"... He clutched her in a semi-muscular embrace"
November 21, 2008 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Despite sagging paperback sales in the publishing industry, romance novels -- and particularly hen lit -- fiction featuring older female heroines -- are thriving. In 2006, according to Romance Writers of America, 26.4% of all books sold were romances, generating $1.37 billion in sales. In hen lit aka Matron literature, heroines typically are over-40, widowed grandmothers whose romance yearnings are secondary to family, work, and hobbies.
posted by terranova (29 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
If I'm going to make it through our current financial crisis, I've got to make up my own hyper-selective demographically-targeted genre. I haven't decided on which one yet, but I'm thinking of focusing on corprophilic trust-fund boys with mommy fixations who were too stupid to have gotten their ivy league degrees without their legacy status and family connections. So keep an eye on the New York Times Book Review's bestseller list for the first git shit fit twit tit lit hit.
posted by ardgedee at 1:54 PM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Despite sagging paperback sales in the publishing industry, romance novels -- and particularly hen lit -- fiction featuring older female heroines -- are thriving."

Sagging.
posted by orthogonality at 1:57 PM on November 21, 2008


There's a clucker born every minute.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:57 PM on November 21, 2008


They rolled apart, spent, panting heavily. "Good thing I had that second can of Ensure," Martha said.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:07 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay, here's what I don't get. If romance plays second fiddle to family, work and hobbies, doesn't that mean that these are no longer really "Romance novels". I wonder. Especially since so much "serious" fiction has plenty of amorous scenes. The turgid prose of most romance novels is nothing compared to the stuff that's inserted into books marketed towards men (crime fiction especially).
posted by Deathalicious at 2:13 PM on November 21, 2008


I'm thinking of focusing on corprophilic trust-fund boys with mommy fixations who were too stupid to have gotten their ivy league degrees without their legacy status and family connections.

Brad never forgot the first moment he laid eyes on Joyce. She was squatting in the corner of his handsomely-decorated office, defecating onto his ficus. She eyed his expensive cufflinks suggestively. Maternally. Erotically. "Hope you don't mind me takin' a poop, son!" she shouted. Brad's rugged young heart fluttered in sexful anticipation. He got an erection.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:18 PM on November 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


Especially since so much "serious" fiction has plenty of amorous scenes. The turgid prose of most romance novels is nothing compared to the stuff that's inserted into books marketed towards men (crime fiction especially).

Hey, it's time for the bad sex awards!
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, Oprah. What devastation have you wrought now?
posted by rokusan at 2:26 PM on November 21, 2008


Despite sagging paperback sales in the publishing industry, romance novels . . . are thriving.

Yeah, I'm not expecting Internet porn to slide out of popularity, either.
posted by grobstein at 2:53 PM on November 21, 2008


Elaine pondered Macario's invitation to his mountain cabin. She was surprised at herself for even considering his offer.

"What do your mature lady friends usually wear on the hike up ?" she asked, nervously, half jokingly.

His eyes twinkled as they penetrated to her inmost self. Finally, he purred his answer.

"depends."
posted by longsleeves at 3:05 PM on November 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


TOP-SELLING ROMANCE TITLES

1. On The Wings Of A Man
2. The Velvet Mask Of The Caressing Bandit
3. What Price This Hunk
4. The Heaving Of Lady Kensingfordsham
5. The Bodice Rippeth
6. The Millionaire International Playboy Who Married A Fat, Undersexed Housewife He Met In The Checkout Line At ShopKo
posted by Rhaomi at 3:42 PM on November 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


7. You Sparkly Vampire!
8. I was locked in an attic and had sex with my brother.
9. the caressing mask of the velvet bandito
10. Gargamel and Smurfette: Shock of the new (tv cartoon tie-in)
11. A boy and his girl, and this other girl, and some guy they met.
12. Flowers of the inevitable.
posted by Sparx at 4:10 PM on November 21, 2008 [7 favorites]


13. Lord of the Tube Socks
14. Okay, You're Taller Than Me... Happy, Now?
15. Gimme Back My Shirt!
16. The Toy in Daddy's Pants
17. For the Love of Scottie McMullet
18. Longmire Does Romance Novels
posted by netbros at 4:22 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the Love of Scottie McMullet

