What Exactly is Women’s Fiction?



I’m trying to craft a decent query and search for agents at the same time. I think I need to do this one at a time, though…my head is spinning.

A while ago, I thought I’d figured out that Julia was women’s fiction: strong female protag, life journey…no romance, no thriller, no murder, no aliens, no magic. I didn’t really like putting the story into that category because I think her journey could be taken by someone of either gender. But, all the advice says that pitching a story in a certain genre is better than just general fiction…so I’m searching for agents who represent women’s fiction.

As I research agents, I look at their authors and the books they’ve sold. Most sites give a list of authors but don’t tell you what genre the books fall into. It’s not hard to search Amazon for a description, but it certainly takes time to go through the whole list…and I’m left guessing was that women’s fiction or regular fiction, women’s fiction or romance? And when I do find an agent who is helpful enough to divide out their authors by genre, all the women’s fiction books look suspiciously like romance novels without Fabio and 1800’s bodices.

So, am I even in the right genre? According to some articles yes, according to others…maybe.



2 thoughts on “What Exactly is Women’s Fiction?

  1. I’ve been trying to figure out what women’s fiction is as well! I haven’t finished my novel yet, but it explores the complexities of a mother-daughter relationship and I’ve been trying to figure out if it is indeed women’s fiction, or just fiction, and I’ve pretty much just found the same things that you have…as in, it’s wishy-washy. :/ Sometimes I worry about the need to categorize books so thoroughly.

  2. bethfinke

    Why not send it to the agents who deal with women’s fiction and let *them* decide? You have enough on your plate just getting the query letter and postage stamps in order….!

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