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Let's Talk About… What is Chick Lit?

This actually wasn’t the topic I was going to post about today in my ‘Let’s Talk About…’ but, I’ve received an alarming number of emails from authors who clearly have no idea what Chick Lit is, yet have no problem putting their book into this genre/category.

So, let’s talk about what Chick Lit is?

Chick Lit, according to the internet, can mean a couple of different things.
If you Google ‘what is chick lit?’ this is what you get:

chick lit

 -literature that appeals mainly to women.
Ok… from the emails I’m getting, this is the only definition that people know of, unless you are a die hard fan of chick lit.
I know, I know the whole ‘chick lit is dead’ thing canceled out the actual genre of chick lit, so they say, but it’s not dead and it doesn’t fit into ‘new adult’.  It definitely doesn’t fit into ‘romance’ and it only sort of fits into ‘women’s lit’.

Chick Lit, the genre is of course aimed at women but it’s not only that.  Chick Lit has a strong main character who has some serious light-hearted, humorous issues, they may or may not involve love, her job, her family and they most definitely have that ‘laugh out loud’ and ‘Sex in the City’ kind of vibe.
A lot of the books I’m getting in my inbox are authors who have a female character or a story-line appealing to women and they are throwing their books into the ‘I have a book that you’ll love, very ‘chick lit”.  Nope, normally it isn’t.
‘Hi!  My book is about an out of work pornstar who’s boyfriend decides if he can’t have her no one will, but in process of being murdered they make steamy, raunchy love and because he’s romantic, right before he kills her, it totally fits into your ‘chicklit’.  Oh, and btw… it takes place on the sun in the year 2387.  You’ll LOVE it… so chick lit.’
^^ NO.  I won’t love it, and I’ll delete your request immediatly, but seriously, these are the kinds of requests I get!^^
So again, a simple Google of ‘what is chick lit genre?‘ and you come up with a definition closer to what my blog is all about.
Chick lit or Chick literature is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. The genre became popular in the late 1990s, with chick lit titles topping bestseller lists and the creation of imprints devoted entirely to chick lit.
Yes, take a look at the great Chick Lit authors of the late 1990’s & early 2000’s:
The Devil Wears Prada – by Lauren Weisberger
It doesn’t get more chick lit than the fashion industry and an evil boss.  Lauren perfected the fashionista of Chick Lit and the ‘evil boss’ issues.
Bridget Jones’s Diary – by Helen Fielding
This was the book that put Chick Lit on the map.  It’s Legend… wait for it… dary.  If you haven’t read it, I’m not sure you know what Chick Lit really is.
Something Borrowed (and the whole series) – by Emily Griffin
Honestly, I don’t think there’s a single pastel cover loving girl who hasn’t read this series.  Emily is one of the greats of Chick Lit.
Good in Bed – by Jennifer Weiner
I chose Good in Bed because every Chick Lit lover has read it but really any of her books could have been used.  Jennifer is one of the Chick Lit Queens.
P.S. I Love You – by Cecelia Ahern
This book has been read by millions I’m sure and even if a reader doesn’t keep up with Chick Lit, they’ve heard of this book (if not read it).
It made Cecelia Ahern the Chick Lit God that she is. (she’s one of my absolute favorites)
Confessions of a Shopaholic – by Sophie Kinsella
There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t heard of Author Sophie Kinsella.  I’d guess most women readers have read at least 1 of her books.  She is one of the Queens of Chick Lit and the writer all Chick Lit writers look up to.
She’d be one of those people who I’d love to sit down and have a lunch with, so inspiring.
Sex and the City – by Candace Bushnell
I have no doubt every woman and man who watches television has seen at least a part of an episode based off of this series.
Sex and the City is where strong women Chick Lit characters evolved.  Everyone wants to write their own version of Carrie Bradshaw.
Candace is one of the authors I’ve looked up to for many, many years.
The Boy Next Door – by Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot is that writer who captures women in every age group.  From the young to the old Meg has a book for them.  She’s one of the greats of Chick Lit and will forever be one of those inspiring authors for Chick Lit readers and writers.
Yes, there are many I’m overlooking but these my friends are the women who put Chick Lit on the map.  These are the women that every other Chick Lit writer tries to compare with.  Do you write like one of them?  Everyone wants that on their cover ‘if you love… you’ll love this book’.  Yes these are the women in the … spot of that sentence that every Chick Lit writer strives for.
These women are the women who defined the genre that is ‘Chick Lit’.  Sure, they are books for women but they’re more than that.  Because of that Chick Lit will never die because for years to come women (and men) will continually try to reach their greatness in the genre Chick Lit.
So next time, you’re lump your book into the ‘Chick Lit’ category, make sure you define which ‘Chick Lit’ you fall into.  Is it the google search of the term Chick Lit?  Or is it the Chick Lit Genre?
Chick Lit isn’t dead for me….
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  • Reply Brmaycock

