Welcome to Henlit Central! I started this blog because I imagine there’s an entire genre that’s underrepresented in the literary world — and it’s us, middle-aged women (looking for mature, and unadulterated fun), who are missing out! If you’ve been to your local bookstore or hit up Amazon lately, you’ve surely been confronted with the awesome marketing machine that is chick lit. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with chick lit or the amount of exposure it has received. They often feature strong female protagonists, although many of them are single millennials swiping left in their search for love, struggling for independence, or on a noble quest for political correctness.
But what if you’re a 40-plus woman who’s dealt with all her childhood traumas and who’s never heard of Tinder? What if you’re in the mood for a fun and light-hearted read, but just aren’t interested in the frivolous romps and adventures of a 20-something? We need something to bridge the gap. This is where hen lit comes in.
In my little corner of the Internet, I’ve decided to join the crusade for hen lit, although maybe we can come up with a better name. We definitely want strong female protagonists, but we also want to read about more than just what it’s like to live in the big city with a terrible boss and wandering lover. Instead, we want to read about issues that reflect our reality. So, meaningless jobs, failing marriages, MIA kids and aging parents. Give us anything except first jobs, first romances, and anything else we hens have already dealt with and (gladly) moved beyond.
And while many of us don’t like being referred to as ‘hens’, whatever they call us, we’re definitely the ultimate untapped market. We’re active, healthy, literate, and we’ve got money to spend. On top of this, roughly 3.5 million baby boomers are retiring each year; with Gen X not far behind. So that means we have all the time in the world to read. The problem is, there just isn’t enough available for those of us who want something more relevant, but not too heavy. What chick lit authors and publishers must recognize is that their audience is aging.
The good news is we seem to be heading in that direction. Hollywood, at least, seems to be getting it. There’s an increasing number of movies and series featuring mature stars and related topics. Just think about shows like Grace and Frankie and movies like Book Club or Gloria Bell. Let’s face it — these days, older is in. Publishers just need to get on the bandwagon, too!