When I first started writing, I had no clue what to call it. It was just a story. There was love and romance. There was humor. The main character had stuff to deal with other than her boyfriend. There was a fun BFF and crazy parents. There was drama and tears and celebration. There was a whole lot mixed into my stories. But it's what came out of me and what I liked in the books I read.
And then came the time to categorize what I wrote. And it was chick lit all the way.
Back then (circa 2006 ish) the term "Chick Lit" was still acceptable. Agents still represented it. Publishers still wanted it. Harlequin still had its chick lit only imprint- Red Dress Ink. My dream was to have that logo on my book. Well, I came close, but nothing happened back then. And the chick lit thing started to fade. I was left wondering what to call my work. I still loved reading books like it and I knew many others did too.
So I started calling it women's fiction. But then people told me my story was romance instead. I was like "WHAT?" No way. I was not a romance writer. And it used to bother me. I guess I was naive back then and all I thought when I thought of romance was cheesy stories and Fabio on the cover. That was not me and not what I wanted for my career.
But then I started doing my research. And romance was not at all what I thought. And yeah, there was a place for me. Others were writing sexy, sassy, humorous books with drama and being published as romance authors. And with a little more time and research and getting my hands on lots of contemporary romance titles, I had embraced the genre. And now I adore it. It's smart and sophisticated but also fun and sexy. A complete escape.
In my opinion, chick lit is not dead. It's still out there and there are tons of us still loving reading it and loving writing it. But we do have to name it Contemporary Romance now. There really is a fine line between the two. Both are stories of women facing struggles in life and love. Neither is complete without both. But chick lit does not have the romantic relationship as the main plot, and romance does.