Friday, July 15, 2011

Get Your Chick Lit On! Guest Post by Liz Fichera

It's Friday! And guess what? I'm still editing. Oh yes. I've been in a deep dark cave for almost a month now, but I'm pleased that I may finally be emerging shortly. In the meantime, I'd like to thank all the wonderful authors I've had on my blog recently for pulling me through. And wine. And well... wine.

And today, I'm extra pleased to have Liz Fichera here, author of the upcoming novel Craving Perfect. It's a delightful read, and you can see my review here. Take it away, Liz!

It's always perplexed me why books written by women authors about family and relationships are often classified as chick lit while books written by men on the same topics often get literary fiction status. Additionally, literary fiction is sometimes described as character-focused while genre fiction is more plot-based. Not sure I buy that distinction either because I’ve read chick lit that is both plot-based and character-driven. Never mind the negative connotation of the label itself and the fact that books other than literary fiction are not reviewed in mainstream publications as widely, but I suppose that’s a topic for another day. Fair or not. It is what it is.

And you have to wonder if tags like chick lit were used to label books in the 19th century whether novels like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre would still be considered classics today. Cut to present day and we all know that authors like Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin sell boatloads of books that can be classified in this genre. Clearly readers want these stories, when you see how they fly off the shelves whenever there’s a new release. In fact, readers demand them. Perhaps that’s why you see so many women of a certain age flocking to the Young Adult shelves today. We all know that it’s just not teenagers reading young adult novels anymore.

So, can you blame them?

Who doesn’t want to escape for a little while inside a great story and imagine those “what ifs”? For my tastes, a story has to press my emotional buttons to get me truly engaged and I can usually find that in chick lit. So call it chick lit. Call it lit chick. Call it x@3XB 8Lu. I don’t care! Just make these stories available. Boatloads of them.

So what’s your take? Do you care about labels when you purchase your books? Or are you more interested in the story?

About Liz:

Liz is an author from the American Southwest. She writes commercial fiction and young adult novels but mostly she writes stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Her latest novel CRAVING PERFECT has been called chick lit, contemporary romance, and even contemporary romance fantasy. It releases on July 25 from Carina Press. She is also the author of CAPTIVE SPIRIT (2010) and HOOKED (Harlequin Teen, 2013). Don't hesitate to drop by her web site or blog to connect.

59 comments:

  1. As long as I can still find the science fiction-fantasy shelf in the bookstore, I don't care what else they call it.

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  2. Just stopping by to wave at Liz!

    I hate labels and crave good stories. I've loved both CAPTIVE SPIRIT and CRAVING PERFECT. Completely different, but both are compelling stories. Keep writing, Liz.

    (Good luck with the edits, Talli!)

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  3. Great post!
    I always love to read about/hear about how authors and other artists do what they do.

    It's actually rather inspiring.

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  4. Nice post. Labels, hate them. They remind me of sheep.

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  5. I don't like labels. I do like engaging literature that makes me want to read on and read more from the same author.

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  6. Reading is an eclectic happy hobby for me!

    Hello Liz and and good luck Talli with your editing! Take care
    x

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  7. I understand the (business) reasoning behind labels, as far as the marketing standpoint, and the poor stock person at the store...where to stick a book with three 'labels' on it? But as a reader, they mean nothing to me.

    When I'm wandering the store looking for an interesting new book, it doesn't matter what section it comes from. If it sounds intriguing to me, I could care less if it came from the romance, literary, mystery or YA section. It's all about the content, not the heading hanging over the section I'm standing in.

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  8. I'll be happy to read when you're through with the edits! That said, take the time you need to both get it right (as right as one can!) and step away for a bit when necessary.

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  9. It's all about the story for me. It doesn't really matter the genre as long as the author gets me to care about the characters inviting me along.

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  10. Well, labels can be helpful, but only so I can steer my kids appropriately in a book store. Otherwise, I tend to buy/read what my friends or Amazon or GoodReads tell me. I'm sort of a follower that way.
    Great interview.

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  11. Labels are like boxes, all I care about is what's inside!

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  12. Good luck with the editing! I'm right there with you sista! ;o))

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  13. Phew.... flown all the way up to say hi to you both...hi! Laugh!
    I can't wait to read Liz's book when it is out, lucky you getting a sneek preview! Good luck with the revisions...No I'm heading back to the sun....bye ladies!

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  14. Great point, Liz. I used to feel that way about historical romance--that by reading it it was less literary. But i LOVED it! Sure, I'd joke about my next trashy romance pick, but it didn't change the fact I'd devour it with bated breath.
    I know chick lit has a similar stigma, but I kinda like the fact it's geared toward chicks. Because let's face it, guys just don't get it. And by reading a book with a chick lit label, I trust it will live up to my expectations that only a woman author can employ.

