Baby Boomer Literature – A New Genre?

Last week, I read an article on Boomer Cafe called “Author Claude Nougat Knows the Next Trend in Publishing”.

Boomer Cafe.. it’s your place is a site that explores issues which affect people of the BB generation. You can find informative articles about financial management, health issues, trends, retirement topics and lots of other interesting subject matter, and they welcome contributions from readers too.

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The article header says:

“Almost since we reached middle age, advertisers and marketers have sold us short. They said we no longer represented the demographic they were looking for. Well, we’ve got news for them: baby boomers are the biggest, richest demographic in the world today. Author Claude Nougat already knew that, and has begun to promote books written specifically for, and about, baby boomers. She says, it’s the next phenomenon in publishing.”

Coincidental. I had been thinking about pitching Boomer Cafe to do a guest post of my own. But I didn’t have to do that, because Ms. Nougat did it first. I have been talking about this for a long time myself, so I was very glad to read it and discover others were thinking the same way.

In the article, there is a link to a Goodreads Group specifically for BB authors which promotes nothing but BB Lit. YEAH! It took me eleven seconds to sign up for the group and comment. All you readers who are BB authors, you need to check this out! You are not alone. Help is on the way.

Here is the Goodreads group and this link is also in Claude’s article.

Since that article was published, it was picked up by the Passive Voice. It attracted some, shall we say, negative attention. Here are a sampling of some of those not-so-nice remarks:

”As for many baby boomer novels being published, last time I pitched one I can’t remember if the agent guffawed or gagged.”

“There are, Lord knows, some Baby Boomers out there who are so self-absorbed that they think the sole function of popular culture is to chronicle their every whim and eructation.”

“To come to such a conclusion does indeed require the assumption that whatever stage of life the Baby Boomers are going through at a given moment, the paramount purpose of popular culture is to record it.”

“The bottom line is: Old people just aren’t very interesting (I know, I am 65).”

And later, the article was picked up by Kindle Nation Daily. This site didn’t generate much negativity. Most of the commenters felt it was a great idea and many listed books they have written. Some interesting titles: “Bastard Husband: A Love Story”, “Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs” and “The Old Guy Rules”.

Naturally there are going to be a huge cross-section of people who don’t want to see this, especially those who have it in for our generation, that we are all a bunch of selfish, it’s-all-about-me, self-centered crybabies. If you don’t believe me, google “baby boomers suck” and see what you get. We are blamed for everything from the financial crisis to the current political situation to the high medical costs. We are responsible for taking younger people’s jobs because we won’t die off soon enough. We are aiding in the demise of the world and causing the earth to warm by our conspicuous consumerism.

This is disconcerting, that as a generation we are viewed that way. Personally, I have always been rather pleased to be part of a world-changing group of people. We were sought after, and marketed to when we were younger, but now, not so much. A while back I bitched about NBC taking Harry’s Law off the air. Their reasoning was, we’re old, we’re stuck in the past, we don’t switch brands, we don’t buy enough stuff. All crap, of course, but it appears we, as a generation, have outlived our appeal to advertisers.

Still, there is strength in our sheer numbers, 79 million being one of the more popular counts. It’s decreasing daily, of course, as we die off (although not fast enough for some). If only a portion of this group is interested in reading novels about people their own age, that is still a sizeable market.

The oldest of us are beginning to retire. I did. Gave up the Corporate Hell Life in order to do what I wanted to do. In the coming years, people will retire in great numbers, and with retirement comes leisure, and with leisure comes more time to read.

Baby Boomers Do Not Suck. We are still cool and we will rock our nursing homes. And we’ll still be reading.

It’s about time we had an official Baby Boomer Literature genre.

Rock 'n Read

Rock ‘n Read

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clipart

 

 

25 thoughts on “Baby Boomer Literature – A New Genre?

  1. Glad you find a site to share your niche. I’m not a baby boomer (missed it by just a bit), but that doesn’t mean I’d never read anything about them. And I liked Harry’s Law, too! Your post also reminds me that I need to use Goodreads groups more. I’ll have to join a few. Just already have my fingers in so many social media pies.

    • That’s exactly what they said though, about Harry’s Law. The advertisers want the under 50 market and all their polls showed older people watching it. They said that group is “brand loyal” so their advertising dollars aren’t well-spent. What? I am not, nor have I ever been, loyal to any brand. I’m always looking for something better.

      I had to go with a new WordPress theme, because I added new tabs and the old one showed them above rather than below the picture. Got into a whole afternoon of designing and re-designing. But I’m happy with it.