I used to work in a bookstore, and that's just...yeah, man. That isn't even a joke.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:33 PM on November 21, 2008


19. Hey! Look! We Are Identical Twins But Have Wildly Different Tastes in Boyfriends! Because One of Us is a Geek and Wears Glasses Sometimes!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:39 PM on November 21, 2008


Story of my life, bitter-girl.com
posted by Sparx at 4:44 PM on November 21, 2008


Sarah sighed. She had flown across the snowy streets in her SUV and rushed into her home to pick up the folder she left in the magazine rack in the upstairs bathroom. As an executive, she had to make an executive decision. Inside the folder were all the documents that needed to be disposed of -- the medical records, the Yahoo emails, the photos from the drunken frat party, the turkey pardon.... To be disposed of. By an executive, in an executive manner, before the squadrons of attorneys arrived. Yes. Shredded. Burned. No -- burned THEN shredded. Wait -- would that work? Sarah frowned.

A knock at the door interrupted her. Sarah clattered down the stairs in her Manolo Blahniks.

"Good morning -- do you have a moment?" The young man was bundled up in a heavy jacket, clutching a case. His warm brown eyes gleamed.

"Nah -- not rilly." Sarah smiled apologetically. "I rilly have ta git back to the office --"

The young Fuller Brush salesman was persistent. "Please -- let me just show you one of our many fine products...." He pulled out something covered in a brown paper bag. He began to unwrap it.

Sarah was intrigued. Todd never showed her anything like this!

"This broom," she asked, "it vibrates?"

The salesman slid into the front room. "Oh, yeah, baby. You betcha...."
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:51 PM on November 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


Marky Ramone's Lady Wainsworth's Desires
posted by bunnytricks at 5:06 PM on November 21, 2008


Discarded hen lit drafts...

1) "It was a dark and stormy night. As Mathilda reviewed her 401-K rollover rules, she heard a thud. It was Manuel, the strapping 24-year-old pool boy, grunting as he carried the generator inside for repairs. Something wild stirred in Mathilda, but she forgot what it was."

2) "It was a dark and stormy night. As Mathilda reviewed her 401-K rollover rules, she heard a thud. It was Jean-Claude, her sexy 71-year-old neighbor, falling down again. Something terrible stirred in Mathilda. Would mahjong be canceled again?"
posted by terranova at 5:07 PM on November 21, 2008


"I am desirous of a ride," she sighed. "But not from Buttercup."

Oh MAN, bunnytricks.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:42 PM on November 21, 2008


So my proposed romantic-comedy graphic novel about an older vampire woman and her youngish mortal will do well? Should I add zombies? Ninjas? Sultans?
posted by The Whelk at 6:03 PM on November 21, 2008


As You Wish ...
posted by mannequito at 7:25 PM on November 21, 2008


I love it, The Whelk: "Paranormal Romance" meets "Hen Lit".
(I work at a bookstore. We do actually have a Paranormal Romance section. I suspect our "Brit Lit" section functions much the same way Hen Lit does, if a little less risk-ay)
posted by tamarack at 7:27 PM on November 21, 2008


Paranormal Romance section . . . "Brit Lit" section

WHOA
posted by grobstein at 10:49 PM on November 21, 2008


Folks, in case you missed it, the books that can be classed as paranormal romance have been popular for a while. As a matter of fact, they are so popular that the genre is starting to get noticed outside of the normal fan circles. For example, True Blood, new this season on HBO, is based on a popular book series by Charlaine Harris, the Southern Vampire mysteries.
posted by gudrun at 11:46 PM on November 21, 2008


Previously. Go on, make fun of me. I can take it.
posted by b33j at 12:28 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember when Mills and Boon books cost about £2 each.
posted by oinopa_ponton at 5:01 AM on November 22, 2008


@ bitter-girl.com: When did either of them wear glasses? Wouldn't they have been banished to hanging out with the nerds then?
posted by onepapertiger at 9:00 AM on November 22, 2008


stereotyping over 40 women this way depresses me... deeply... its only been two years and I'm already a grandma and widowed?
posted by infini at 1:16 PM on November 22, 2008


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