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  15. Thanks for having me here today, Talli!

    @Alex: The SFF shelf in the bookstores around me have exploded. Popular genre.

    @Shirley: Hi Shirley! Fancy meeting you here - and thank you!

    @Andrew: Thank you and glad you like it.

    @Siv: Sheep? Definitely. :-)

    @jabblog: I'm totally with you on that.

    @OldKitty: Hello to you too!

    @Darian: Yes, agreed but probably the next topic to discuss would be book covers. So very important.

    @Joanne: Yes! A hook and characters that we care about (or care what happens to them).

    @Christa: The MG and YA sections have exploded as well the last few years. I think a lot of so called "chick lit" has found its way on the YA shelves in recent years.

    @Matthew: I like that. :-)

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  16. @Pauline: How's the sunshine and ocean?? You lucky duck. :-)

    @PK: That is so well said. Thank you.

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  17. My series falls somewhere between YA, contemporary, and chick lit - and I hated that I had to pick just one genre.

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  18. Story. I read mostly genre books, but they range from chick lit to thriller and everything in between.

    Happy Weekend to both of you :)

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  19. As long as it has characters I care about and a good story, I don't care what it's called. I think the labels are ridiculous because good chick lit could also be classified as literary fiction. Talli, best of luck with your edits. Liz, nice to see you over here.
    Karen

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  20. Hello Liz and Talli,

    I hate labels. Hate them, hate them, hate them. As long as the story is good I don't care what it's labeled as, it's still a good story.

    I don't buy that literary is character based and genre fiction is plot bases description either. In order to have a publishable book, you need to have both. A book with great characters and zero plot will not sell, no matter how cool the characters are. Same with a great plot with robots instead of characters. It will not sell well because readers will want to relate to a character.

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  21. @Diane: It's interesting that some of the more successful books are the ones the push the genre boundaries and even blend them (e.g. Steampunk).

    @Carol: Happy Weekend to you too! P.S. How did it get here so fast??

    @Angelina: Agreed! I think the bottomline is characters you care about. You may not like them but you at least have to care/be interested in what happens to them.

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  22. @Karen: Hi to you too! You're all over the blog this week. I've enjoyed reading about your publishing journey.

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  23. I totally agree! It bothers me that sometimes my own genre has negative connotations. The truth is there are excellent books and there are not so excellent books in ALL genres.

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  24. Nice to meet you, Liz! Labels... who really needs them?

    Good luck with the edits, Talli!

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  25. Oh no, I definitely ignore the labels. I often think whats the difference between General Fiction and Womens Fiction - some of the bestsellers on this list fit both. Also, why isn't there a Mens fiction genre (or is there and I've not been paying attention).

    Bottom line, I read because I like the voice of the book and the story line. And if I know the author - bonus! :)

    PS: Talli - I'm in awe of your editing skills, you've inspired me this week to try and do at least 20 pages a day.

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  26. for the most part, I'm attracted to a good story--and usually it's a rec from a friend or blog post. Only occasionally do I say, "Hmm... I'd really like to read a (blank) kind of book."

    I love your point, and the books sound terrific. Best~ :o)

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  27. This is such a good point, and I never really thought of it before. Great post, Liz!

    Good luck with your editing, Talli!

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  28. @Lisa: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes I think negative connotations are created just because I person refuses to understand.

    @William: Nice to meet you too!

    @Talei: Yep. Voice. So important, regardless of genre. It's what keeps people reading, IMO.

    @LTM: I too base a lot of my book buying decisions on the recs of friends too.

    @Julie: Thank you!

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  29. All the best with Craving Perfect. I know it's a good book.

    As to labels, sometimes they're good and not so good. Labels create pigeonholes which doesn't always work well for writers. I feel a blog post coming on!

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  30. Definitely more interested in the story than in the label. I don't understand why 'popular' is a dirty word in the book world. It is generally accepted that a high grossing film or a platinum selling album is good. Why doesn't the same hold true for a book that sells loads of copies?

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  31. Hi Talli & Liz!

    I don't care for labels myself. I read whatever I like.

    Now, about that wine...

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  32. I definitely don't care what it's called. As long as I'm entertained! :o) Good luck with the book, Liz! I'll be sure to check it out.

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  33. @J.L.: Look forward to reading your post on the subject! ;-)

    @Helen: That is an excellent point!

    @Heather: I believe Talli's already cracked open a bottle and I'll be pouring a bottle of pinot noir very shortly.

    @Jessica: Thank you so much!

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  34. Being a total genre tart I don't care who calls what book what genre. Just make it available for me to read :)

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  35. I enjoy a wide vareity of genres - including chick lit. The labels can drive me a little batty though. Some people have such disdain towards some genres & their labels - that's the part that bothers me. I love all kinds of good stories!

