Friday, July 16, 2010

Chick Lit is Dead. Long Live... er, Women's Fiction?

I'd read it on blogs, but I dared not believe it was true. Chick lit is dead, they said. Utter the phrase at your own peril.

It couldn't be, I scoffed. But last weekend, my worst fears were confirmed. I heard it not once, not twice and more than thrice (love that word!): chick lit is dead.

Should I be worried? Well, I should clarify that the label 'chick lit' is dead, not the writing itself. Rom-coms or even women's fiction is a better tag for the kind of writing that once was labelled chick lit. The market is saturated with 30-something women drinking wine, scoffing blocks of cheese and bellowing out 'All By Myself', apparently. Time to move on to a new label which will come to mean... exactly the same thing?

See, I quite like the chick-lit label. You know exactly what you're getting: a bit of romance, a bit of wit and a fun-spirited, usually spunky heroine. Women's fiction, while nebulous enough to encompass just about anything, sets my teeth on edge. I mean, you don't have men's fiction, right? On the flip side, you do have dick lit, with thirty-something men drinking beer, scoffing kebabs and bellowing out, I dunno, Bon Jovi classics.

I'll get over my chick lit loss, eventually. I'll come to embrace 'rom-com', or the heady heights of the phrase 'light women's fiction.'

But oh, chick lit.

It was good while it lasted.

72 comments:

  1. Aw really? I thought the label worked pretty well. Never heard of "dick lit" before :-P

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  2. I couldn't believe it at first, either. It's sad. But at least it's not the end of the genre, just of the name. I like chick lit... :(

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  3. I'll miss chick lit! It's so cute, I like it. Women's literature sounds I dont know, a tad prejudicial to me. Definetly not a fan.

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  4. Dick lit! That's priceless. :)

    A rose by any other name...is still a rose. I like the term chick-lit...but whatever. They can label it how they like...we'll still read it.

    Happy weekend!
    Love,
    Lola

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  5. I wouldn't worry. "The powers that be" have been proclaiming the death of the novel (in general) every decade for generations. And yes -- here we are, still alive and kicking.

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  6. Oh that's sad!!! I loved the title chick-lit and I think I will always keep it going. I think women's fiction is so open to everyone, you could find any sort of book sitting there. Romance isn't always witty but sex all over the place... I liked chick-lit, you knew what you were getting... I say -

    LOVE LIVE CHICK-LIT

    Hmm dick lit... what a thought. LOL

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  7. I meant LONG LIVE CHICK-LIT... silly fingers!

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  8. Maybe too many men were caught reading 'chick lit' and they're the reason it's changing. LOL

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  9. Well, women's fiction is something entirely different than "chick lit." I don't know who has decided that "chick lit" by that name is "dead" but they are just playing semantics. Women's fiction is very serious and not at all playful. "Chick Lit" is too much fun to allow to "die" so I shall keep using the term as long as I like. If it dates me so be it but everyone will pretty much know what I am talking about. (Gosh, I am getting to be an old crank!)

    Ciao,

    Ardee-ann

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  10. Yes, I've been hearing this a lot lately. And I agree with you completely: 'chick lit' was a label from which we could expect certain things, whereas 'women's fiction' could be fun but it could also be serious and philosophical. I suppose we'll have to start relying on covers now... :(

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  11. Here's hoping a future headline reads "The Return of Chick-Lit!" I agree, it's an apt genre title for the books it represents.

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  12. Well, there'll still be women drinking wine and scoffing cheese while singing into their hairbrushes, thats for certain. No matter what you call it! (Being alive?)

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  13. Sad your sad about this Talli. But, I kind of wish books were not labeled at all, like in the children's section of a book store. You can browse, pick up any book that looks like a good story, with no pre-concieved ideas.

    If I read one Sci-Fi I didn't like, I may not read anymore SciFi, thinking I don't like the genre. But if I just read for the story, no label, I'd be more likely to pick up another story about aliens, or other worlds. Anyways, just my thinking!

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  14. As I wrote on your FB page, the Sci Fi Channel has become the SyFy Channel. Gotta sound hipper if you want to attract a wider audience, I guess.

    Whether your book is labeled Chick Lit or Women's Fiction, I'll buy it.

