Saturday, 26 April 2008

Galleys & genre-juggling

I sort of imagined that I'd have very little to do when the galley for Café au Lait arrived. Ha. There's a reason that manuscripts make so many passes before so many eyes, I'm finding. I found a glaring error on the very first page. No, it wasn't one of mine that I'd overlooked (please!) but one that was created because of changes and additions and deletions made after I'd passed the manuscript along. I made special mention of this correction in the cover letter to the production supervisor. Can't have an error on the first page, people! That would put me off a book instantly!

There were other errors of this type here and there. You know what happens when you modify a sentence: you have to re-read the whole sentence to make sure the whole thing hangs together, as well as keep an eye out for inconsistencies further along that result from these changes. Then there were the usual nuts-and-bolts corrections: typos, punctuation, capitalization and such. I was told that while I was reading, the novel had also been passed to a professional proofreader - so here's hoping that between us we've caught everything.

On another note, a Google Alert informed me that Café is on a chick lit list of releases. I did a double take, then remembered that Kevin had remarked on first seeing the cover that he would have guessed 'chick lit' rather than 'romance'. I decided to do some research and discovered that the genres do overlap, seemingly. Here's the Wiki def:

Chick lit" is a term used to denote genre fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties and thirties... Chick lit features hip, stylish female protagonists, usually in their twenties and thirties, in urban settings (usually London or Manhattan), and follows their love lives and struggles for professional success (often in the publishing, advertising, public relations or fashion industry). The books usually feature an airy, irreverent tone and frank sexual themes.

And from Electronic Book Review:

"Chick-Lit is hip, stylish, confident, and sharp - it's also honest and very brave. It battles and conquers the term Chick; it explores, explains, sometimes gives in to and sometimes blows away the notion of a chicklet, trapped by birth to imprint its parents; it is sexual and sensual in dear or savage or shocking ways. And it proves itself structurally, lyrically, and formally as lit-erature."

The latter article also explores the 'postfeminist' label sometimes applied to chick lit. And there was more. If my heroine had been older, the book might picked up the 'hen lit' label. If she'd been a mother, 'mom lit'. Younger, and the 'teen lit' label might have been applied. And so on, and on...

It's all about marketing, I guess. So, do I have strong feelings about the book being thus labeled? Nah. Call it what you like, I say. I've done my part; now it's their turn. With the galley out of the way, all my focus is on the next one.


KeVin K. said...

Is it not so cool you are working on your next novel?

I've found knowing one is already out there -- if not on the shelves yet, at least in the publishing pipeline -- is the perfect rebuttal to that voice that like to suggest you're only playing at being a writer.

stephe said...

Hey, the more genres you can fit into, the better! The more markets, the more fans, the more sales for Liane.

You go.

About how long did it take you to get through that galley?

wordtryst said...

Kevin, that second novel was completed and submitted to the agent more than a year ago. She suggested some changes, and I've been (not) working on that for the longest while. Now that the other is out of the way I'm determined to complete the revisions and send the MS to her no later than the end of May.

That voice you mentioned is very insistent. I can't bring myself to say out loud to anyone: 'I'm a writer.' My agent says it; she's had many years experience in this business and she says: 'You're a writer. It's what you do. I can always tell.' Yet saying it myself is so hard. I really hope that having a novel on the shelves will make me feel... authentic. I also think part of it is the money. I need to see a cheque! Then I can say I've gone pro. :)

Stephe, I took three days off work to do it. On the final night I didn't finish until 3.30 am, but that was because I didn't really push it during the day.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

this is so exciting. what date is your book coming out.

I know what you mean about saying "I'm a writer" out loud.

wordtryst said...

nyc/ragazza, Sept 8th or thereabouts.

Why are those three words so hard to say?

KAREN said...

It's interesting to read such a specific definition of chick lit. I've always felt the term's used in a derogatory way, despite public popularity.
I'd class my novel-in-progress as 'romantic comedy,' or 'female fiction,' as the central character doesn't quite fit the 'young/single/professional/city-living/frankly sexual' criteria, but I bet if it's ever published it'll be called chick-lit!!
Mind you, if it ever does get published I probably won't care either way :o)

Definitely looking forward to reading yours! And you're definitely 'a writer!'

wordtryst said...

Karen, I also got the impression that 'chick lit' was a somewhat derogatory term. But then, many people view 'romance' in the same light.

I gathered that chick lit was generally considered a small step up from romance - girly twaddle but better written and not totally focused on the man-woman relationship, but also on such profundities as shopping and office politics!

And yeah, call it what you want, I say, but buy it, you publishers! We writers can get nit-pickety after we're on the bestseller list!

Anonymous said...

I am sure I will have no regrets reading Café au Lait, or even going to see the movie :)

I don't suppose authors can control how publishers categorized their work for marketing or review purposes but the right marketing is as important as good reviews. All this must be exciting.

p.s. are guys allowed to read chick-lit in public :)

Matt said...

*shrug* My wife likes chick lit but doesn't read romance. I think its primarily a publisher's way of dodging the stigma associated with Harlequin or other pulp romance while still publishing good love stories.

wordtryst said...

akalol, that's what I like about you! Good karma! You'll get a VIP ticket to the premiere, I assure you. :)

I'm not sure about the guys-reading-chick-lit-in-public question. I'd advise you to proceed with caution: either dress up as a chick or put a manly camouflage jacket on the book - something with pneumatic boobs, big guns and hot cars! :)

Matt, I think so too. Category romance does have a stigma, and chick lit attempts to get around that.