Chick lit: Dead or 'undead'?

So there's been an ongoing debate for several years over whether the chick lit genre of women's fiction is "dead." I find it a little silly - There will always be readers for a well-written, good book about a twentysomething/thirtysomething woman's attempts to find her place in the world, but the key is GOOD. What, then, separates a "chick lit" book from women's fiction? Some say humor, some say a focus on dating, some say just a first person voice in women's fiction alone makes it chick lit automatically. Well...

With any genre, a really good book will transcend a simple categorization by having more depth and shading. If you write a book about a woman dating, DON'T just make it about all her bad dates. The reason chick lit is being called "dead" is that there were a million books like this released in the first half of the decade, some very well nuanced and others not so much. Some were great, and some latter ones were copycats that sold to take advantage of the trend. After all, if Bridget Jones did well, publishers had to have their OWN Bridget Jones knockoffs. The glut of those books is what led agents and publishers to suddenly say they weren't going to publish them anymore.

So the marketing term of "chick lit" is not widely used anymore. However, books about confused women post-college can still be written and published. I just read a novel called "Falling is Like This" by Kate Rockland, who lives in my town, that St. Martin's just published. It's a really good book, and it's still in first person and about a woman in her early twenties navigating her romantic relationships.

Here is a point/counterpoint on the whole "chick lit is dead" issue.

Jenny Bent, an agent who has handled a lot of the genre, has heard many times from publishers and book buyers that it is 'dead'.

But the women at a blog called chicklitisnotdead.com, feel that it's not...well, that's obvious from the title!

Anyway, have I mentioned that my book (published by a chick lit imprint in 2003) is coming out again this summer for teens, this July, in fact? By Harlequin Teen. Read more about it and see the new teen cover by clicking HERE!

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