Why Don't I Read what I Write?
Or - Why I don’t read chick-lit…and I write it.
I was tagged in one of those Facebook chain letters where you post a picture of the covers of your favourite books and tag your friends so they can keep it going, on and on. Today was my last day. These are the books I posted.
Not a chick-lit read in the bunch.
To clarify, chick lit is defined as “…books about women, written for a target audience of women, usually written by women, about issues that concern women.” But so are a lot of books, including the over-generalizing women’s fiction label.
I read once that chick lit is the lite beer of women’s fiction. To compare the genre to a lite beer that has long been seen as less satisfying is misleading. I would rather describe chick lit to wheat beer – crisp and fruity and perfect for a summer’s day.
In my opinion, chick lit novels are fun with great dialogue and some romance. They’re more light-hearted than books touted as women’s fiction. My books are written in a ‘chick lit style’ which I can’t really explain, but I know that I write in it.
But I don’t read a lot of it.
I mean, I read it sometimes, usually because I “know” the author and trying to support her. But for the most part, the books I pick up to read are not the easy-reading, fun and flirty chick-lit/rom-com reads.
But that’s what I write.
But do I?
Branding is a vital part of being an author these days. You need to have a brand so readers will know what to expect from you and your writing. That’s why so many authors have pen names – when they want to try something different, they throw a different name on and give it a go. Which is exactly what I did when I decided to try my hand at “adult romance” a few years back. (FYI I’m still trying my hand at it, and it’s a good fit!)
Authors are supposed to stay in a genre. Authors are supposed to be consistent in their stories and characters. I don’t. Look at a few of the books I’ve written – and if you haven’t had the opportunity to read them, here’s your chance to find out why you should!
My Charlotte Dodd series – this was classified as chick lit. Charlotte is a cute girl with a boyfriend but then there’s a bunch of action and not much romantic-y romance. One blogger started calling it “Action chick-lit” and that’s what it is. As a character, Charlotte fits into the genre, but the story is more spy thriller than usual chick lit plot.
Absinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder starts out as the perfect chick lit read. Longtime friends head out for a night on the town. And then it turns darker with a twist at the end. It’s like a different book at the end.
You can say it’s my inexperience or my uncertainty as a writer that leads me to write books that don’t fit into the cookie cutter mold of genre, but I disagree. My style of writing can fit into the chick-lit mold, but that’s not where my characters want to be. And that’s why I’m having so many problems branding myself. What kind of books do I write?
Well…I’ve got a chick lit series, but there’s lots of action in it, and a women’s fiction about sisters (Coming Home) and a fun rom-com about being pregnant, and then this darker chick lit read…
How the heck do I brand myself with that?
But these are the books I write. And I think I’ve developed as a writer in this way because of the different books I read. I’m all over the map with what I read, and I like that. And I like that I can write in a variety of genres. But it doesn’t make it easy to brand myself and it doesn’t make it easy on the readers. I apologize for that!
Instead of focusing on one genre, I think I’ll try this for my brand:
Strong women. Fun reads.
Short and simple and to the point. It will do until I have the next brainwave!