I'm a baby boomer. Yup, there, I've said it. Now you know approximately how old I am. Big deal. According to the Internet, and we all know that everything on there is absolutely true, there are approximately 76 million to 79 million boomers in the U.S., approximately 28% of the population. That's a lot of people!
So, what is a baby boomer? A pure definition is someone who was born between 1946 - 1964, but it's an elastic group. Other sources say it refers to children of men who served in WWII. Throw in Vietnam, Woodstock and those who like to rebel (and yes, my dog's name is "Rebel") or people who like to boom or make noise, and it becomes a mindset. The one thing I've seen agreement on is that it refers to the upsize in births following WWII.
What are they reading? Probably everything. I certainly do. However, I can almost guarantee you that "boomer lit" is a small, if nonexistent, part of their reading material. And why? Because there is so very little of it out there. I have spent untold hours on the Internet searching for books, particularly for women, that fit into "boomer lit" and what have I found? Very, very little. To give you an idea of how this group of women is regarded in genre literature, it is often referred to as "hag lit," "matron lit," "hen lit," and finally "lady lit." As in any genre, there are some very good books written in it, just too few!
I found a list on Goodreads that showed 535 books for boomer lit. That's for both men and women. If you're a boomer woman, looking for a boomer book, and if it's assumed that half of those are written for boomer men, that leaves you with a grand total of 267 or 268 books to read. Compare that to other genres such as suspense, erotica or mystery.
There's a series I've read by Nancy Thayer, "The Hot Flash Club." I like her books. They deal with women's issues as we age, often with a terrific sense of humor, but while the title certainly denotes a certain age, I'm not sure that's how I want to be thought of. I think I'm a lot more than that. "The Ladies of Covington" is another series I found in that genre. I've read them and they, too, are good, but I found them a little too old for me and a little too stuffy.
I love something I read from Rochelle Hollander Schwab, and I paraphrase, "the sex drive doesn't die with the arrival of the invitation to AARP." Great, huh? And how many women do you know in their 50′s who happily let their hair turn grey, stay at home playing with their grandchildren and bake chocolate chip cookies? Not many, I'd wager. The women I know are facing their 50′s and up in stilettos, grabbing at the second part of their life with all the gusto they can.
That's not to say aging doesn't bring changes. It does. We've been called the "sandwich generation" because so many of us care for aging parents as well as children who flew the nest only to return. I asked my sister-in-law, a boomer as well, what she thought the main concerns of boomer women were? I think her answer probably reflects the thoughts, hopes and fears of most women of that age: parents, children, health, aging,careers, lost loves and new loves, and lastly, financial concerns. That may not cover everything, but it's pretty close.
So, coming full circle. I think this is the most overlooked, underwritten genre out there. Any time there's a potential audience of 76-79 million people, and you have to think a lot of them read, that is just huge! If there were that many potential customers for a certain type of widget, you can take it to the bank that the widget would be made and marketed! So my advice is, if you want to write the next blockbuster book or series, write in the genre of boomer lit! When you make it big, I'd appreciate it if you'd give me a little recognition for guiding you in the right direction. Thanks!
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