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  36. Talli, thanks for sharing Liz with us! Labels direct me, but I am more interested in content.

    Have a great weekend! :)

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  37. Good luck w/ your editing, Talli. I'm sure some cupcakes & wine are just around the corner when you've read & edited that final page.

    Liz brings up some excellent points. I don't like labels & am glad I don't. I recently read a book that was actually a YA title.

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  38. Thank you, thank you Liz! My career has tanked because of the negative stigma of the the "chick lit" label my publishers put on my first two novels in the early 2000s. I've been trying to call it romantic suspense-with humor, but that doesn't work.

    Most agents still consider any humorous book about women to be toxic. Which is so bizarre because it's so popular.

    Note to Big Six editors: how many steampunk novels do you see on Amazon top 100? How many romantic comedies? I rest my case. Get real, dudes.

    Luckily, indie writers are bringing chick lit back. (It's why I'm going to get a Kindle.) And it even seems to be sneaking back into the Big Six lists. I'm so glad. And I'm going to check out Craving Perfect!

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  39. Ah, labels. What labels? Haha.

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  40. Most enjoyable read, , as I write poetry I don't know what genre I come under,

    Have a good week=end
    Yvonne.

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  41. @Sarah: Exactly!! I couldn't agree more.

    @Jemi: If it's a good story, I don't care what it's called. :-)

    @Karen: That seems to be the prevailing opinion on this thread too. You are not alone.

    @Notesfromnadir: Thank you!

    @Anne: That is such a shame. Why stop publishing stories that people want? Hello?! I don't get it either.

    @Saumya: That's the right attitude! :-)

    @Welcome: Have a great weekend!

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  42. I don't care too much about how a book is categorized. If the cover entices me and the back cover sounds interesting, I read a page or two. If I'm sucked in, I buy it!

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  43. The only problem I have is who came up with these labels and what criteria did they use? And why did we not get to vote?

    Tally, more wine please... :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  44. I read all sorts of books from literary to erotica and fantasy to horror...but I do understand that they have to classify books for marketing purposes.

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  45. If it connects with me emotiona;ly and intellectually i'm good to go, who care what ots called. Although I must say I don't like those book covers that gives books that "spoiltblondorangecounty/beverlyhillschic" look in yellows, pinks and such. I normally only by those by referral. Any yet I will pick up a YA with a cover that has depth.

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  46. You know I adore chick lit and this novel looks right up my alley! So glad I found time to comment and let you know I am so interested in reading it :)

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  47. Although I have my favorite genres, I will read others on occasion.

    I read Liz's book and it's WONDERFUL. A very fun read!

    Not my usual read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  48. Hello! that book looks great.
    Labels... I seem to read a lot that we should know the label/genre that we are writing for... would be good to just write. ;)

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  49. Hi Liz, Hello Talli,

    It was lovely reading about you, Liz!

    I just like to read, don't really care about labels!

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  50. I think labels probably matter more than they should, and it does us all good to read things that are outside our self-imposed comfort zones.

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  51. Oh wow I never realised that women's novels weren't classed under literary fiction because I would class many as just that. Like Andrea Levy and Maggie O'Farrell for example, while there are some that I would put under chick lit like Marian Keyes and Sophia Kinsella.:O)

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  52. What makes me really angry is when I find a book catalogued completely wrongly on a library shelf. This has happened on a number of occasions. The most recent was when I found a copy of Disobedience, which is a fascinating book about a woman returning to her 'old life' for her father's funeral, marked up as a Who-dun-it by the library staff. It must have been because it was written by a woman!?!

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  53. I have to admit, I don't read many grown up books. I read ya, mg, cb, and pb. I've read a few chick lit books that were written by friends. They were in the mystery or romance section at B & N.

    Talli, my daughter is enjoying your book. :)

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  55. I've never thought about it, but you're right. Liz Fichera's books sounds wonderful whatever they choose to label it. :)
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  56. I go for story over genre. And there are books that are considered more for dudes that I totally like!
    Not sure chick lit is always a fair description of many books in the "genre"--and it could narrow the audience. Like you said-- Jane Austen would probably have been marginalized in our day.
    Good luck with edits!

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  57. Isn't it good that as writers we all write different things? It'd be incredibly boring otherwise!

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  58. It's all about the story for me. If the story is no good, or I'm not feeling it, no matter what genre it is, I'm not reading it. :)

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  59. I don't put much stock in labels - until I'm trying to define my own book for a query letter. If it helps the marketing department, fine, but I don't see why everyone can't read all kinds of books :-)

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Coffee and wine for all!