Saturday, March 31, 2007

What's the Latest News in Chick Lit?

So, what's the latest news on chick lit? Is it dead? Are they calling it something else? Is it a no-no word in the publishing industry if that's what you write and you want it published in your lifetime?

It's been ten years since Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones. After its release and watching its popularity spread like wild fire, authors jumped on the chick lit bandwagon. I was one of those authors, although it took me a few years into it to find it. But, once I did, I loved it! Not the shoes thing, but because of the witty and sarcastic tone of the heroines. Ahhh...the shoes thing. One of the things the critics loved to stomp into the ground. Fluff, they said. Isn't worth the money spent, they said. Drivel. Not literary-oriented enough.

What I believe happened is that while some people believe the popularity of chick lit has run its course, authors who write the genre are not discouraged. They've just changed their game plans which is encouraging to me because I love reading about heroines who who are strong and catty beings who take the knocks long enough to find answers to their life's problems in such a way that we can all relate, not to mention their kick-ass way of doing it.

Some authors will tell you their agents aren't as gun-ho taking on these stories anymore and the agents themselves will tell you they're a hard sell because NY has been overrun by them. However, chick lit is still alive and well. Their stories might be more focused to please the literary audience, but they're still cranking out these wonderful light reads, only they're punchier, have more depth and don't rely on a pair of shoes to pull off a story (sorry, had to throw that last phrase in for those naysayers who believe that's what chick lit stories are all about).

So, here's what I found out about chick lit around the recently. I was amazed. Chick lit is still alive and well and I believe will be around for a long time...

1. Teen chick lit is selling real well. According to the Seattle Post, teens are buying books at the fastest rate in decades.

"Not only are teen book sales booming -- up by a quarter between 1999 and
2005, by one industry analysis -- but the quality is soaring as well. Older
teens in particular are enjoying a surge of sophisticated fare as young
adult literature becomes a global phenomenon."

2. The Age reports that chick lit has now "grown into" hen lit.

"As a recent New York Times article pointed out, it's 10 years since Helen
Fielding invented Bridget Jones, and even the perpetually adolescent Bridget has
given birth. Both the Chick Lit authors and their readers are getting older and
becoming mums, and they want to see their experiences in print."


3. Chica lit is hot. According to a review at Blogcritics.com for Boston Boys Club by Johnny Diaz, chick lit had to make way for chica lit.

"Chick lit had to make way for chica lit, and I'm glad to say the the ground for
chico lit is being broken by Johnny Diaz and his own tale of the city,
filled with hot boy on boy sex, friendship, romance, trying to make sense of
who you are, and what you really want against a well-crafted backdrop of
Beantown."


4. According to The Nation, it's all about J-books, K-books and chick lit.

"A man promotes Pramuan Pengchan’s bestseller ‘Dern Soo Issarapab’ (Walk Towards Freedom). The book is expected to be a hit at the book fair. Youngsters
will likely brush aside economic worries and snap up Japanese and Korean chick
lit as their summer vacation reads, the organisers of the Bangkok
International Book Fair 2007 said yesterday."


5. Caffeine Nights publishes a new form of fiction...Chick Noir.

"Chick Noir could be the result of living in modern times where almost overnight
a new generation of readers has had to grow up quickly. Caffeine Nights
Publishing certainly believe that the time is right to produce a brand of
fiction that has an element of escapism that also carries a healthy dose of
21st century realism. "


6. According to San Mateo Daily Journal, teen lit enters the golden age.

"There is also a new proliferation of chick lit, a genre that gives this
generation their own version of Nancy Drew, Baby Sitters Club and Sweet
Valley High. The new generation of teen chick lit has the same salacious
plot lines with a definite older vibe, which caters to today’s fast growing
teens. It’s Judy Blume to a higher level. The stories are compared to a
toned down Sex and the City or Paris Hilton escapades."


7. The Centre Daily Times in Pennsylvania says more books are aimed at the single audience.

"These books are not about the rules, whether he's into you, or love languages.
The newest kind of "nonfiction chick-lit" - as we're dubbing it - is a backlash
against the idea that people who are married or in coupledom are happier,
healthier, and more prosperous."

8. The Baltimore Sun believes that books are crossing color barriers.

"The whole young adult field is expanding, and this trend is just part of the
general healthy growth of the genre. Instead of being one flavor, it's
many flavors. The black experience in America is expanding, and the genre is
simply catching up to social reality."


9. Literary agent Kristin Nelson of Pub Rants says, "...Penguin is still game for Chick lit with sassy main female protagonists (action-adventure works well)."

10. At Trashionista, "We've told you before about the Nibbies (or the Galaxy British Book Awards as they're more properly known) and now we're delighted to bring you the news that much-loved Queen of Chick Lit Marian Keyes won the award for popular fiction - way to go, Mazza! (As she'd probably loathe me to call her...) It was also great chick lit news for Lauren Weisberger, who won Television and film book of the year for The Devil Wears Prada (of course)."

I don't know about you guys, but I don't think chick lit is going away anytime soon. ;o)



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