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  15. Really? That's so sad, because I quite like the sound of chick lit. And women's fiction without men's fiction??! What is that madness?

    Still really looking forward to your book though Talli, I'll still call it chick lit to myself :)

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  16. Thanks for all your support in this difficult time. :)

    I'm still coming to terms with the loss! I really like the term... but I'll move on.

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  17. LOL I know exactly what you mean. I prefer chick-lit to women's fiction. Oh well. And I only heard about the other day on an agent blog, but I'm sure you were there, too, haha. :)

    We'll get over the loss of the spunky label eventually, though. Have a great weekend!

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  18. I think Chick-Lit will make a comeback...give it five or so years. The zeitgeist always swings back.

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  19. Are they renaming chick movies as well?
    And what exactly is dick lit anyway? Because I don't intend to break out into a BonJovi song anytime soon.

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  20. OMG dick lit? That sounds awesome.

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  21. Alex - mais non? Shocking! If you had to break out in song, who would it be?

    Dick lit... hm. I guess it might be like a Nick Hornby kinda thing. Or Matt Dunn. Just replace the single woman with single man!

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  22. I don't think it will disappear as a label that easily.
    I expect you are too young to have ever heard of the genre 'Aga Sagas' as in the Joanna Trollope style of writing.

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  23. Lindy Lou, funny you say that because Joanne Trollope brought up the term at the conference last weekend. She pretty much said she detested the label!

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  25. These labels are so confusing and I don't know what's wrong with chic lit. Laughing at dick lit label though.

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  26. Dick Lit! I love it. Seriously though, women's fiction makes me think of Mills & Boon and that's not Chick Lit. Who are these 'they' people anyway. If we want to talk about Chick Lit we will and 'they' can't stop us... so there!

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  27. I didn't know this! Why is the name dead? I remember the chick lit name was a big deal when it came out a while ago. I'm still calling those witty, romantic, spunky heroine novels CHICK LIT!

    To me, women's fiction is a novel like The Shell Seekers or Gone with the Wind. Romance, wit, and strong heroines abound, but the themes and tone are more intense and serious.

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  28. Oh give me a break! What was the real problem with the "chic lit" tag?
    I liked it. It told you that you were in for a good time.
    Giggles and Guns

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  29. Just as I had started using the term to look trendy! The same happened when I learned to say cool, it changed to wicked a week later! *sigh*

    Seriously, Chick Lit rolls off the tongue so well, why get rid of it, crazy.

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  30. I used to think that Chick Lit was such a dismissive term to use and it turned me off reading books labelled with it, until very recently. However, having now seen the error of my ways and read some, I think it's a positive term - and now it's been discontinued? Grr. Typical!

    Not sure I like the new term Women's Literature. Or would like there to be on for Men's Literature. And is the book industry intending to put different covers on these books - one designed to appeal to female readers and one for male readers in the same way that the Harry Potter books had different child and adult covers?

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  31. Awww!!!

    I say it should now be called Fem-fic!! Or Bra-burning-books. Or Fun-Fem-Fic. Or Wimmin's-wit-fic. Long may they reign!

    :-)

    take care
    x

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  32. I've always liked the label Chick Lit. I get annoyed when they change labels to make it 'fresh' when it wasn't stale in the first place!

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  33. Hmmmmmmmmm...Men's fiction....maybe I can start a new trend??!!

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  34. Okay, I admit - I don't read chick lit, I read women's fiction. I know they are the same thing but for some reason I think the second sounds less embarassing. Haha!

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  35. Even if the label is dead I guess the genre lives on!

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  36. I think I'm too 'behind' the news. I was just talking to a good friend of mine in Washington, USA two evenings ago and she was telling me about 'chic-lit' and now I'm reading your post saying its dead. That friend of mine is also a writer, a chic-lit writer. How am I going to tell her this? Perhaps the new label will suit her better...hehehe. Thanks for the info. I'm following your blog :-) - Len

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  37. I read an agency blog yesterday that said exactly the same thing. If you query a chick-lit mss, you get deleted.

    Why the change I wonder?

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  38. I liked the term chick lit as it's quick & easy to type & spell!

