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Friday, June 14, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Courtney Pierce

The Next Great Literary Wave

I didn't set out to be a Boomer Lit author. In fact, I didn't know this gestational genre even existed until I found a group of like boomer authors on Goodreads. Prior to joining this group, I struggled to categorize my novel’s genre, but was passionate about its voice. My work didn't quite fit into one neatly-defined category as required by most traditional publishers. Then it all came together when I looked at it from a generational point of view. It was like slipping a key into a lock. My writing had found a home.

Boomer Lit crosses a number of existing genres: magical realism, romance, women’s literature, book club fiction, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, and even science fiction. But at its heart, the characters are boomers doing what boomers do best— feel.

My parents presented a world of possibilities to my sisters and me in the 60s and 70s; possibilities they, themselves, didn't have when they grew up. We were given choices. And, oh boy, did we make them – good and bad! The ability to have those choices, though, solidified a philosophy we still hold today: live in the moment and grab everything life has to offer. Our most treasured possessions are experiences.

Every generation has been influenced by its defining moments. While we boomers can’t claim the prize-winning title to the fight of life, we do have our own unique perspective and feelings about going several rounds. We, too, have experienced war, peace, great music, political strife, and the shock of the new. But it is the boomer generation who has used its defining moments to change the landscape for those who follow us. Retirement only means that we will do something different—in our own way. Maybe we should eliminate the R word altogether.

“Katie bar the door” as this generation spawns a new wave of authors. We have a lot to say. And better yet, readers are responding in droves. Boomer experiences are being woven into some darn good yarns. The characters are complex and unique. They dig into their pasts to reconcile the present, and then they claw their way back out again to move forward. Nothing is easy. Everything is complicated. And the messages are always inspiring.

What an exciting time to be an author, especially a Boomer Lit author. The opportunity to control our work and rewrite those stuffy rules has never been greater. Being on the forefront of change, yet again, is a great place to be. As a writer, Boomer Lit is an open door. As a reader, it offers a whole new world of rich emotion that flies off the page.

So it comes as no surprise to me that tower-dwelling advertisers have yet to crack the code of reaching the largest group of consumers in history. They’ll never figure out us boomers through surveys, cookies, flip charts, or focus groups. But if they read our books, they just might get it.

About the Author
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. After a twenty-five year career as an executive in the Broadway entertainment industry, she switched her focus from the magic of theater to her passion for writing. Her first novel, STITCHES, follows the trail of two boomers who want a little magic in their life—and that’s just what they get when they find an enchanted artifact at an estate sale. Her second book of the trilogy, BRUSHES, will be published in summer, 2013. 


  1. Courtney, I'm so glad you found our group and feel it's a home for you and your books. So it is for me too - indeed, I created the group back in October 2012 precisely because I couldn't find a proper genre for A Hook in the Sky that I had just published!

    Perhaps the most surprising thing about Boomer Lit is how close it came to be "discovered" several times, notably in 2008 by a couple of major editors who however moved on to new jobs and apparently did not have the time to pursue the Boomer Lit concept.

    But now, thanks to our group - almost 400 strong, and it grew to this level in just 9 short months - we can really hope that the publishing industry will finally realize that this age-centric genre is the true pendant of another hugely successful age-centric genre: YA Lit. Likewise, Boomer Lit is destined to huge growth and success with readers...As you so rightly say, this promises to be "the Next Great Literary Wave"!

  2. Great post, Courtney! Yup, I sort of stumbled into this arena of boomer lit myself. But once I found it, it seems the mothership had landed!

  3. Fab post, Courtney. Back when I was being TradPubbed, experienced editors who saw THE CHANEL CAPER loved it—because they saw themselves in it. But no one would buy it because they couldn't figure out how to sell it—even tho I nearly went hoarse talking about that huge BB market & readership.

    So, thanks to Claude, there's now a town square for boomers & boomer lit.

    BTW, TCC addresses two of the most important questions of our era: 1) Is sixty the new forty? 2) Is there sex after marriage?

    TCC is available at Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks. kBaby Boomers, unite and enjoy!

  4. Thanks for the comments! I'll be attending the PNWA and Willamette Writers conferences next month and plan to sew some Boomer Lit seeds for our group. I'll report back to all about any insights from editors and agents about our genre. Regardless of what they say, though, I know we will all march forward with locked arms. As I mentioned on last week's post, I'm giddy about the thought of starting our own "Press" for Boomer books.

  5. Thanks for a great post, Courtney. As you say, the characters in Boomer Lit are complex and unique. I think that this will not only win over the huge Boomer market as they start to find these books, but will find even larger markets as younger and older readers find that they enjoy characters with life experience.

  6. Courtney, I was out of town this weekend and just now read your wonderful article. Excellent! I thought you captured who we are as a generation and why we are STILL the market to sell to incredibly well. BTW, I'm going to make sure that Stitches is on my reading list. Again: great job!