Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When the market doesn't want what you write

This post is sort of a continuation from yesterday's post.

I'm struggling right now to find a home for what I write. I can proudly say I write chick lit. My writing is not pink covers and endless shopping trips, but it is the newly evolved chick lit where the heroine is smart and sassy and independent. The stories focus on her life and dreams and not on the next pair of expensive shoes she buys (though she still may indulge from time to time!).

But I'm stuck in a world where vampires and werewolves rule.

No offense to those of you who are finding great success right now. I am very happy for you! And I'm sure for some, it's been a long time coming...waiting for the market to be ready for what you write. Huge kudos to you!!

But here I sit...wondering what I should do right now. I've seen some of my fellow romance and chick lit authors take their stories and give them a vampire makeover. But that is just not me. Should I try anyway...try to conform to what's popular right now?? Or do I sit back and keep doing what I'm doing...waiting for the day when the trends circle back around?

But that might be a while. I am convinced the vampire/werewolf thing will not fizzle until the last two Twilight movies have been released. So we're talking at least a couple years from now.

My only hope is that when it does fizzle, the masses will want to read what I write. When they've become bored with bloodsuckers and all that, I hope they'll want something smart and sassy and more true to life.


  1. I think we're all waiting for the market right now to move from the vamps and weres. I read on at least two agent blogs that chick lit was dead, they said, to change the genre to women's fiction, or commercial fiction.

    I think I'd wait until the market circles back around and just keep writing what you want. Who knows, in another two years you may grab a 3 or 4 book deal.

  2. Just write what you want. That's always my motto, hah.

    You know, I watched New Moon for the first time last night, and I was actually impressed with how much I didn't laugh! I liked the movie, and the books were entertaining, too. I think there's a lot of good things about it, but I'm definitely not a fan girl by any means.

    I think vampires and werewolves are a little overdone these days, but then I notice how much fairy tales have been around forever. They've never gone away. Things will quiet down with the genre, I'm sure. Until then, just write what you love!

  3. Hi,

    It all depends I supppose on whether your name on a book means more than the writing of it!

    Personally, pushing category romance right now is an uphill struggle with Harlequin Mills & Boon keeping subs for up to nine months before a yes or no answer hits your e-mail inbox.

    True enough agents have been sayiing chic-lit has had its day, yet HM&B have been signing up authors who've penned chic-lit, which goes against their own guidelines for category romance.

    It is a problem for writers' in keeping abreast of changes when publishers keep shifting the goalposts. Have you checked all the e-publishers? Someone must be taking chic-lit, surely. I don't believe markets dry-up that quick, I think trends are created within the writing world by eds at publishing houses looking to bandwagon jump on backs of movies! That kind of strategy often backfires, as and when publishers were pouring scorn on chic-lit (Bridget Jones Diary) as a one-off funny Rom Com, then hell-bent on discovering the next Helen Fielding.

    Bummer isn't it, second guessing editors personal tastes! ;)


  4. Don't force yourself to write a story for the market. It just won't feel right and it'll be reflected in your writing. Just wait out the market, as rough as that sounds.

  5. I had a whole nice post typed then when I hit "post comment" I had lost my internet connection and lost the post. :( So hate when that happens!!!!!

    But anyway, there are still agents who lost chick lit as a genre they represent-saw a few over the last few days while doing agent research. Those agents I list my genre as women;s fiction/chick lit, the rest, just women's fiction. It irritates me to no end to have the genre dismissed the way it has been. There are still great stories out there, there are still tons and tons of fans, but the industry has decided they don't like the name and deemed it crap.

    Francine, I do have a digital publisher- Lyrical Press just published my debut A Bitch Named Karma- which is a chick lit story. And as much as I love them, I want to make a career out of my writing and to do that, I need to can get my book in front of a broader audience....bookstores. An agent and print publisher can do that.

    Michelle, I'm sure Twilight is great and I've heard the movies are's just not my thing. But I'm not going to sit here and bash it because it's just not my preferred taste in stories.

    In my opinion, what it comes down to is respect. Why can't chick lit be given the respect it deserves as an art form? I don't like vampire lit or historicals, but I'm not going to bash them.

  6. You need to write what's publishable and readable, but not necessarily what's trendy, and definitely not what you don't want to write. Finding the balance is the key.

    Frankly, while people may say chick lit is dead, it's only the term that's dead. Jennifer Weiner's book topped the bestseller when it came out, and last I looked, she's not changed what she writes. Emily Giffin is definitely chick lit and she's topping the bestsellers this month.

    Also, werewolves and vampires are more the YA thing... not the women's adult thing. It's really a totally different market. There are plenty of agents who don't want YA, and hate werewolves and vampires. Find them. Or seek out small publishers that print mostly that kind of book you write.

    Agents don't always update their websites either, so even if it says they take something, lean towards generalizing. You can say, "My novel is a fiction book with a smart, sassy female character," and get the same point across. Of course, I think women's fiction is still okay to say, but you never know. That could change in a heartbeat too.

    Which I think is plain stupid. They can hate the term, but they still love the genre, so why the big deal about what we call it?

  7. Well, I can tell you right now that there IS a market out there for Chick Lit-and that there are a whole bunch of women that would rather read that over any Twilight-y knock off or even the original. I'm open to most genres. I'll read something if it gets recommended to me. I read all of the Twilight books and found them decent story line wise-but the writing was very juvenile and straight. I then saw the movies-wow. That's all I can say. I truly don't see what Twi-Hards do, clearly. I found them so cheesy it was almost painful to watch. I actually found them insulting to the books. LOL

    I would much, much rather read Jennifer Weiner over that. I'm not a "Chick Lit" type of gal, either.....but if I had to choose, with two books on the bookshelf in front of me, I'd be going with the Chick Lit every single time.

    Keep writing for those of us that are craving something, ANYTHING, over the mass produced Vampire/Werewolf craze. Please!

  8. LOL! Tracey!! Thank you so much!!!!!