Dear Miss Snark,

What is the the best way to say "chick lit" in a query letter?

A. BLAHBLAH is a 60,000 word women's fiction novel

B. BLAHBLAH is a 60,000 word chick lit novel

C. something else

Since chick lit and women's fiction are NOT the same thing, you'd be better off using B.


Kiki said...

Chick lit is still a viable genre, never mind the doomsayers.
You should be proud of what you write, not slap a different label on it.
Chick lit is not women's lit pe se. the themes are (or should be, at east) different, as is the voice. There is some crossover, but you know in your heart what the book is.
If the story is fresh and well executed, they won't care what you call it anyway. And if it's tepid, no label can save you.

Anonymous said...

What about the 60,000 words? Is that a standard length for chick lit?

Anonymous said...

I say my novel is commercial women's fiction, if that helps!

ec said...

If your ms IS chick lit, go with chick lit.

There seem to be several recognizable chick lit sub-genres, as well, but if you're stumbling over chick lit, you probably don't want to go there. I've gotta admit that I'd feel a little odd using the term "tart noir," but "paranormal chick lit" isn't too intimidating. If you can name an author whose work is somewhat similar, that might be helpful to an agent. There's a LOT of difference between MaryJanice Davidson and Jennifer Weiner.

Have you seen the book Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel by Cathy Yarkley? It has some excellent resources, including a list of agents who represent chick list. Recently published, too, so it's pretty much up-to-date.

Congrats on completing your ms, and good luck with placing your book! :)

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've been waiting for someone to explain women's fiction so I wouldn't have to ask. I know chick lit; but women's fiction has always been sort of blurry for me. I've seen "women's bookstores" and they are usually geared toward lesbians. Does that mean women's fiction is lesbian oriented? Feminist oriented? A cross between the two? I have this image of butch female characters in sweat shirts and energetic shoes driving SUV's and I know there has to be more than that. I'm not signing this because I should probably google it; but I'm too lazy and can certainly live well without the explanation...just curious.

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase what Miss Snark has said in the past, how YOU define your novel isn't as important as WHAT the story is and the quality of the writing. The agent will get a sense of where it should be shelved in the bookstore by reading your query letter.

As for word count, I'd have a look at books similar to yours on Amazon. I believe word count is under Text Stats.