Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Graphic Novels? Chick Lit?

Word Count: 11,591
Notes on Craft (and Market)

Tanya recently brought up graphic novels on her blog and wondered why they're somehow more acceptable/prestigious than chick lit and other commercial fiction.

My first thought was chick lit is dead (at least in the eyes of the people who have to try and sell it). It's now considered "humorous women's fiction" -- so long as it isn't "snarky" -- and I'm all for the title change. "Chick lit" just sounds so demeaning, like it's "good enough for women but not good enough to be considered literature" ... anyway, I'm certain that whomever came up with the title was more impressed by the catchy slant rhyme than the potential connotations found by people trying to determine the entomology of it.

But graphic novels?

Apparently their day has come. Which is amusing the crap out of the comic book artists who've been doing this for years and still refuse to call themselves graphic novelists. And I don't blame them. It's kind like when pulp sci-fi of the mid 20th century suddenly found itself in canonized leather bound volumes of "The Classics" and Philip K. Dick rolled over in his grave.

I still haven't read one. At least not a novel one. Anime hit the scene big when I was an adolescent so I read comic books in that genre when I was 14 or so, but haven't picked one up in years. Although much of my generation got hooked and stayed hooked on the comic book.

I think it's because of that continued eagerness to embrace the comic book in people now considered adults by the market that has lead to the publishers taking a good long look at graphic novels. For one, there's artists out there doing great and serious and wonderful things with the form. But there's also a market out there ready and eager to buy, a market that has grown up understanding the form and now old enough to embrace any level of subject matter.

But don't despair if you can't draw. Now among the secondary rights that your agent holds on to and can sell for you after traditional print publication is the rights to develop your original creation as a graphic novel. And they'll even hire a comic book writer to do the illustrations for you.

Highly Recommended