on their forehead! :Clap:

Sonarbabe
09-05-2006, 01:17 AM
I agree. I have this YA series I've been working on for 14 years and it'll most likely stay on my shelf for several more until the market turns again. It's a Sweet Valley High meets Nancy Drew series and right now everyone loves Harry Potter, but at least I like my series. LOL That counts for something.

(It should... I named my daughter after the female MC)

bylinebree
09-05-2006, 01:31 AM
Check this out:
http://www.transita.co.uk/

P.S.: Some people call this stuff "Hen Lit." I'm not quite sure I like that! ;)

HEN?? Oh, that is just awful!! Hope that one goes down in flames!

Sonarbabe
09-05-2006, 02:35 AM
Hen Lit? That's just wrong.

Very, very, very wrong.