What is "Women's Fiction"? It's not romance, because that is a genre unto itself. Is it any old novel written by a woman? Or maybe any novel written by a woman that doesn't already belong to any of the big genres? Well, according to this article in the NY Times, Bantam Dell is starting a whole new imprint just for "Women's Fiction," with the idea that they will publish books that will appeal to reading groups.
Gawd. Could anything be more insipid or insulting?
Let me guess: all the books will have Happy, Life-Affirming endings. They will deal with problems Real Women have today. They'll be a little bit spicy -- but not too much! I wonder if Bantam Dell's new imprint will like my new post-apocalyptic lesbian gang novel? Will it appeal to book groups? Will it make them feel good about being in a book group? You know, I think I'll go ahead and write the Book Group Guide right now, because this book is very deep and I want to make sure no one gets too caught up in their coffee cake and misses some of my amaaaaaazing symbolism.
Argh. I'm not writing a lesbian gang novel, unfortunately. But if I ever start writing "women's fiction" please shoot me.