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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I thought about this for awhile. As a reader, what age do I like my characters to be?
And, you know what I decided? It really didn't matter as long as I enjoyed the book. If the book sucked, I put it down, but age never really came into it.
This is why I feel that when we market our books written with the protags "of a certain age," drop the hen lit moniker and call them women's fiction.
You know, some of the best books I've ever read had the main protags as children and teenagers, and I'm nowhere near that age, but I really enjoyed them.
"Heide"...everyone remembers that book...wasn't that the most delightful book you've ever read? How about "Go Ask Alice"? That book was the most wonderful book of its time and was written from a teenager's POV. Just the other day I bought "Peter Pan" from Walmart because it was 2/$1.00, and I bought "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," too.
Okay, they are classics and it was such a bargain so maybe they don't count.
So as I am a woman "of a certain age," and I have written a book with the protag "of a certain age," what books do I buy normally?
It doesn't matter because what books I do buy lately, I have read excerpts up on the author's website and loved it enough to buy the book. The last one was a how-to book, but as far as fiction goes, I would have to say it was a protag in their late thirties. But, it didn't matter how old they were. I wanted the book and I wasn't disappointed.
Would I buy a book with the protag "of a certain age"? Sure, I would because age does not matter. The story has to be compelling. It has to be one I've heard others say was great or after I read the excerpt, I knew this was a book I'd be interested in.
So when people say that chick lit is dead or hen lit is dead (or dying or whatever they are saying...marketing ploy?...gotta admit that's a wild one), I tell them to get over it because it doesn't matter what age the protag is. The story is what matters.
So, all you "chick lit" writers or "hen lit" writers, call your book a woman's fiction because, basically, that's what it is. We went through the stage of having a certain name for it, but let's not box ourself in like that. We could call them "women's fiction with an edge," but then I'm sure someone would come up with a moniker for that, too. Don't let them have that opportunity. They'll eventually come up with ways to call that a marketing ploy, too.
As for Transita, maybe they shouldn't have boxed themselves in with one genre, also. It's like one of those specialized stores in the mall that sell to one particular market. Eventually, they do something to expand that market or they go under. I hate to see that happen to anyone.
In retrospect, don't box yourself in, either. Women's fiction is versatile. Maybe we should stick with that and not put ourselves in a position where we're labeled. But, while we cater to the public and the publishers who we wish would publish us, we're still hen litters at heart. And, keep writing those stories about women (and men) "of a certain age," because if the story is intriguing enough, it will sell, and the public will buy.