    You made me laugh w/ the term dick lit! :)

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  39. yeah, it's that whole "fashionable" thing that puts me off about certain parts of the publishing world. Don't understand why "chick lit" has fallen out of favour, you're right, what you see is what you get. Women's fiction seems so serious.

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  40. It's such a good description .. pity!

    Have a good weekend .. Hilary

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  41. RIP chick lit.
    I loved you, and will never let you die in my heart.

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  42. I'll continue to use it!
    Never say die! LOL

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  43. Women's fiction just seems so pretentious to me. Whereas chick-lit seems more like an adventure with your best girlfriend

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  44. I'm with you - I prefer chick lit. Maybe if enough of us keep calling it that, we can keep it alive. :)

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  45. Th Saturday Times .. haven't caught up with you yet, Talli!! It was chick lit today ..

    Long Live Talli lit!?!

    Byeee ... Hilary

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  46. What??? You're breaking my Chic Lit heart here Talli. Is this really true? Because i love that label too and i suppose we need a really expensive bottle of wine and some Kenyan strong coffee to drown our sorrows in not in that order of course. Sad indeed..

    On another note thank you for the sweet compliments you always leave for me, greatly appreciated. I love having you around sweety.

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  47. That's funny I suppose because that was how she was seen for a long while as the novelist that produced Aga Saga's

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  48. Well, The Guardian don't know chick lit is dead: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jul/17/chick-lit-reviews-roundup-barnett

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  49. No, say it isn't so? I love the sound of it, but dick lit, hmmm interesting!

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  50. They've been saying this for years, but women's fiction or chick lit, women still love a good book about other women. In fact, we run a site that declares our love for it. *insert shameless plug* http://chicklitisnotdead.com/ Thanks for the great post! xoxo

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  51. They've been saying this for years, however, women still love GOOD books by women that are about women. And that's why we have a site devoted to it. *insert shameless plug here* http://chicklitisnotdead.com/ Thanks for a great post! xoxo

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  52. I can't give up on chick lit. Just can't. :*(

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  53. Trust me to be way behind the crowd *sobs* All I've ever wanted to be is a Chick Lit author! Whenever I hear the word 'Rom Com' I immediately thing of Richard Curtis & Hugh Grant...
    Thanks for the heads-up Talli, 'Light Women's Fiction' just really doesn't have the same appeal though does it?!

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  54. believe nothing you hear, and half of what you see... some wag sez ;)

    seems sumbunny wants to get pretentious out there....

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  55. The term 'Chick Lit' in your query letter is a surefire way to get rejected now. Pity but true!

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  56. What a shame. What else says the genre like "chick lit"? "Women's fiction" can be anything from serious literary to lesbian lovers to romance and historical fiction. How lame.

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  57. :-( I loved the genre--it still exists but under a new name. Sigh. Just keep writing.

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  58. It comes down to supply and demand. I don't see any genre going out of style for very long. Everything makes a comeback. Hopefully people won't start dressing like Fonzie or Potsie again.

    Stephen Tremp

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  59. Women around the world should unite and demand that we are allowed to call chick-lit, chick-lit! I hate being told what to do...

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  60. Brilliant post!! Made me laugh :-)

    C x

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  61. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know chick lit... If you are looking for me I will be hanging my head in shame whilst standing in the corner with my dunce hat.

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  62. Oh darn...I was just coming to terms with the fact that I might actually be a 'chick lit' writer....

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  63. I wouldn't worry too much. Whenever I go to the library there are always two major genre's out on the endcaps: vampire and chick lit.

    Your book has such a great premise it doesn't matter what they call it, it will still rock.

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  64. Dick Lit? Really?!! I never found chick-lit denigrating, I can't see the fuss about it either.

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  65. Even though I would never in a million years call a girl or woman "a chick", I did think the label worked quite well. (We have "lad-lit" after all!) I think it helped separate serious women's fiction for titles a bit more fun.

    I was at a workshop in April though where a, ahem, women's fiction writer took offense to me using that term though. Oops!

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  66. Seems silly to do away with a perfectly usable title. A rose by any other name...
    Oh well.

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  67. I would like to exchange links with your site www.blogger.com
    Is this possible?

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Coffee and wine for all!