      • I notice that like my new theme, yours doesn’t have widgets in the sidebar for the individual post pages, just the main blog site overall. I didn’t realize that about my theme until after I paid for it (it’s one of the premium themes). I was disappointed as I like having my widgets show, but I’m realizing the nice, clean look is good, too. And I have to wonder how many people paid attention to my side widgets anyway.

  2. Baby Boomers are so interesting, Lynn, and the problems they face are real. At 54, I have a friend who is dealing with her daughter serving in Afghanistan, another who’s sons won’t leave home, another whose husband left her after 30 years of marriage, another who is a strong athlete who is now faced with a failing body, and on and on. So many subjects to create riveting fiction around. I’m interested in checking out the site on Goodreads. Thanks!

    • Those are interesting subjects to write about. Everyone’s life seems to get a little more complicated as they age. That can make for some good ideas to grow into a book. So many changes during our lifetimes. Many of the stories you cite here wouldn’t have happened fifty years ago. Women in the military? Sons not leaving home? Breakup of a 30-year marriage. All very unlikely.

  3. You are all a bunch of whining cry babies or something – I think everyone is at some point 🙂

    I wonder if advertisers do not know how to target, or more specifically what to target with, as most people once they reach a certain age have many of the things that they want. Younger people are easier to target with the try this and that, where as with more experience, you pretty much cut out a lot of that and get what you want. So while there may be plenty of money to be spent, what do you target people with?

    • Well, that’s certainly true, that older people have pretty much what they want. I never thought about it that way. I was thinking more along the line of consumables. And, yeah, you get old and jaded and advertising so doesn’t work with me anymore. Who watches commercials anyway? Just dvr and fast forward through them. They are all so lame, who can stand to see them.

  4. I vote for the Baby Boomer genre. Older people do have something to say and it might be a good idea to listen to us. Some of us don’t get things right. Some do. Still we have lived and adapted to a rapidly changing world.

  5. I’m a BB and would enjoy stories about the kind of topics Peggy mentioned…And I also often read YA novels. Basically, I want to be able to relate in some way to the characters, and age and similar life experience is a way to relate, but there are many others. I suspect you wouldn’t have to be a BB to enjoy the genre
    And, I don’t totally get why marketers don’t want to market to us. Aren’t we often the ones with the disposable wealth?

    • Depending on the characters and the story, older characters could be interesting to anyone, I would think. But even if we concentrate on just this age group, that is a huge market. As to our disposable wealth, the only thing I can think of is that younger purchasers are more impulsive and more apt to “have to have” the latest, greatest thing, more prone to trends, etc. I don’t know one this year’s fashion trend from last, so the marketers may be right there.

  6. Love it, Lynne, thank you! I am a “tail-end” Baby Boomer. I love good stories about characters of all ages, but as a writer, seeing the publishing market skew younger and younger is a bit disturbing. If “New Adults” can have their own genre, why not a bit of focus on older characters? After all, we will all become them, eventually. We may have some in our lives. This could help a lot of people, to see the challenges and vitality of aging and not just the stereotypes.

    • You’re right. Why not? As baby boomers we enjoy the phenomema that there is strength in numbers, so maybe we have an advantage in that regard, I like stories about characters of all ages too, and I like the idea of portraying baby boomers as active, vital people who aren’t about to slow down any time soon.

  7. I am a baby-boomer and I write about BB’ers. The women in my book, When Least Expected, do not have gray hair, and they certainly don’t sit in rockiing chairs or center their daily lives around pill-taking. Like me, they are too busy living a life that includes bicycling, golf, tennis, skiing, hiking, etc. What is different about BB’ers? We have a different perspective on life because we have experienced so much of it. At the same time, we will keep growing our perspective because we plan to experience a whole lot more.

  8. Lynn, I know you joined our Goodreads Group and you’re an active member! I’m sorry I missed your excellent post, you very nicely sum up what happened after Boomer Café published my article – and as I’ve noted since on my own blog, it’s been picked up further by many bloggers, including Gawker Media that did a rather odd comparison between boomer lit and New Adult!

    And no, we’re not sloths ready to die, we’re dynamic and we’ll make sure that getting old will never be the same again, LOL!

    • The negative comments posted gave some interesting perspective. We are the first generation identifiable as a group, I think, and we are by far the biggest in numbers of any of those groups. So we had a lot of influence on a lot of things and it’s likely sour grapes on the parts of those that we can still do that.

      • I hadn’t thought of that! You’re right, we’re the first fully identifiable generation of the modern age, and now able to take advantage of Internet and the Digital Revolution. And that’s exactly what we’re doing: boomer lit is one more step!

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