    I totally agree, it’s not dead, just underrated!! Great post, funny you have the problem of people categorising INTO chick lit, I know a lot of people who try to sell as women’s fiction when they have a serious topic in their book, even though the topic might be dealt with in the midst of a heroine running around, getting into trouble under hilarious circumstances, while trying to find Mr Right.

    January 14, 2016 at 6:26 am
    • Reply Aimee

      Yup!! It’s really weird how people will force a book into chick lit just because women read it… lol Thanks for reading and commenting Bernadette!! 🙂

      January 14, 2016 at 2:11 pm
  • Reply Demi

    Omg these are the type of books I read! Every time someone asks me what type of books I read I just say ‘girly’ because I don’t know the genre for it. Thank you for sharing this because I’m so dosey haha! Definatley need to read some of the books above!
    Thank you
    Demi xxx

    January 14, 2016 at 9:03 am
    • Reply Aimee

      You have great taste Demi! Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

      January 14, 2016 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Jann Alexander

    The cover design usually makes it clear!

    January 14, 2016 at 11:14 am
    • Reply Aimee

      I think so too, Jann. Just love the pastel covers! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      January 14, 2016 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Lynn Marie Hulsman

    Great article, and I love your picks. Have read every one of them, most of them twice. Yes, it’s all about the heroine’s journey.

    January 14, 2016 at 3:05 pm
    • Reply chicklitaimee

      Aren’t those just the best books ever!! Thanks so much for reading and commenting Lynn!

      January 14, 2016 at 6:46 pm
  • Reply Tracie Banister

    Well done, Aimee! It was fun to take a walk down memory lane and see the titles of authors who started the Chick Lit trend. And they’re all still going strong! I’m afraid that folks are getting the New Adult and Chick Lit genres confused because oftentimes the heroines of both are in the same age group. When people ask me whether or not a book is Chick Lit, I always say, “Did it make you laugh?” If so, it’s Chick Lit. 😉 Humor is really the defining characteristic of the genre.

    January 16, 2016 at 2:11 pm
    • Reply chicklitaimee

      Yup!! I agree Tracie! And who doesn’t love to laugh? lol
      Thanks for reading and commenting!! 🙂

      January 17, 2016 at 10:30 am
  • Reply Kella Campbell

    Great clarification of the difference between women’s fiction, chick lit, and romance. Thank you for posting this. I don’t write chick lit but I sure do read it!

    January 16, 2016 at 3:20 pm
    • Reply chicklitaimee

      Me too Kella! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      January 17, 2016 at 10:31 am
  • Reply Melissa A

    Great post! I get similar requests. Erotic romance is not chick lit.

    January 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm
  • Reply Meredith Schorr

    This is a great article, Aimee! And there are so many “newer” examples out there besides the old classics by Emily, Sophie, and Lauren too. I try to direct people toward those as well so they can see the modern take on the classic chick lit – Becky Monson, Cat Lavoie, Tracie Banister, Erin Brady, me :).

    February 1, 2016 at 2:28 pm
    • Reply Aimee

      Thank you!! I totally agree. So many amazing authors have come along since these authors and they all have fabulous books!! You definitely included!

      February 1, 2016 at 2:41 pm
  • Reply Let’s Talk About… Why I Love Books

    […] I love many genres but mostly I love chick lit.  If you’re assuming that is a book about or for chicks you would be wrong and kind find the true definition of this amazing genre here. […]

    February 25, 2016 at 6:17 am
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